Although it did not get a chance to make a playoff run, the 2005
Muhlenberg baseball team had plenty of runs in it. The Mules ranked among
the Division III leaders and shattered the school record for a 20-game
season by averaging 8.59 runs per game.
Kessler drove in a career-high 20 runs, stole seven
bases and made only one error as a senior. He finished with a career
batting average of .321 and ranked eighth on Muhlenbergs all-time
list with 132 hits.
The team boasted an offensive attack that was dangerous up and down the
lineup. Of the nine players with the most at-bats, eight hit between .285
and .336. The lone exception led the team in runs scored with 32.
Muhlenberg also set school records for extra-base hits (102) and triples
in a season (24) and hits in a game (27 in a 23-2 win at Dickinson).
Of course, offense is only one facet of the game, and the Mules did not
enjoy such great success with their pitching or defense. They finished
with a winning record, 17-15, but were only 8-10 in the Centennial
Conference and were three games out of the final playoff berth.
Burkhart compiled a 3-1 record as a senior to earn
All-CC honorable mention for the second time and finish with a career mark
of 12-7. The Mules all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings
(9.2), he whiffed 203 batters, becoming the eighth pitcher in CC history
to fan 200 in a career.
Muhlenberg set the tone for its high-scoring season on its spring trip to
Arizona, going 4-3 and averaging more than 11 runs per game. The Mules won
their first six games back East, starting 2-0 in the CC for the first time
ever and recording their first 10-3 start since 1969.
Three Muhlenberg seniors achieved career milestones during the season:
Gregg Burkhart became the programs all-time strikeout leader,
and C.J. Kessler and Matthew Long joined the 100-hit club.
Long reached the milestone in style, belting a home run for hit No. 100.
Sophomore catcher A.J. Bettini, in his first year as a starter, won
the CC batting title by hitting .436 in league games. He hit .333 with 24
RBI overall and did a solid job behind the plate, earning All-CC
Long ended his career fourth in team history in doubles
(28), sixth in on-base percentage (.440) and extra-base hits (42), seventh
in runs scored (93) and ninth in RBI (79).
Freshman Joe Carlo led all regulars with a .336 batting average.
Junior Matt Tobia had a breakout season, hitting .317 with team
highs of five home runs and 30 RBI. He tied a school record by homering in
three straight games, including a 10th-inning walkoff against Haverford.
Long overcame a slow start to finish with a .287 batting average and 29
RBI. He hit two home runs in an 8-7 win at Johns Hopkins on the
next-to-last day of the season.
Senior Aaron Regensburg led the staff in wins with a 4-3 record,
becoming the sixth Mule hurler to win 15 games in a career. Sophomore
Jason Bonder won three games and struck out 14 batters the
most by a Muhlenberg pitcher since 1987 against Lake Erie. Sophomore
Eric Wolfer went 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA, mostly in a relief role.