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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

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Baseball wins on walkoff single

Maybe his last name is short for Rise-to-the-occasion-ner.

Senior Edward Risener came through after the batter in front of him was walked intentionally, singling in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give the
Dan Fisher
Fisher slides in with the winning run …
Muhlenberg baseball team a dramatic 6-5 win against Lebanon Valley in its home opener.

“It was a huge win for us,” said Risener. “We came off a Florida trip where we lost [two] games by one run.”

It was almost another heartbreaking loss. The Mules (4-6) took a 4-3 lead into the top of the ninth with junior Phil Cresta cruising. He retired 14 straight batters, half of them by strikeout, heading into the final inning. But the first two batters in the ninth doubled and homered, and all of a sudden it was the Dutchmen who were three outs from a win.

Senior Eric Hammond led off the bottom of the ninth with a single up the middle. With Lebanon Valley (4-6) playing
Edward Risener
… touching off a celebration around Risener (center) at first.
for a bunt, junior Dan Fisher poked the ball down the left-field line for a double, putting the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

Junior Eric Pomroy, whose RBI double had given Muhlenberg a 4-3 lead in the seventh, drove in Hammond with a sacrifice fly. That brought up reigning Centennial Conference player of the year Christian Conti, and with the game on the line the Dutchmen decided to walk him intentionally for the second time and take their chances with Risener.

“I’m expecting it because of the year he had last year,” said Risener. “It’s not added pressure; I just have to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Risener made the strategy backfire when he looped the first pitch into shallow left, bringing in Fisher with the winning run.

“They were throwing me a lot of off-speed pitches all game, so I was looking for it,” Risener commented. “I got a slider, and it was actually the softest ball I hit all day.”

Senior Matthew Ordog earned his first win of the season, taking over in the ninth and striking out the last two batters he faced with a runner on third. Cresta finished with 10 strikeouts.

The offense also had a big day after getting shut out in its last two Florida games. The Mules pounded out 13 hits, including six doubles. Hammond and Fisher each went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.

“We’re starting to hit again,” said Risener. “We went through a little drought, but we came out of it today.”
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