LANCASTER, Pa. – A mixture of clutch performances throughout the lineup and savvy coaching strategy from the Franklin & Marshall staff, propelled the Diplomats to a thrilling 23-21 victory over Bucknell on Friday evening at the Mayser Center. The win snapped a four-match losing streak in the all-time series and evened F&M's record at 6-6, 2-3 EIWA on the season, while the Bison fell to 8-11, 4-4 EIWA.
Bucknell took an early 6-0 lead with a Diplomat forfeit at 125, before Robert Ruiz answered in commanding fashion, downing the Bison's Bob Hauser with an 11-1 major that included three takedowns.
From there, F&M decided to slide Jason Bing into the 141 spot of the lineup to accept the forfeit victory, leaving Richard Durso available to wrestle at 149. The strategy paid dividends as No. 11 Durso overpowered Victor Lopez, who came in a winner of seven straight, with a match-changing 13-6 major.
Durso entered the third with an 8-4 advantage before capping off the bout with a takedown and three nearfall points to close out the win and make the score 14-6 F&M. Andrew Murano followed at 157 by holding off his opponent for a 5-4 decision to extend the Diplomats advantage to 17-6.
Murano entered the third with a slight 4-3 lead off takedowns in the first and second period and closed out the bout with a key escape in the third to earn the win.
Rob King gave Rustin Barrick all he could handle at 165, but the Bison's grappler managed a pin with just seconds remaining in sudden victory to deal a much-needed six points to Bucknell, making the score 17-12.
The Diplomats extended the lead further with a timely 5-2 decision from Colin Gironda at 174, before the Bison's responded with a decision of their own at 184 as F&M nursed a 20-15 lead.
Chuckie Kerkesner stepped to the mat at 197 and delivered the match-clinching 8-6 decision to seal the contest for the Diplomats. The bout featured a back-and-fourth, high-scoring first period that saw Kerkesner enter the second with an 8-5 lead. The pace slowed down from there on out as F&M's sophomore grappler held on for the win.
The Diplomats return to the mat on Friday when F&M hosts Millersville for its final dual of the regular season. The competition is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.
Franklin & Marshall 23 - Bucknell 21
125: Paul Petrov, BUCK, forf.
133: Robert Ruiz, F&M, maj. dec. Bob Hauser, BUCK, 11-1.
141: Jason Bing, F&M, forf.
149: Richard Durso, F&M, maj. dec. Victor Lopez, BUCK, 13-5.
157: Andrew Murano, F&M, dec. Ray Schlitt, BUCK, 5-4.
165: Rustin Barrick, BUCK, pinned Theodore King, F&M,7:58.
174: Colin Gironda, F&M, dec. Robert Schlitt, BUCK, 5-2.
184: Rory Bonner, BUCK, dec. Paul III Alessandrini, F&M, 2-1.
197: Charles Kerkesner, F&M, dec. Tyler Lyster, BUCK, 8-6.
285: Joe Stolfi, BUCK, pinned Alexander Henry, F&M, 4:15.