LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall was edged out by Muhlenberg 6-4 in eight innings of a back-and-forth thriller in game one of a double header in Centennial Conference (CC) softball action on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Mules locked up the fourth and final CC playoff spot. In game two, Justine Lohrey, who was honored before the game as the Diplomats' lone senior, ended her career in style, pitching a complete-game 3-0 shutout to earn a split for F&M.
The Diplomats finished their season with a 23-11, 9-7 CC record, while Muhlenberg (16-14, 10-6 CC) will face No. 1 seed McDaniel in the first round of the conference playoffs on Friday.
In game one, with the score tied at 1-1 in the top of the sixth, Karissa Astrella broke the tie with a sacrifice fly to right field for a 2-1 Mules' lead. The next batter, Alyssa Schell, doubled to left field to extend the lead to 3-1.
Samantha Burns led off the bottom of the frame with a single up the middle, and Megan Ryan followed with a homerun to left field to tie the contest at 3-3. Later in the inning, Katie Zogorski crushed a line-drive homerun over left-center fence for her first career four-bagger, which gave F&M a 4-3 lead heading into the seventh inning.
Amie DeFeo led off the seventh with a double, and after starting pitcher Isabel Schaefer got the next two batters to ground out, Taylor Trifiolis smacked a double to center field to tie the contest at 4-4. Courtney Simon was called out on strikes to end the inning and Muhlenberg's starting pitcher Kelsey Jones kept the Diplomats off the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame to send the game into extras.
In the top of the eighth, after Schaefer got two quick outs, Schell reached on a error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Nicole Iannarone walked, DeFeo reached on an error to load the bases and Amelia Shelley hit a bloop-single to center field to score two runners and give the Mules a 6-4 advantage. Jones held F&M scoreless in the bottom of the eighth to seal the victory for Muhlenberg.
Zogorski finished 3-for-4 at the plate for the Diplomats, while Melissa Bollmeyer added two hits, as did Karly Newcomb. Schaefer (11-8) threw all eight innings and gave up four earned runs while striking out six.
That is all Lohrey (7-2) would need, as the senior pitched a complete-game shutout and gave up just three hits with no walks and two strikeouts.