MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall terrorized Messiah on the base paths and in the batter's box on Thursday afternoon with a 17-6 win off 10 steals and 18 hits. The Diplomats' improved to 15-6 on the season, while the Falcons sunk to 9-11. Thursday's non-conference contest was called following the eighth inning, due to darkness.
It was close early on as F&M opened the scoring with two runs off two hits, including a Jimmy Whelan two-out RBI triple, in the top of the second, to get the scoring under way. Messiah answered with two runs of its own off a trio of hits in the bottom of the third, to even the game.
Vincent crossed home on a wild pitch in the fourth for the one-run advantage, before the Falcons grabbed the lead with a pair of one-run innings in the fourth and fifth, taking the 4-3 lead. F&M pulled away in the sixth, tallying six runs off five hits and three errors to capture the 9-4 advantage. A Vincent RBI double and a two-RBI Mike Smeriglio single through the right side, highlighted the scoring in the frame.
Messiah took back a pair in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run down the leftfield line and an RBI single up the middle to pull within three. However Zach Levins crossed home on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh, before the Diplomats' offense exploded for seven runs off five hits, including RBI singles from Luke Seib, Vincent and Reed Williams, to put the contest out of reach for good.
Reliever Bobby Gaston (1-0) entered in the fourth and tossed 1 2/3 frames to earn the first win of his career. The Falcon's Tyler Mitcheltree (0-1) was dealt the loss, surrendering four earned off four hits in 2/3 an inning out of the bullpen.
Vincent and Levins each went 3-for-5, while Tyler Daley, Smeriglio, Vincent, Whelan and Williams all notched a pair of RBIs on the afternoon. Left fielder Derek Drake paced Messiah's attack with a 3-for-4 effort to go along with two runs and two RBIs as the Falcons' combined for 13 hits. F&M registered four extra-base hits in the game, including triples from Levins and Whelan.
The Diplomats return to Centennial Conference (CC) action tomorrow, hosting Ursinus at Clipper Magazine Stadium, home of the Lancaster Barnstormers, for a 3:30 p.m. tilt.