CARLISLE, Pa. – A dominating complete-game performance from starter Alex Guerra propelled Franklin & Marshall to a 7-1 victory over Dickinson in game one of Saturday afternoon's Centennial Conference (CC) baseball doubleheader in Carlisle, before the Red Devils answered with an 11-4 triumph in the nightcap to earn the split. The Diplomats' record moved to 13-19, 5-9 CC with the decision, while Dickinson now sits at 19-10, 5-8 CC on the year.
With the contest scoreless in the third inning of game one, Brett Poniros stepped to the plate with a pair of outs and the bases loaded. The sophomore shortstop followed with a bases clearing double to give F&M a 3-0 lead.
Joe Gallitto led off the sixth with a single before stealing second and advancing to third off an error from the Red Devils catcher. Poniros continued his clutch play on the afternoon, making it 4-0 by sending Gallitto home with a sacrifice fly to center.
An RBI grounder in the seventh from Dickinson cut the score to 4-1, however the Diplomats added three insurance runs off four hits in the top of the ninth to seal the victory. Will Benenson, Luke Seib and Poniros tallied three-straight RBI singles in the frame, producing each hit with two outs.
Guerra (4-3) was dominant on the mound, going all nine innings, allowing one earned off five hits and striking out four. Ryan Kramer (5-2) entered the contest second in the conference in ERA but was dealt the loss, allowing one earned off six hits in eight innings of work, while striking out 11 batters.
Poniros paced the offense with a 3-for-4 game and four RBIs, while Casey Bulik went 2-for-4 with a run scored at the bottom of the lineup. F&M combined for nine hits and held Dickinson to only five.
In the nightcap, the Red Devils jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with three RBI singles in the bottom of the second. The Diplomats answered in the fifth when Sam Gladstone hit a sacrifice fly the center, scoring Gallitto from third and cutting the deficit to two.
However, Dickinson responded in the bottom half of the frame, tallying a pair of runs off four hits for the 5-1 advantage. The Red Devils carried the momentum over to the sixth and added onto the lead with a two-RBI double, followed by an RBI single to right field, extending their advantage to seven.
F&M would not go away easily, loading the bases in the top of the seventh and putting three runs on the board with a Poniros sacrifice fly to center, followed by a Matt Mezansky RBI single to center and a passed ball that allowed Rob Anderson to cross home plate.
Clinging to an 8-4 advantage, the Red Devils added a few insurance runs in the bottom of the frame when second baseman Mitch Helmendollar doubled to left center with the bases loaded, scoring all three baserunners and giving Dickinson a commanding 11-4 lead.
The Diplomats' starter Sean Cosgriff (2-4) was handed the loss after allowing five earned off 11 hits in five innings of work. His counterpart Harley Moore (5-0) remained unbeaten on the season, pitching 6.2 innings, striking out eight and allowing just one earned off seven hits.
Bulik put together a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, while Poniros and Mezansky both registered a pair of hits. First Baseman Mike Adams led the Red Devils with a 3-for-5 line and two RBIs, while catcher Rich Hopkins tallied three hits and a pair of RBIs.
F&M stranded nine base runners in the game, while collecting 10 hits compared to 17 from Dickinson.
The Diplomats return to action Tuesday when F&M travels to take on Haverford at 3:30 p.m.