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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, April 26, 2008 - page 2

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baseball sweep completes unexpected
run to playoffs

When Danny Asip and Joe Carlo first met as high school seniors on football recruiting trips to Muhlenberg, little could they have imagined that they would end their careers by leading the Mule baseball team to the playoffs.

That scenario would have been hard to predict even 12 months ago, when Muhlenberg finished a 9-25, eighth-place season. But the Mules completed a remarkable turnaround
John Kalis
Junior John Kalis had two hits, including a double, in the second game, scoring two runs and throwing out a Washington runner at home from left field.
by sweeping Washington, 4-3 and 5-3, to earn the fourth and final Centennial Conference playoff berth.

Muhlenberg had designs on the third seed for the CC playoffs, but needed a sweep combined with a Johns Hopkins sweep of Haverford. The latter twinbill ended in a split, meaning the Mules (20-17, 11-7) had to happily settle for the fourth seed and a trip to Hopkins for the start of the double-elimination CC tournament on Friday.

“It’s huge,” said Asip, who was honored along with Carlo, senior pitcher Paul Faith and graduating manager Dom D’Angelo in between Muhlenberg’s last home games of the season. “It’s great to know that this year we surpassed everyone’s expectations. We knew we had talent but we didn’t know how the young players would mature.”

Two of those young stars were at the forefront of the Game 1 win, adding to their incredible record seasons.

Sophomore Phil Cresta pitched a six-hitter with seven strikeouts to tie a school record with his eighth win of the season. He also broke the school record for consecutive scoreless innings, extending his streak to 24 2/3 innings before the Shoremen (7-21, 3-15) touched him up for three runs in the fifth.

“It’s been really fun to catch him; he has such good command,” said Asip. “There have been games where I feel I haven’t moved at all, he hits his spots so well. He didn’t have all his stuff today, but that shows what kind of competitor he is.”

After Washington tied the score with the three-run fifth, junior Christian Conti promptly untied it by belting an opposite-field home run, just out of the reach of the leaping right fielder, with one out in the bottom of the inning. It was Conti’s 10th home run of the season, breaking a school record that had stood since 1980.

Conti completed his cycle for the day with a single, double and triple in the second game, the single tying the score at 2-2 in the third and the triple knocking in an insurance run in the fifth, helping the Mules reach the 20-win mark for just the third time in program history.

The two seniors in the starting lineup played a big role in the nightcap, with Carlo putting the Mules ahead to stay with a two-run double in the third and Asip throwing out the potential tying run on a stolen base attempt in the fifth.

“They’re a great bunch of guys who will be missed,” said junior Joseph Barrese, who earned his fourth save by pitching the last three innings of Game 2, of the seniors. “They lead by example on and off the field. We wanted to end it on a good note for them.”
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