SWARTHMORE, Pa. – A brilliant game-one pitching performance from starter Andrew Mascis kept the Franklin & Marshall baseball team's Centennial Conference (CC) Tournament hopes alive with a 9-1 win over Muhlenberg, but a valiant ninth-inning, game-two rally fell short in a 10-5 loss against Johns Hopkins to eliminate the Diplomats on Saturday.
F&M saw its 2018 season come to an end with a 19-18-2 record. The Blue Jays advanced into tomorrow's Conference final where Hopkins will need to win two over Swarthmore with game one beginning and noon. The Mules season drew to a close with a 19-20 overall record.
Game 1: F&M 9, Muhlenberg 1
F&M scored early and often against the Mules, plating a pair of runs off of two hits and an error in the top of the first for the 2-0 edge. J.J. Freeman laced a one-out single through the right side, and Dan Marano doubled down the left field line to place a pair of runners into scoring position for the Diplomats. Don DiLoreto grounded out to second, allowing Freeman to cross home and Kelsey Launi reached on an infield error that scored Marano.
Another Muhlenberg error in the top of the second allowed Jimmy Whelan to make his way home off a Max Schwartz single down the right-field line for the 3-0 lead, and Kengo Kawahara followed later in the frame with a sacrifice fly to center to put F&M in front by four.
Whelan led off the fourth with a double to left center and eventually scored off a Danny Blugis sacrifice fly to right field to give the Diplomats a 5-0 advantage. Muhlenberg got the run back in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI single through the left side.
F&M buckled down from there and held the Mules scoreless throughout the remainder of the game, before adding on with four runs on five hits in the top of the ninth to put the contest out of reach for good.
Mascis (5-2) was impressive in his complete-game effort, allowing just one earned on seven hits and striking out three. His counterpart Timmy Pilrun (3-4) suffered the defeat after allowing three earned on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Marano went 4-for-5 with one run scored while Freeman was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Schwartz also recorded a pair of the Diplomat' 12 hits on the day.
Game 2: Johns Hopkins 10, F&M 5
F&M fell behind early in the nightcap when the Blue Jays led off the game with a double to right center before an infield error by the Diplomats allowed Hopkins to take the 1-0 edge. In the second, F&M answered with a pair of singles to knot the score. Whelan keyed the action with a one-out single before getting into scoring position with a stolen base. A groundout advanced Whelan to third before Kyle Ebert singled up the middle to plate the run.
The Diplomats' momentum was short lived as Hopkins doubled to right center with a runner on first in the bottom of the frame to pull ahead by a 2-1 tally. The Blue Jays added on with two runs in each of the fourth and fifth frames, before tallying three runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth to take a daunting 9-1 lead.
Matthew Kann doubled to lead off the seventh and eventually scored on a J.J. Freeman RBI single to jump-start the F&M offense and pull the Diplomats within seven. Hopkins got the run back in the eighth to go ahead at 10-2, but three-straight singles, including a Dan Baroff RBI, hit up the middle, breathed life into an F&M ninth-inning comeback bid.
With only one out on the board and the Diplomats trailing by seven, Freeman loaded the bases with a single through the right side. Marano reached on a fielder's choice that scored Ebert and Schwartz reached first on an infield error that cut the deficit to five. However, the bid came to an end in the next at-bat as F&M was retired with a strikeout.
Starter Jonathan Cole (3-4) suffered the loss after being charged with five earned on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. His counterpart Preston Betz (9-7) went all nine innings, allowing five earned on 11 hits and striking out five for the victory.
Hopkins held the narrow 14-11 margin in hits. Freeman, Kann, and Ebert all tallied a pair of hits for the Diplomats as Kann was 2-for-2 with two runs scored off the bench.