Diplomats Down Fords; Advance to CC Finals

Diplomats Down Fords; Advance to CC Finals

BALTIMORE, Md. – With its second come-from-behind win of the Centennial Conference (CC) Playoffs, Franklin & Marshall's baseball team advanced into tomorrow's final for the second time in three years. The Diplomats (27-10) pulled out the 6-3 victory over the Fords (15-19) on Saturday in Baltimore and will face off against either Johns Hopkins or the Fords in tomorrow's championship. 

Haverford took the early 3-0 lead with a pair of RBI doubles and an RBI single in the top of the first. F&M capitalized on a Fords' miscue in the fourth. Dan Marano went down swinging, however Haverford's catcher was unable to corral the ball for the out.

The throw down to first sailed high and landed in right field, placing Marano on second without any outs on the scoreboard. Following a groundout back to the pitcher, David Iacobucci hit a blooper to right field that scored Marano and cut the deficit to two. 

The Diplomats battled the whole way back to knot it at 3-3 in the sixth when Marano opened the frame by sending a single to right field with one out. Mike Smeriglio followed with a walk to put runners on first and second, before an Iacobucci ground-rule double sent Marano home from second. Luke Seib stepped to the plate and grounded out, but it proved to be enough to send Smeriglio across the plate. 

In the seventh, F&M grabbed its first lead of the game by tallying a pair of runs in a wild inning that made it 5-3. Casey Bulik laced a ground-rule double with one out on the board, before a Matt Mezansky walk put runners on first and second. 

Brett Poniros stepped to the dish and scored Bulik with a double of his own to right center. With first base open, the Fords chose to attempt and intentionally walk Marano, however the fourth ball was thrown outside, hit off the catcher's glove, and allowed Mezansky to slide under the tag at home.

The Diplomats continued to tack on in the eighth adding another run when Brian Erb swiped a pair of bases, before Bulik singled him home from third. 

Closer Andrew Mascis entered in the ninth and tossed a scoreless frame for his eighth save of the season. Starter Mike Androconis continues to produce quality starts each time he takes to the mound, pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing three earned off six hits and striking out seven. Reliever Chris Haylon (1-0) in the win after entering in the seventh and throwing 1 1/3 frames of shutout ball. Tommy Bergjans (5-3) took the loss after allowing four earned off eight hits in 6 2/3 innings and striking out 10 batters. 

Bulik paced the offense with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, while Marano and Iacobucci each tallied two of F&M's nine hits on the afternoon. Catcher Nick Ott went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Fords, who combined for seven hits. 

The Diplomats hold a one-game lead over the field heading into the final day of the double-elimination tournament. F&M can clinch the championship with a win in the opening contest at noon, with a loss forcing an extra game.