EAGLE LAKE, Fla. - Franklin & Marshall split its doubleheader with Clarkson on its second to last day of spring break competition at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on Friday. The Diplomats (4-7) dropped game one 5-3, before bouncing back with a 6-3 triumph over the Golden Knights (1-3) in the nightcap.
Trailing 1-0 after the top half of the first inning of game one, the Diplomats took a 2-1 edge off RBIs from Kevin Shields and Avery Attinson in the bottom half of the inning. Alex Vescera registered the first hit of the frame with a one-out double to the gap in right center, and Shields sent him home two batters later as he ripped a double down the left field line. Attinson followed with a single to left that allowed Shields to touch home to give F&M the one-run advantage.
Clarkson re-took the lead in the top of the third with a three-hit, four-run frame that also included a pair of fielding errors from the Diplomats. Tim Beninati's two-RBI single to right center capped off the scoring in the inning for the Golden Knights, giving them a 5-2 lead.
Matt Mezansky's two-out RBI single to left in the sixth scored Will Benenson from second and pulled F&M within a 5-3 deficit, but Clarkson starter Pete Roma (1-0) was able to go the distance as he tossed all 7.0 innings to earn the win, allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out six.
Sean Cosgriff (0-1) suffered his first loss of the year for the Diplomats. The sophomore lefthander recorded one strikeout and walked four while giving up just one earned run.
Vescera led F&M at the plate in game one with two hits and a run scored.
In the nightcap, the Diplomats started strong as they came out firing with a two-run top half of the first. Consecutive singles from Mezansky and Benenson got things rolling for F&M, before Shields was intentionally walked to fill the bags with one away. Brandon Theriault then delivered a hard-hit grounder that stayed just inside the left field line, scoring Shields and Benenson.
Greg Jasek tallied a two-RBI single up the middle for the Golden Knights in the second to even the score at 2-2, but the Diplomats fired right back with a pair of scores in the third to take the lead for good.
Benenson's high-arcing triple that hit off the wall in left center was the key hit of the frame for the Diplomats, as it scored Mezansky from first and put Benenson in position to score several batters later. With one out, Theriault earned a free pass with a hit-by-pitch, and shortly thereafter got caught in a rundown between first and second, giving Benenson enough time to race home to give F&M a 4-2 edge.
F&M starter Alex Guerra (1-1) settled in nicely following the second inning, allowing just two runners to reach scoring position the rest of the way en route to his first victory of the year in 6.0 innings of work. Guerra struck out two while allowing three runs on six hits.
The Diplomats tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top half of the seventh to move out to a 6-3 lead, before Vescera shifted to the mound from his shortstop position and delivered a one-two-three inning to earn his first career save.
Benenson went 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored thrice for the Diplomats, while Mezansky continued his early-season hot streak at the plate with a 2-for-4 line and two runs scored. Theriault tallied two RBIs, while Vescera also notched an RBI in the win.
The Diplomats wrap up their spring break slate tomorrow with a twinbill against Wentworth. Game one is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.