FROSTBURG, Md. – Fighting for a spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, Franklin & Marshall's baseball team made a strong statement on Friday afternoon, upsetting the nation's No. 2 team Frostburg St. by a 4-1 score in non-conference competition. The Diplomats improved to 28-12 on the year, while the Bobcats fell to 37-6.
Fresh off an All-Centennial Conference (CC) Second Team nod, senior starter Alex Guerra (6-2) was in control throughout, picking up the win after tossing six scoreless innings, allowing six hits and walking one batter. The victory was the 18th of his career, placing him in sole possession of third place on the program's all-time list and just two shy of the record.
In the first inning, F&M continued to do what it has all season and generate runs off its small-ball style of offense. Brett Poniros reached on an error to open the frame, before Matt Mezansky's sacrifice bunt moved him over to second. Newly-minted CC Rookie of the Year Dan Marano stepped to the dish and laced a single out to left field, advancing Poniros over to third with just one out on the board. David Iacobucci followed with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Poniros and making it a 1-0 game.
Neither team generated much offense until the Diplomats tacked on in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of Frostburg St.'s miscues and scoring a pair of runs off a throwing error from the Bobcats' pitcher on a sacrifice bunt, followed by a wild pitch later in the inning, pushing the lead to 3-0.
Frostburg St. finally had an answer in the bottom of the frame, hitting back-to-back one out singles and sending a runner across home plate after a fielding error at centerfield. However, Guerra kept it a two-score game by forcing a groundout and a pop up to second to retire the side.
In the eighth, Tyler Daley and Luke Seib opened with a pair of singles up the middle to put runners on first and third without any outs. Christopher Vincent followed by grounding into a double play, however it was enough to send Daley home from third for the critical insurance run.
Chris Mathewson, Mike Androconis and Andrew Mascis pitched the final two innings out of the bullpen to close out the win. All-CC First Team member Mascis continues to rewrite the program's single-season record book, recording his ninth save of the season.
Mezansky went 2-for-3 with a walk and Daley tallied a 2-for-2 line with a pair of runs scored to pace F&M's offense. Frostburg St. held the edge in hits at 8-7 and was led by designated hitter Nick Walter with a 2-for-4 effort.
The Diplomats conclude their regular-season on Sunday by traveling to Alvernia for a 12:00 p.m. contest.