HAVERFORD, Pa. – Three runs in the bottom of the first put Franklin & Marshall's baseball team in an early hole it could not climb out from as the Diplomats fell to Haverford by a 6-1 score on Tuesday afternoon in Centennial Conference (CC) play. F&M dropped to 13-20, 5-10 CC, while the Fords propelled into second place in the conference standings with a 16-15, 9-6 CC mark.
With the defeat, the Diplomats have officially fallen out of contention for one of the four playoff spots up for grabs in the CC. Muhlenberg and McDaniel each sit in a tie for third place with 8-6 conference records and both hold the tiebreaker over F&M.
Haverford stormed out in front with a bases clearing double in the bottom of the opening frame to capture a 3-0 lead. F&M nearly answered in the following inning when Joe Gallitto singled with one out before Brett Poniros advanced him to third with a double down the left field line. However, the next two Diplomats went down in order to retire the threat.
F&M finally got on the board in the top of the fifth when back-to-back singles from Pat Andrews and Matt Mezansky loaded the bases with no outs, before Will Benenson plated Rob Anderson with a fielder's choice RBI to make it a 3-1 game.
The Fords answered quickly, scoring three runs off four hits in the bottom of the frame to pull ahead by five. The Diplomats looked to keep pace in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs off an Anderson single up the middle. F&M was unable to capitalize, as Haverford retired the side when the Diplomats next batter grounded out to second base.
Anderson led the offense with a 2-for-5 day at the plate, while Andrews, Mexansky, Gallitto, Poniros and Casey Bulik made up the rest of F&M's eight hits. Haverford tallied 10 hits in the contest, led by a 3-for-4 effort from shortstop William Bannard. The Diplomats stranded 10 base runners on the afternoon, while the Fords left nine.
Starter Will Hofmann (1-1) was dealt the loss after allowing six earned off eight hits in 4.2 innings on the mound. Haverford's Max Gerard (2-1) earned the win after putting together five innings of shutout ball to go along with four strikeouts.
The Diplomats return to action tomorrow when F&M takes to the road to face off against non-conference opponent Elizabethtown at 4:00 p.m.