Baseball Stays "Red Hot" To Beat Albright

Thursday, March 22, 2012
 

Women’s basketball ranking

On the way to its midweek game at Albright, the Muhlenberg baseball team got a look at the famous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, which was parked in a lot near Albright’s campus.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile A few hours later, the Mules left town on an even better ride: the Winnermobile. Muhlenberg jumped ahead early, did not allow the Lions to “ketch up” and tacked on more than enough late runs to relish a 16-3 win.

Rob Shannon
Shannon worked 6.1 innings with two pickoffs and only one walk to pick up his fourth win of the year. He's picked off six base runners this season.

The victory moves the Mules to 14-4 on the year. It’s the first time they are 10 games over .500 since the 2003 season. But senior Nick Busillo was more impressed by the number three, as in three more wins than last season.

“What’s crazy is that we only won 11 games all of last season, and we’ve already won 14 this year,” said Busillo, who added he likes mustard on his hot dogs. “We’re getting contributions from up and down the lineup, and our pitchers are throwing great. Everything is working well right now.”

Showing the potency of the entire order, No. 8 hitter Brett Rosen led off the third with a triple that fell just inside the right field line and rolled to the fence. He scored on a Jimmy Cody single, and Busillo drove in Cody with a sacrifice fly.

Muhlenberg, which has six starters batting .300 or better, added two more runs in the fourth on RBI singles from Rosen and junior John Muha. The four-run lead would be more than enough for starting pitcher Rob Shannon and three relievers, who combined to surrender just six hits and strike out six on the afternoon.

“Rob has been pitching great this year,” Busillo said. “Whenever he’s on the mound, we know he’s not going to give up much, so we just need to get a few runs to win. Of course it helps when we can still score a lot like we did today. He has been great this season.”

After Albright got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, Busillo almost single-handedly manufactured Muhlenberg’s response in the fifth. The biggest player on the team, he beat out an infield single to third to start the inning. Then he drew a pickoff attempt that bounced past the bag and rolled just short of the out-of-play line. Busillo got on his horse and made it all the way to third.

Sophomore John Scuderi drove him in with a sacrifice fly to deep left center, one of four for the Mules on the day. Scuderi also added a double and triple and scored two runs.

The Lions tacked on one more run in the seventh before the Mules exploded for four runs in the eighth and seven in the ninth to leave no doubt.

The big hit in the eighth was a bases-loaded, 2-RBI single from freshman Chris Manfredonia that went just under a leaping Rosen, who was leading off of first. Then sophomore Nick Kennedy put the final squeeze of mustard on the dog with a three-run, no-doubt home run that reached the street 30 feet beyond the left field fence.

Nick Kennedy
Kennedy’s second home run of the season was his third hit of the day. He’s had three hits in three of the last four games, and four straight multiple-hit outings.
Freshman Nick Plinio picked up three hits and scored three times, and Rosen scored a game-high four runs. Freshman Austin Cush struck out both batters he faced.

It was the 10th time the Mules reached double figures in runs this season after doing it only three times all last year. And the reason for all the success, Busillo said, is the way the squad has bought into playing as a unit.

Everyone does their job without complaining and is ready to step up and make a play when needed. And that, he said, is the perfect recipe for some tasty success.

“I could not have asked for a better start to my senior season,” Busillo said. “We’re playing so great as a team, and everyone is picking everybody else up. This is some of the most fun I’ve had on the baseball field, and it feels great. But we’re nowhere near where we want to be, so we need to keep coming out every day and keeping playing like we have been.”
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