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Muhlenberg College

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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Softball, men’s tennis, women’s golf


Put Phil Cresta on a bus, and he gets nearly unhittable.

For the second time in four days, and the third time the season, the sophomore
Dan Fisher
Sophomore Dan Fisher led off the seven-run inning with a walk and capped it with an RBI single.
pitched a gem in a Centennial Conference road game, and the Muhlenberg baseball team won the first game of an important series.

Cresta allowed just two singles over seven innings as the Mules blanked Ursinus, 16-0, for their fifth straight win. Combined with Gettysburg’s 18-4 loss to Franklin & Marshall, the victory gave Muhlenberg (17-13, 8-5) a two-game lead for the fourth and final playoff spot with five games remaining.

The shutout was the biggest for the Mules since a 24-0 whitewashing of Allentown (now known as DeSales) in 1986 and ended their 14-game losing streak in regular-season games at Ursinus.

Following Cresta’s starts at Haverford and Gettysburg, his effort at Ursinus gave him these totals in road games: 22 2/3 innings pitched, 10 hits, one run, 15 strikeouts and a 0.40 ERA. In four home starts, Cresta has a 7.62 ERA.

Cresta took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and earned his sixth win of the season only three days after his fifth, a 62-pitch, three-hit shutout of Gettysburg.

“I was a little surprised [at Cresta pitching on short rest], but not really,” said sophomore Eric Pomroy, who had three hits. “Our pitchers do a lot of bullpen work, so 62 pitches is just like extended midweek bullpen. He’s a workhorse for us, and he’s never going to turn down the ball.”

Although the final score suggests otherwise, Muhlenberg needed Cresta to be on top of his game, at least at the start. Blanked on three hits for the first four innings, the Mules broke the game wide open with a seven-run fifth that featured run-scoring extra-base hits by junior John Kalis (two-run triple) and freshman Bobby Spindler (RBI double).

“Once we got through the lineup a couple of times we adjusted to their pitcher, and our bats came alive,” said Pomroy, who drove in the first run of the game.

Muhlenberg took advantage of poor Ursinus fielding to plate three runs in the seventh and six more in the eighth – their 18th inning this season with five or more runs.

Senior Joe Carlo went 4-for-5, increasing his career hit total to 141. Junior Edward Risener drove in three runs to tie classmate Christian Conti for the team lead with a school-record 46 RBI. Conti, for his part, tied the school record for runs scored in a season with 43.

The 16 runs in the game raised the Mules’ season total to 280 – the second-highest total in team history. They came into the game ranked 24th in Division III in scoring and raised their average to 9.3 runs per game, which is a credit to the batters and the pitchers, according to Pomroy.

“The last few years Muhlenberg baseball has been known for its hitting, but the pitching has really shown up this year,” he explained. “It gives the offense a more relaxed feeling, knowing we don’t have to score 20 runs to win. We really have the confidence now.”
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