LANCASTER, Pa. - Franklin & Marshall split a pair of non-conference baseball games against visiting Stevens Institute of Technology in its home opener on Saturday at Caplan Field. The Diplomats (6-9) took game one 4-3, before falling 3-2 in the nightcap.
Brendan DeMond improved to 3-1 on the year with an eight-inning out in game one. DeMond surrendered just six hits while striking out eight and walking three.
All of the scoring in the opener occured in the first five innings, with the Diplomats taking early two-run leads in both the first and second frames. Matt Mezansky's two-RBI triple in the first got things going for F&M, scoring Will Benenson and Kevin Shields from first and second, respectively.
The Ducks pulled within 2-1 in the top half of the second off an RBI single to center by Brian Hennelly, but Alex Vescera's RBI double down the left field line in the bottom of the second pushed the Diplomats back out to a two-run edge.
Stevens evened up the score with a pair of runs in the fourth, but Avery Attinson's two-out RBI single up the middle in the fifth scored Shields from second to give F&M back the lead, 4-3, proving to be all the run support that DeMond and closer Alex Vescera would need to close out the win.
Clinging to a one-run edge entering the bottom of the ninth, Vescera took over on the mound and mowed down the Ducks in convincing fashion with three straight strikeouts to earn his second save of the year and give F&M the victory.
Peirce Marston (1-1) suffered the loss for the Ducks, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings of work. Gary Boardman pitched a scoreless final 3.1 innings in relief.
Game two was another low-scoring affair that featured high-quality pitching performances from both sides.
Sean Cosgriff (2-2) was sharp in his 7.0 innings on the rubber, allowing just three hits while striking out three and walking one. The sophomore lefthander registered one-two-three innings four times in the first six frames, before surrendering three unearned scores in the seventh. Reliever Andrew Green retired the side in order in both the eighth and ninth innings to keep the Diplomats within striking distance.
Stevens' starter Tyler Courter (3-0) tossed an impressive 8.0 innings, allowing just four hits and two runs while fanning 11. Dan Allen registered two strikeouts in the ninth for the Ducks to earn the save.
Leading 1-0 entering the seventh, the Ducks took advantage of several fielding miscues from the Diplomats to nab a 3-1 advantage.
The Diplomats pulled within 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh as Shields and Mezansky notched back-to-back one-out singles, before Brian Erb, who pinch-ran for Shields, later scored on a wild pitch.
F&M grabbed a 1-0 lead off Zach Levins' RBI double to right center in the second inning. Levins turned on a first pitch from Courter and smoked it into the gap to score Mezansky from first.
Matt Mezansky went 3-for-7 on the day with two RBIs, while Pat Andrews posted a 2-for-3 performance in game one and also scored once. Vescera, Attinson and Levin also notched RBIs on the day for F&M.
The Diplomats are back in action tomorrow at home against Keuka at 1:00 p.m.