BALTIMORE - Johns Hopkins snatched a 7-6 victory from the jaws of defeat in the opening round of the Centennial Conference (CC) baseball championships. Franklin & Marshall had rallied in the ninth to force extra innings, claimed the lead in the top of tenth, and watched it slip away in gut-wrenching fashion in the bottom of the frame.
Trailing 5-2 heading into the final inning, the Diplomats (22-14-1) unraveled Jays' (23-14) starter, Chez Angeloni. F&M pieced together four runs on three hits. After getting the first pair across, the Diplomats had bases loaded without an out on the board. A 5-4-3 double play left Matt Will, who had driven in a run, alone on third base. Jason Anderson stepped in and blooped a hit down the rightfield line to bring the Diplomats second-bagger home to knot things up at 5-5.
Brendan McCreary came on and got the Jays out in order, sending the game into extra innings. Bill Murray led off the 10th with a solo shot - the fifth home run in the game - giving F&M its first lead of the game.
McCreary worked himself into a jam in the tenth with back-to-back singles from Ryan Biner and Brian Youchak. The Jays eventually found themselves with bases loaded without an out before McCreary settled in. The Diplomats sophomore got the first out when first baseman J.T. Triantos flashed leather on a laser in his direction, then followed up with a strikeout. McCreay then got Jays' catcher, John Swarr, to hit a fly ball onto the base of slope under the rightfield fence. Staring into a tough western sky, Shea Moriarty misplayed the ball, allowing the game-tying and winning runs to cross.
McCreay (3-1) was saddled with his first loss of the season.
After manufacturing a run in the first, Johns Hopkins extended the lead to 2-0 with a Jesse Sikorski home run off of the short porch in right. The Diplomats finally got on the board in the fourth when Eric Bornstein cashed in on Moriarty's leadoff double. An Anderson homer in the sixth knotted it up, but not for long as Biner blasted a solo shot well beyond the leftfield fence. Swarr hit a leadoff homer in the seventh to make it 4-2. Lee Bolyard's one-out, eighth inning single became the Jays' fifth run when pinch hitter, Zach Small blooped a ball into the same spot Anderson hit his game-tying RBI in the ninth.
The home runs marred otherwise outstanding performances by both team's starters. Nick Markel worked eight-and-a-third allowing five earned runs on eight hits. He struck out four and worked out of several spots before Mike Ham came on a got Swarr to hit into an inning-ending double play in the eighth. Angeloni worked nine innings for Hopkins and watched his defense turn several double plays. He also allowed five earned runs on 11 hits.
Biner finished the day 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Triantos went 3-for-5 in the nine hole with a run scored. Anderson Murray, Will, Andrew Hanson and Bill Murray each picked up a pair of hits. Anderson drove in two runs and scored once.
The Diplomats return to action tomorrow against Haverford in the first elimination game of the double-elimination tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. at Ursinus in Collegeville, Pa.