LANCASTER, Pa. – A Luke Seib sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th sent the winning run across the plate as Franklin & Marshall's baseball team snuck past Messiah by a 5-4 score on Thursday afternoon at Caplan Field.
The win marked the fourth straight for the Diplomats and brought their overall record to 19-7 on the season, while the Falcons dropped below .500 at 12-13.
F&M took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning after scoring a pair in the first and tacking on with a Will Palmer RBI single in the third. Messiah cut the deficit to two by scoring on a groundout to short in the fifth, before tying the contest in the eighth off an RBI double to center and an RBI single up the middle.
In the top of the ninth, the Falcons earned their first lead of the afternoon, opening the frame with a single to right center before a sacrifice bunt put a runner on second with one out. Messiah's John Griffitts stepped to the dish and doubled home the run with a shot to left field, making it a 4-3 score.
The Diplomats quickly regained the momentum in the bottom of the frame when Seib reached on a catcher's interference call. David Iacobucci followed with a single through the left side, before Zach Levins was hit by a pitch to load the bases with just one out. Dan Marano hit a sacrifice fly to center in F&M's next at-bat, scoring Seib and knotting the score. However, the side was retired with a strike out looking and a foul out to first base, sending the contest into extras.
Matt Mezansky began the bottom of the 10th with a leadoff walk, before Brett Poniros dropped down a bunt single to put runners on first and second without any outs on the scoreboard. Reed Williams followed with a clutch pinch-hit single off the Diplomats' second bunt of the frame to load the bases, before Seib's sacrifice fly to center ended the game.
Eric Bateman got the start and exited the game after going seven innings, allowing just one earned off three hits while striking out five. Paul Giulio (1-0) earned his first victory of the season, tossing the final frame for F&M. Reliever Adam Marshall (0-1) was charged with the loss for Messiah, throwing 2 1/3 out of the bullpen and allowing one earned off three hits and a trio of walks.
Poniros paced the offense from the leadoff spot, tallying a 4-for-6 line to go along with one run scored and a stolen base. Second baseman Jimmy Whelan and left fielder Iacobucci each recorded two of the Diplomats' 12 hits on the afternoon. Messiah notched nine hits in the game, including two each from right fielder Derek Drake and first baseman Joseph Saufley.
F&M returns to Centennial Conference (CC) action tomorrow, looking to complete the season sweep of Washington on the road at 3:30 p.m.