Baseball 2012 Season Review

 

Streaks were the story of the 2012 Muhlenberg baseball season.

A pair of five-game winning streaks helped the Mules get off to one of the best starts in school history. And when wins became hard to come by, a school-record hitting streak stole the show, and the Mules just missed out on a .500 record, finishing 19-21, tied for the fourth-most wins in school history.

Muhlenberg started off hot, hitting four home runs to outscore Gallaudet 29-7 for an opening day sweep and pulling out a dramatic 14-12 extra-inning victory over 2011 NCAA Tournament participant Catholic before heading to Florida for Spring Break.

Nick Busillo
Busillo is just the second player in school history to hit two grand slams and the first to hit both in the same season.
The Mules finished their southern swing 6-2, a six-win improvement from last year’s Spring Break trip, including a 20-3 win over Emerson in which senior Nick Busillo went 4-for-6 with a home run and drove in seven runs, one short of the school record.

Muhlenberg went 1-2 after returning home before embarking on another five-game winning streak that drew some attention. Muhlenberg received five votes in the D3baseball.com poll; it was the first time they’ve ever received votes in a national poll.

The Mules swept Penn State Brandywine and then scored double figures in three straight wins over Valley Forge Christian (10-1), Albright (16-3) and Baptist Bible (13-1) to move more than 10 games over .500 (15-4) for just the second time in the 93-year history of the program.

From there, the Mules cooled off significantly, dropping 17 of their next 20 games. At the same time, freshman Chris Manfredonia heated up. He hit safely in the last 24 games of the season, shattering the school hitting streak record of 17 set in 1985 and 1987.

Muhlenberg did close the season on a positive note, getting a go-ahead grand slam from senior Brian Beck in his final game to post a 12-7 win over regionally ranked Johns Hopkins, which had captured the CC regular season crown.

Brian Beck
Beck finished his career tied for second in school history in fielding percentage (.985) and 11th in putouts with 440.
Busillo earned All-CC honorable mention after ranking in the top five in the conference in RBI (t-3rd), home runs (4th) and walks (t-2nd). He drove in 43 runs on the year, good for third in school history, and ranks sixth on the Mule single-season list in both walks (24) and home runs (6). He finished in the top five on the team in all but one major offensive category, including second with eight steals.

Sophomore Nick Kennedy led the Mules with a .373 batting average and was second in hits (53), tied for second in home runs (4) and third in RBI (30). Junior John Muha picked up a team-high 59 hits, the second-most in a season in school history, while batting .351 with 36 runs scored.

Beck finished the year batting .319 with four home runs, 17 RBI and 18 runs scored in only 21 games, and junior Joseph Vila finished second in the conference in triples (5), tied for the team lead in doubles (9) and became just the fourth player in school history to record at least 35 RBI and runs scored in the same season.

Sophomore John Scuderi hit .305 with 31 runs scored, while classmate Brett Rosen (6 doubles, 20 runs, 15-game hitting streak) and freshmen Nick Plinio (.290, 4 triples, 20 RBI, 21 runs) and Jimmy Cody (.290, 15 steals, 34 runs) were also contributors on offense.

Junior Rob Shannon led Mule pitchers with five wins and 47 strikeouts, and freshman Christian Ferlan became the first Mule hurler to win his first four decisions in a season since 1988. Junior Ryan Rechten tied for the CC lead and finished one save shy of the school record with seven to go along with 25 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched.

Junior Billy Rogers earned the first three wins of his career and struck out 34 batters, and classmate Tim Velys picked up two wins out of the bullpen. Freshman Phillip Balseca led the Mules with a 3.27 ERA and earned one win, and classmate Zach Hoffman finished second with a 3.52 ERA and one save.

Freshman Austin Cush finished second on the team with 16 appearances in his first season, picking up one win and one save. Classmates Nick Gies and Matthew Lawsky both earned wins in their debut seasons, and senior Mike Speroni pitched in eight games to move into sixth place in school history with 45 career appearances.