Baseball 2013 Season Review

 

John Muha
Muha finished his career tied for seventh in CC history in hits. On the Mules' all-time lists, in addition to topping the chart in hits, he was second in walks (74), third in batting average (.375) and runs scored (130), fourth in doubles (32) and total bases (240), sixth in on-base percentage (.457), ninth in fielding percentage (.974), 11th in RBI (85) and 12th in stolen bases (29).
As its top player pursued a climb to the top of one of the all-time charts, the Muhlenberg baseball team pursued a climb up the Centennial Conference standings.

Both were successful.

Led by senior outfielder John Muha, who became the program’s all-time hits leader, the Mules went 20-20 overall and 7-11 in the CC, including two wins against playoff teams. The four-game improvement jumped Muhlenberg to seventh place in the CC following its last-place finish in 2012.

In reaching the 20-win mark for the fourth time in program history, the Mules had a team ERA of 5.21 – their lowest in 10 years – and set a school record for doubles in a season (84).

Muhlenberg made program history on its Spring Break trip to Florida when it won consecutive games against Martin Luther (16-2), Lebanon Valley (12-2) and Geneva (11-2). It was the first time ever that the Mules scored in double digits and allowed two or fewer runs in three straight games.

The last game of the trip produced one of two incredible finishes. Trailing 6-2 against a Penn State Behrend team that was receiving votes in the D3baseball.com poll and had been invited to a postseason tournament each of the previous five years, the Mules opened the bottom of the ninth with seven consecutive singles before a sacrifice fly capped the 7-6 comeback win.

About a month later, Muhlenberg found itself in a 5-1 hole as it came to bat in the bottom of the ninth in the second game of a doubleheader against eventual CC champion Franklin & Marshall. After three hits, a hit batter and two errors, junior Brett Rosen delivered a pinch-hit walkoff three-run homer to give the Mules a 7-5 win.

Muha started the winning rally in the Penn State Behrend game and was a catalyst for the offense all season. The unanimous All-CC selection and all-region pick kept his average in the high .400s all year before finishing at a CC-leading .408. He set school records for hits in a season (69) and career (194) and also tied the marks for hits in a game (6 vs. Penn State Brandywine) and longest hitting streak (24 games, spanning two seasons).

Rob Shannon
For his career, Shannon picked off 28 runners and finished in the top 15 on Muhlenberg's all-time lists in appearances (seventh with 46), innings pitched (eighth with 201) and strikeouts (13th with 121).
Fellow senior outfielder Joseph Vila also made his mark on the record books. Following a season in which he hit .315 with three home runs and a team-leading 33 RBI, Vila was the program’s all-time leader with 60 career extra-base hits. He fell just two RBI short of tying the career record of 113.

Rounding out the starting outfield was sophomore Jimmy Cody, who hit .310 with 23 RBI. Muha (13), Vila (12) and Cody (12) were the first trio of Mules to reach double figures in stolen bases in 10 years. Junior Tyler Latrenta started 12 games in the outfield and hit .333.

Junior Nick Kennedy shifted across the infield to start at first base and hit .329 with 29 RBI. He reached the 100-hit mark in just his second full season and belted 13 doubles, combining with Vila (15) and Muha (10) to give Muhlenberg three players with double figures in doubles for the first time ever.

Sophomores Kurt Johnson (.299, 21 RBI) and Danny Usewick and junior John Scuderi rounded out the starting infield.

Joseph Vila
Vila was one of only four players in team history to reach double figures in career doubles (35), triples (13) and home runs (12).
Rosen hit .330 with 29 RBI in his best offensive season while also setting a school record by fielding 178 chances behind the plate without making an error.

Sophomore Conor McDermott backed up Rosen at catcher, while senior Jimmy Aramanda, junior Max Litvak and sophomore Nick Plinio contributed to the offense off the bench and as designated hitters. Litvak tied the school record of six hits in a game in a 22-11 win against Keuka.

The improved mound corps was led by senior Rob Shannon and sophomore Matthew Lawsky at the front end and senior Ryan Rechten at the back.

Shannon started a team-high 11 games, going 2-5 with a 4.04 ERA and striking out 45 in 69 innings. Lawsky was 3-2 with a team-best 3.18 ERA, striking out 38 batters. Rechten was 3-2 with a 3.06 ERA and saved five games, tying the school record of 13 career saves.

Sophomore Nick Gies had a breakout season, compiling a record of 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA and holding opponents to a .240 batting average. He earned one of his wins with 5 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief in a 9-6 victory against Haverford, at the time ranked 23rd in Division III.

Sophomores Christian Ferlan and David Anderson started a total of 13 games, with seniors Tim Velys and Billy Rogers and sophomores Phillip Balseca and Austin Cush handling middle relief.

Seniors Rechten (second with 57), Velys (third with 50) and Rogers (seventh with 46) all finished their careers ranked among the program’s all-time leaders in appearances.