AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Franklin & Marshall baseball team's record-setting start to the season continued on Tuesday in a 23-6 thumping of Southern Vermont at the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational. The victory improved the Diplomats to a perfect 5-0 on the year, marking their best start to a season in more than 40 years, while the Mountaineers fell to 3-3.
The 23 runs scored were the most in a game for F&M since a 27-7 bashing of Haverford on April 30, 2000. The Diplomats tallied 19 hits, the most since tagging the Fords for 18 on April 15, 2005. The offensive onslaught also included five homeruns, tying the program's single-game record established in the memorable 2-13 Centennial Conference (CC) Championship game, which resulted in a 16-1 title-clinching victory.
Mike Smeriglio got the scoring started in the top of the first with a two-RBI double to center that plated Matt Mezansky and Dan Marano. David Iacobucci stepped up to the plate next and crushed the Diplomats' first homer of the contest to left field, sending Smeriglio home from second and handing F&M a 4-0 advantage.
To watch a video of Iacobucci's home run, click here.
Southern Vermont responded with a two-run homerun of its own in the bottom of the frame to pull within two, before Iacobucci continued his career day in the third with an RBI single to make it a 5-2 contest.
The wheels fell off for the Mountaineers beginning in the fourth when Iacobucci served up his second homerun of the afternoon with a grand slam to left. F&M's offense stayed red hot in the following frame to go ahead by a 19-4 tally, when the Diplomats registered nine runs off seven hits, including first-career home runs from Tyler Daley, Marano and pinch hitter Ryan Obrecht.
The Diplomats managed three more runs in the sixth, including a Zach Levins RBI single that scored Iacobucci from third and a two-RBI single to center from Reed Williams later in the frame. F&M tacked on another in the seventh when a Will Palmer groundout to short was enough to score Brian Erb from third.
Iacobucci went 3-for-5 with two homeruns, four runs scored and a career-high seven RBIs. Marano tallied a 4-for-5 line with three runs and four RBIs, while left-fielder Daley went a perfect 4-for-4 with three runs and a pair of RBIs. Smeriglio recorded a 2-for-2 day at the plate, scoring two runs and knocking in a pair, while Erb went 2-for-3 with one run scored.
Starting pitcher Eric Bateman (1-0) earned the victory after allowing two earned off five hits and striking out three in five innings of work. His counterpart, Brandon Casella suffered the loss, surrendering eight earned off 14 hits in four innings on the mound.
F&M will look to continue its torrid start on Thursday, when the Diplomats take on Babson at 9:30 a.m. in Winter Haven.