WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Following a tough 16-9 loss (7 innings) in game one, Franklin & Marshall's baseball team responded with a 6-3 win (7 innings) in the nightcap of a non-conference doubleheader against Keene St. on Wednesday evening in Florida.
The Spring Break tilt moved the Diplomats' record to 7-2 on the season while the Owls are now 2-5.
Game 1: Keene St. 16, F&M 9 (7 Innings)
F&M struggled to keep pace early as Keene St. tossed four runs on the board off of four hits in the bottom of the first inning, before making it a 7-0 game with three more tallies in the second. Dan Marano's two-RBI single got two runs back for the Diplomats in the top of the third, but the Owls scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the frame to make it an 8-2 game.
Keene St. put the contest away for good with a two-run fourth and a five-run fifth, but F&M kept it interesting by notching six runs with two outs in the seventh. Six straight batters reached base for the Diplomats in the frame as Michael Cole, J.J. Freeman, and Marano all provided RBI singles, while Kelsey Launi laced an RBI double to pile on the runs. However, F&M went down swinging its final at-bat to end the threat.
Launi led the offensive effort with a 3-for-5 performance that included two runs scored and an RBI. Marano went 2-for-5 with four RBIs, recording his 150th career hit in the process. Cole went a perfect 2-for-2 with a run scored and two RBIs after entering the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth.
Starter Noah Jordan (0-1) was dealt the loss after surrendering five earned on three hits in one inning of work. Jake Morris (1-1) picked up the Owls' victory with four innings pitched, giving up one earned run on four hits with six strikeouts.
Game 2: F&M 6, Keene St. 3 (7 Innings)
Starting pitcher Jonathan Pesantez (1-0) twirled five shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four to provide the Diplomats with a solid outing.
F&M did the majority of its damage in the bottom of the fourth with a four-run frame that included a bases-clearing, three-RBI triple from catcher Kyle Ebert.
After surrendering the game's first run in the top half of the sixth, the Diplomats responded with two runs off of two hits, including an RBI single from Will Samuel, to stay in front at 6-1.
A two-run homer from Keene St. in the seventh kept it close, but reliever Danny Blugis forced a groundout to short that ended the threat.
Samuel led the way with a 3-for-3 line that included two runs and an RBI. He joined five other Diplomats to record a hit in the contest as F&M tallied eight, compared to just four from the Owls.
The Diplomats return to action on Friday, battling Keystone in Auburndale, Fla. at 2:00 p.m.