ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – Trailing by as many as six runs, Franklin & Marshall clawed its way back into the game to cut the score to two, but fell just short in a 10-8 loss to Elizabethtown on Wednesday afternoon in non-conference baseball action. The defeat dropped the Diplomats' record to 13-21 on the year, while the Blue Jays climbed over the .500 mark at 17-16.
F&M fell behind early when Elizabethtown tallied four runs off a pair of hits and an error in the bottom of the second to take the advantage. Brett Poniros responded for the Diplomats in the following frame with a single through the left side to plate Sam Gladstone at third and cut the deficit to three at 4-1.
The Blue Jays answered right back in the bottom of the inning with a two-RBI double followed by an RBI single through to left field to go ahead by six. F&M kept fighting in the top of the fourth, when Ryan Obrecht doubled to left field, scoring Joe Gallitto and Will Benenson on the play. Casey Bulik followed with a single and Gladstone notched the RBI in the next at bat with a single of his own to left, scoring Obrecht from third to make it 7-4.
An RBI single in the fifth followed by a two-RBI single to center field in the sixth padded the Elizabethtown lead at 10-4. However, the Diplomats made things interesting in the top of the seventh when David Iacobucci doubled with the bases juiced, sending all three runners across home plate. Benenson stepped into the box next and made it a 10-8 game by hitting an RBI single to center that scored Iacobucci from third.
The Diplomats had runners on first and second with two outs in the eighth but were unable to plate another run, before going down in order in the ninth to end the contest.
Poniros, Benenson, Gladstone, and Reed Williams each tallied a pair of hits as F&M combined for 13 on the day. Benenson tallied his 20th RBI of the season and the 107th of his career, now placing him just one shy of tying the all-time record, which is held by Jason Anderson (2007-10).
Second baseman Kyle Fackler paced the Elizabethtown offense with a 2-for-3 effort at the leadoff spot that included three runs.
Starter Luke Bengel (0-1) was dealt the loss for the Diplomats, allowing two earned off five hits in three innings on the mound. Nick Gulla (3-2) earned the victory, tossing five innings, allowing four earned off eight hits and striking out a pair. Sean Jones entered action in the ninth and picked up his second save of the inning by throwing a scoreless frame.
F&M returns to CC action on Friday when the Diplomats celebrate senior day by hosting Haverford at 3:30 p.m.