AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Franklin & Marshall's baseball team registered a 1-1 split against Central (Iowa) on Saturday afternoon by suffering a 2-0 loss in the opener and rebounding with a 12-5 decision in the nightcap, which saw the Diplomats turn their first triple play since 2004.
With the pair of non-conference decisions, F&M moved to 8-1 on their Florida Spring Break trip and is now 9-5 overall on the year, while the Dutch are 5-8 overall.
Game one saw neither offense generate a hit until the top of the sixth when Central led off with a single, before scoring later in the frame on a two-out, infield error by F&M to take the 1-0 lead. The Dutch added insurance in the seventh with a one-out RBI single down the right field line to go ahead by two, before the Diplomats went down in order during the bottom portion of the frame to end the contest.
Central starter Adam Carey (1-2) picked up the complete-game shutout, allowing four hits and striking out six. Jonathan Cole (1-1) was solid for F&M but was dealt the tough-luck loss after tossing 5 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits and striking out four.
Tyler Daley led the offense at the leadoff spot with a 2-for-2 effort to go along with a walk and a stolen base, while first baseman Christopher Vincent recorded a pair of walks as F&M combined for five in the game.
Game two saw the Diplomats' offense regain its dominance with back-to-back doubles to open the bottom of the first, including a RBI, shot from Jimmy Whelan to make the score 1-0. A Central homer with one out in the bottom of the inning knotted the contest before the Dutch took a 3-1 lead in the second with a two-RBI single to right field.
Each team traded runs in the third to keep the deficit at two, before three runs on three hits, including a Kevin Lammers two-RBI single to right center, tied the game at 4-4. Central went back ahead by one in the bottom of the frame. However, F&M added three more in the top of the fifth after a two-RBI single from Brian Meerholz and a RBI double from Lammers.
Holding onto the 8-5 edge in the sixth, F&M's defense stepped up by recording the program's first triple play since 2004. With runners on first and second with no outs on the board, Casey Bulik came into pitch and forced a liner to kick start the clutch play. The effort was hit back to Bulik, who doubled up the runner on first before a toss to the shortstop got the runner at second.
The Diplomats put the game away for good in the seventh with a four-run inning that was highlighted by a two-RBI double from Daley and a two-RBI single from Vincent.
Starter Jack Buckley allowed three earned and struck out five batters in 4 1/3 innings of work before being relieved by Bobby Gaston (1-0), who earned the win with 2/3 shutout innings. Reliever Robert Stanton (0-2) was charged with the loss after allowing three earned on two hits and two walks in one inning out of the bullpen.
Meerholz went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs while Lammers finished with a 3-for-4 line with two runs scored and three batted it. As a team, F&M totaled 13 hits and drew six walks, while driving in all 12 of its runs.
Spring break competition concludes tomorrow with a competition against D'Youville at 10:00 a.m.