LANCASTER, Pa. – With wins of 6-1and 5-2 in a doubleheader sweep of Swarthmore on Saturday afternoon at Caplan Field, Franklin & Marshall's baseball team clinched the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Centennial Conference Playoffs. The Diplomats improved to 25-10, 13-5 CC, while the Garnets' season came to an end at 17-17, 4-14 CC.
As the conference's No. 2 seed, the Diplomats will host No. 3 McDaniel at Caplan on Thursday. Check back with GoDiplomats.com early in the week for more information.
In the opening contest, F&M got on the board in the second by scoring on a wild pitch, before Erb made it 2-0 in the next frame off an RBI groundout to first base, which scored Luke Seib. The Diplomats tacked on three more in the bottom of the fourth off one hit and a pair of errors to extend the lead to five, before the Garnet finally got on the board in the fifth by scoring on a throwing error from F&M's shortstop.
Casey Bulik helped the Diplomats continue to capitalize on Swarthmore's miscues in the fifth, making it a 6-1 game by dropping down a sacrifice bunt with a runner on third, and plating Vincent off an errant throw to home by the Garnets' pitcher.
Starting pitcher Alex Guerra (5-1) earned the 17th victory of his career, placing the senior righty just three shy of the program record after tossing 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Guerra also tied the F&M record for career starts with 30. His counterpart Aidan Miller (3-2) was dealt the loss, allowing one earned in four innings.
Dan Marano paced the offense with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate as the Diplomats combined for five hits. First baseman Steven Matos-Torres led Swarthmore with a 3-for-4 showing.
In the nightcap, F&M stormed out in front with three runs off four hits, including RBI singles from Marano and Christopher Vincent, to capture the early first-inning lead. The Garnet closed the gap to two in the third, hitting an RBI single to center field that plated a runner from second. The Diplomats' offense answered right back in the bottom of the frame when Marano and Erb singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Vincent stepped to the dish and laced a single down the leftfield line, scoring Marano and pushing the lead to 4-1.
Marano added some insurance in the sixth with an RBI single to right field that scored Matt Mezansky, who reach base on a triple to left center. The Garnet cut the defecit to three in the seventh with one run on two hits in the frame, but F&M's bullpen shutdown Swarthmore from there, to hang on for the win.
Theriault (1-2) picked up his first victory of the season, tossing two scoreless innings in relief. Mathewson entered in the eighth and set the program's career record for appearances with the 60th as a Diplomat. Freshman closer Andrew Mascis also made history, throwing a scoreless ninth for his seventh save of the season, breaking the conference record for saves as a freshman as well as the program's single-season mark.
Four F&M batters registered a two or more hits, led by a 3-for-4 line from Marano, to go along with two runs scored and a pair batted in. Mezansky went 2-for-5 from the leadoff spot with two runs scored, as the Diplomats combined to tally 11 hits in the contest.