Mules Take Two From Diplomats

Mules Take Two From Diplomats

LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's offense was outdueled by the Muhlenberg batters in a 15-7 game one loss on Saturday afternoon, before a costly error in the top of the ninth handed the Diplomats a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat in a Centennial Conference (CC) baseball doubleheader at Caplan Field. The pair of losses dropped F&M to 11-16, 3-6 CC on the season, while the Mules improved to 13-12, 6-3 CC.

Both opposing offenses traded jabs in the opening game with the score knotted at 4-4 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Matt Mezansky laced a single to right field to score David Iacobucci and Brett Poniros and give the Diplomats a 6-4 advantage. 

The lead proved to be short lived as Muhlenberg went back out on top with a three-run top of sixth, followed by another three runs off three hits in the seventh to claim a commanding four-run edge. 

With F&M still within striking distance, the Mules put the contest out of reach in the ninth with five runs off four hits, including a pair of doubles. The Diplomats added a run in the bottom of the ninth when Luke Seib reached on a fielder's choice to score Mezansky from third, but the deficit proved too large to overcome.

Mezansky led the offense with a 4-for-5 effort on the game to go along with two runs and a pair of RBIs. Rob Anderson, Brett Poniros and Iacobucchi all tallied two hits as F&M combined for 13. Muhlenberg scored its 15 runs off 18 hits, including four from right fielder Nick Plinio and three from designated hitter Max Litvak. Both batters secured a pair of doubles as the Mules notched eight as a team.

Alex Guerra (3-3) was dealt the loss, tossing 5.2 innings and allowing five earned off eight hits. David Anderson earned the victory after throwing seven innings from the mound and allowing five earned while striking out three. 

While game one was loaded with offense, the nightcap showcased plenty of pitching as starters Sean Cosgriff for the Diplomats and Matthew Lawsky for the Mules gave the opposing batters fits throughout the contest. 

F&M struck first in the bottom of the third when Anderson drew the walk with one out on the board and Poniros sent him home with an RBI double to center field, making the score 1-0.

Cosgriff ran into trouble in the seventh after allowing back-to-back singles that placed runners on first and second with one out. However, F&M's defense continued its stellar play behind its junior lefthander, turning a double play to end the threat.

Just one out away from the win in the top of the ninth, a single to left field kept hope alive for the Mules. John Icaza followed with a double to plate the runner from first and reached home for the go-ahead run after a thrown to home plate was followed with a throwing error that sailed over second base and into the outfield to allow the runner to score.

Will Benenson opened the bottom fo the ninth with a single up the middle before a Casey Bulik sacrifice bunt advanced the senior left fielder over to second. Benenson eventually reached third on a steal, but F&M was unable to send him across home plate for the game-tying run.

The Diplomats managed just three hits on the contest with Poniros, Benenson and Brian Erb all recording one apiece. Cosgriff (2-3) was handed the tough-luck loss, pitching all nine innings and allowing just one earned while striking out eight.

Lawsky (4-2) took the win for Muhlenberg with 8.1 innings of work that included one earned and five strikeouts. Phillip Balseca picked up the save, retiring the final two batters of the contest.

F&M returns to action tomorrow when the Diplomats host Gettysburg at 1:00 p.m.