WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Starting pitcher Alex Guerra earned the Franklin & Marshall baseball team's third consecutive shutout to start off the 2015 season in a 12-0 bashing of Grinnell, before the Diplomats rolled to a 10-5 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader sweep on Monday at the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational. F&M remained unbeaten at 4-0 on the year, while the Pioneers fell to 1-2.
Guerra (1-0) moved one step closer to the program's all-time wins record, sliding into the ninth place with his 13th career victory, just seven shy of Ted Serro '06. The Diplomats' senior right-hander was sharp throughout the opening contest, twirling six innings and allowing only four hits while striking out six.
Brian Erb began the scoring for F&M in the top of the first, sending a two-out single to center field that scored Dan Marano from third for the early 1-0 advantage. Third baseman Matt Mezansky padded the lead in the third, sending Brett Poniros home with an RBI single of his own to left.
Guerra pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the frame, forcing back-to-back popups with runners on first and second to end the threat, and maintain the two-score advantage for F&M. In the seventh, the Diplomats' offense exploded for 10 runs off five hits, including a two-RBI homer to left field from catcher Christopher Vincent and a three-RBI double to left center from Marano, to put the game out of reach.
Marano, Mezansky, Erb, Mike Smeriglio, and Casey Bulik all notched a pair of hits as F&M combined for 13 through seven innings. Graham Fisher (0-1) was dealt the loss for Grinnell after surrendering five earned off nine hits in 6 1/3 innings of work.
In game two, the Diplomats' bats remained hot when Tyler Daley sent an RBI double to left field, before Poniros plated him in the next at bat with an RBI single up the middle for the 2-0 lead following the second frame.
Grinnell quickly answered in the top of the next inning, taking its first lead of the day with four runs off a pair of hits for the 4-2 advantage. However, the Pioneers continued to have no answers for F&M's potent offense, as the Diplomats put four runs of their own on the board in the bottom of the frame, with RBI double's from Smeriglio and Luke Seib, followed by an RBI sacrifice fly from Daley to make it a 6-4 game.
F&M added some insurance in the fifth, tallying a trio of runs in the frame. Daley continued to send runners across the plate, lacing a two-RBI single up the middle, before a Marano double to center scored him from third.
Erb and Poniros each paced the offense with 2-for-4 days at the plate, while Daley went 2-for-2 with four RBIs. A trio of Pioneers' notched two hits, led by first baseman Walker Bell, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Sean Cosgriff (1-0) picked up his first win of the season, throwing four innings, allowing zero earned runs and striking out four. Chris Mathewson came out of the bullpen and threw two innings of shutout ball.
The Diplomats continue their spring break trip tomorrow when F&M travels to Auburndale, Fla. to take on Southern Vermont at 12:30 p.m.