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Saturday, March 26, 2011 - page 3

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Ninth-inning rally helps baseball
sail past Shoremen

Track and Field Braves Elements

The Muhlenberg track and field teams opened their outdoor season in weather that was more suited to staying indoors.

The cold weather and wind at Susquehanna's Jim Taylor Invitational affected the times and caused some Mules to scratch from their races, but the team had some noteworthy performances.

Sophomore Samantha Mayden landed in fifth place on the program's all-time performance list in the 5,000, placing fourth in 18:12.81, a solid time considering the conditions. Two freshmen on the women's team built on their excellent indoor seasons, with Erin Saucier tying for second on the performance list in the pole vault and Stephanie Carnevale placing in the top eight in the high hurdles, triple jump and 4x100.

Junior Kimberlee Yalango had the highest finish for the women, coming in second in the 800. Also claiming the runner-up spot was the men's 4x100-meter relay team of freshmen Darnell Davis and Andrew Onimus, sophomore Isaiah Vaughn and junior Peter Rice. Vaughn was third in the 100.

Junior David Kurtis and freshman Jeffrey Phillips both placed in the top six in the intermediate hurdles.
Click here for Muhlenberg placewinners.
Click here for complete results.

After watching starting pitcher Jason Daniels take the loss after not allowing an earned run in their Centennial Conference opener, the members of the Muhlenberg baseball team got together for a little pep talk before game two of their doubleheader at Washington.

And according to freshman Max Litvak, the message was simple. The Mules, who had been held to three or fewer runs in 13 games, had to start producing on offense or else they would continue to squander solid outings and continue to come up short.

John Scuderi
Scuderi went a sizzling 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in game two.
"The second game I think everyone finally got sick of losing," Litvak said. "We pretty much said we need to start hitting the ball right now, or we're just going to keep on sliding."

And hit they did. Muhlenberg (4-16-1, 1-1) made up for the lack of offense in its 1-0 loss in the opener by pounding out a season-high 17 hits in game two. The Mules also tied their season-high for runs scored as they used a big ninth-inning rally to beat Washington, 9-6.

The Mules struck first when junior Nick Busillo led off the second inning with a double. He then scored when freshman John Scuderi singled to right center.

The very next inning, Muhlenberg added three more runs as senior Clint Lynch singled and classmate Joseph DiCecilia doubled to start the inning. Lynch then scored on a groundout and DiCecilia came home on a Litvak single. Finally, Litvak scored on Scuderi's single to give the Mules a 4-0 lead.

The Shoremen (10-7, 1-1) responded with four of their own before Muhlenberg retook the lead when Scuderi scored on Lynch's RBI single in the eighth.

That lead was short-lived, however, as Washington used a walk and a pair of errors to jump back in front, 6-5.

But instead of panicking, Litvak said the Mules wanted to stay patient. After picking up 13 hits in the first eight innings, he said they knew they could score if they just kept the same approach at the plate.

"We gave up those runs, but we felt like we could come back," Litvak said. "We had been hitting the ball well all game and felt like we could come back and win it."

With one out, Litvak doubled to left center to start the rally. He advanced to third on sophomore Joseph Vila's single, then scored the tying run when freshman Nick Gazzillo singled to right.

Scuderi loaded the bases with Muhlenberg's fourth consecutive hit before senior Bobby Spindler reached on a fielding error that plated both Vila and Gazzillo to put the Mules up 8-6. Scuderi then scored on senior Jeff Puklin's RBI groundout to cap the inning.

Daniels took the mound in the ninth and induced a popup and groundball double play to earn the second save of his career.

Litvak finished with two hits, two runs and an RBI in the second game, while sophomore John Muha collected three hits on the day.

In the opener, Daniels fired six innings of four-hit ball with four strikeouts and no earned runs. The Shoremen's lone run scored on an error in the first.

While the Mules obviously wanted a sweep, Litvak will gladly head back to Allentown with the split, especially since he said the offensive outburst has given the Mule hitters some new-found confidence.

"It's been really frustrating playing some great teams and coming up short," Litvak said. "We know we have the talent; we just haven't really had the results. So to be able to start the conference season with a big win, especially the way that we won, is a great thing for this team. Now we want to keep the ball rolling."
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2

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