Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
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The Muhlenberg baseball team proved that it’s not how you win, it’s if you win.

After beating Haverford at home on walkoff home runs each of the last two years, the Mules used a slightly less dramatic approach – scoring their last three runs on a forceout, failed pickoff and failed squeeze – to defeat the Fords, 6-5, in their first Centennial Conference game of
Tom McDonald
McDonald allowed two hits, walked none and struck out one. He worked around two Muhlenberg errors by getting a double play in the seventh and picking a runner off in the eighth.
the season.

“We’ve been hurting for a win, and we got it,” said senior Tom McDonald, who earned the win with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. Muhlenberg (4-9) had not won a game in 18 days, losing three games to other teams and several to the weather.

The Mules were really hurting 20 minutes into the game, as the Fords, who finished second in the CC playoffs last year, jumped on top with three runs in the top of the first. During the inning, McDonald was sent to the bullpen to warm up, but freshman Phil Cresta settled down and worked into the fifth.

Muhlenberg tied the game with three in the third. Sophomore Christian Conti scored all the way from first when senior A.J. Bettini’s bunt was thrown away. Senior Ryan Sassaman singled in Bettini, then scored on an infield error.

Haverford (8-4) loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth, but Cresta escaped with only one run scoring by striking out the Fords’ leadoff batter with one out. After giving up a two-out single in the fifth, he was lifted for McDonald.

“It was tough, because I was down there [in the bullpen] for a while,” said McDonald. “You have to know what you have to do, and that’s throw strikes and get outs. My curveball was working really well today.”

The Mules took the lead for good in the sixth. Junior Joe Carlo and sophomore John Kalis led off with singles. After a walk to Conti loaded the bases, Bettini hit into a force play at second, plating Carlo with the tying run. With Sassaman at bat, Bettini got picked off intentionally, and the pitcher’s throw to second bounced into center field, allowing Kalis to score.

Kalis brought in a key insurance run in the bottom of the eighth after walking, stealing second and going to third on a single by senior Matthew Block. On an attempted squeeze, Kalis scored when the Haverford catcher dropped the ball while trying to tag him.

Senior Eric Wolfer worked the ninth and gave up a run, but earned his first save of the season. Kalis ended the game with a nice running catch in right field.

Muhlenberg was outhit 12-8, but took advantage of six Haverford errors. According to McDonald, the Mules deserved a break today.

“That’s the way baseball is,” he said. “On Friday it could be Haverford [getting breaks], but today it was us.”

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Last updated March 27, 2007