LANCASTER, Pa. - A three-run bottom of the eighth inning propelled Franklin & Marshall past Purchase St. 5-2 in non-conference baseball action Thursday at Caplan Field. The Diplomats even their record at 9-9 with the win, while the Panthers fall to 9-7.
Knotted at 2-2 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Diplomats put together a three-run outburst when they needed it most. Aaron Gillette opened the inning with a leadoff walk, and a pair of one-out infield singles from Will Benenson and Kevin Shields loaded the bases for Matt Mezansky.
Mezansky delivered with a two-RBI single up the middle that squeezed between the Panthers' middle infielders, scoring pinch-runner Tyler Veterano and Benenson to give the Diplomats a 4-2 edge. Alex Vescera followed with an RBI single to left center that allowed Shields to touch home for the three-run F&M advantage.
Vescera shifted from shortstop to the mound in the ninth, registering a one-two-three frame for his third save of the season.
The Diplomats never trailed in the contest, nabbing the initial 1-0 lead with Avery Attinson's RBI double over the left fielder's head that scored Gillette in the bottom of the fourth.
Purchase St. answered in the fifth with a single tally of its own as Ronald Echavarria tallied an RBI single through the left side of the infield to even the score at 1-1.
Kevin Shields touched home on a passed ball in the seventh to give F&M back the lead, 2-1, before the Panthers responded once more in the top of the eighth with Colin Morris's RBI single to left field.
Mezansky's two RBIs paced the Diplomats, while Shields went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Attinson went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Echevarria and Michael Skoller each registered a pair of hits for the Panthers in the defeat.
Andrew Green (1-0) snagged the win for F&M, pitching 3.0 innings in relief of starter Paul Giulio. Green surrendered one run on one hit while fanning one batter. Giulio tossed the opening 5.0 frames for F&M, notching seven strikeouts and allowing just four hits and one run.
Mitch Paz (1-1) took the loss for the Panthers after allowing four runs, three earned, in 2.0 innings of relief. Matt Paz worked 6.0 effective frames as the Purchase St. starter, giving up three hits and one run while striking out four.
The Diplomats open up Centennial Conference (CC) play on the road on Saturday with a doubleheader at McDaniel. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m.