GREENSBORO, N.C. – Franklin & Marshall's baseball team dropped a pair of hard-fought contests against Guilford in its season opener on Saturday afternoon. The Diplomats fell in extras in the first game by a 5-4 (11 innings) score, before dropping a 4-2 (7 innings) contest in the nightcap.
F&M moved to 0-2 with the pair of decisions while the Quakers improved to 6-4 on the year.
Tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the 11th of game one, Guilford's opening two batters went down in order before a double to left field put a runner in scoring position. Following an intentional walk, the Quakers' Michael Pinkston lined a single to right field, knocking in the winning run.
F&M was put in an early hole when Guilford stormed out of the gates with a three-run first inning off four hits in the frame. Neither team generated much offense until the top of the sixth when the Diplomats countered with four runs off one hit and a trio of errors by the Quakers.
Jimmy Whelan was walked to open the frame, before Matt Mezansky and Dan Marano reached on errors to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Whelan from third, and Luke Seib singled in a run with a shot to right field. Tyler Daley wrapped up the scoring in the inning, reaching first base on a fielding error that sent a pair of runners across the plate.
Trailing by a 4-3 margin, Guilford tied the contest in the bottom of the seventh with a one-out single down the left field line. F&M nearly took the lead in the 10th when David Iacobucci led off with a double to left field, but eventually got caught in a rundown at home.
Guilford outhit F&M by a 12-6 tally. Seib led the way with a 1-for-3 line to go along with an RBI and two walks. Mack Glavin got the start for the Diplomats and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three earned on seven hits and striking out a pair. Bobby Gaston (0-1) was charged with the loss after surrendering the winning run in the eleventh.
Parks Smithey started for the Quakers and tossed seven innings without allowing an earned run while striking out six. John Todd (1-0) entered in relief and went 3 1/3 innings without allowing a run.
In game two, Daley broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the sixth with an RBI single up the middle that plated Seib from second. However, Guilford followed with a three-run homer in the bottom of the frame to go ahead for good.
Reed Williams put F&M's first points on the board in the top of the second with a two-out RBI single to left field that scored Daley from third. The Quakers responded with an RBI single of their own in the third, before their trio of runs in the sixth sealed the win.
Iacobucci notched two of F&M's seven hits with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate. Guilford managed only five total hits and was led by designated hitter Chuck Noble, who went 2-for-3 to go along with one run and three RBIs.
Mike Androconis (0-1) was dealt the loss on the mound, surrendering four earned in 5 1/3 innings. Chase Shuford (1-1) picked up the victory for the Quakers, stepping out of the bullpen and registering 1 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
F&M wraps up its North Carolina trip tomorrow by facing off against Guilford at 12:00 p.m.