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Muhlenberg College

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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Basketball Softball

baseball marks return home
with win over local rival

Rob Shannon
Sophomore Rob Shannon struck out two batters and stranded the potential game-tying run at second to pick up the first save of his career.
While baseball was meant for the warmth and sunshine of the summer, senior Adam Scarzafava of the Muhlenberg baseball team said he actually cracked a small smile when it started to sleet during the ninth inning of the Mules’ game against Moravian.

The reason, he said, was because it meant the team was back north and had the opportunity to start fresh after struggling during its Spring Break trip in Florida.

Muhlenberg did just that as it celebrated its homecoming by snapping a 10-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over a Greyhound team that had received votes in the top 25.

“It’s good to be home,” Scarzafava said. “That was a big win over a good team. This is a huge momentum shift for us and hopefully the start of a big turnaround.

"The guys never got down while were in Florida, and it’s great to see everybody with the attitude that we can turn it around right now.”

The win also gives Muhlenberg a 7-3 lead in the Matte Award competition, which goes to the school with the better head-to-head record in all sports.

The Mules (3-11-1) struck first when freshman Max Litvak singled in the bottom of the second and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third when sophomore Joseph Vila grounded out to short.

Then freshman John Scuderi took an outside pitch through the hole between first and second to bring Litvak home.

Scuderi went to third on a Bobby Spindler single and scored when the Moravian pitcher bounced a breaking ball over the backstop to put the Mules ahead, 2-0.

Staked to the early lead, Muhlenberg’s pitchers appeared right at home on the mound.

Senior Chris Harper faced one over the minimum as he worked the second and third innings, and sophomore Billy Rogers allowed two hits in two innings of scoreless work.

Looking for some insurance, the Mules struck again in the seventh thanks to some familiar faces.
John Scuderi
With his two RBI against the Greyhounds, Scuderi is now tied for the team lead with five on the season.

Litvak reached on a fielder’s choice and moved from first to third on Vila’s single to the left-center gap.

One batter later, Scuderi lofted a deep fly ball down the right field line that drifted foul. But it was caught by the Greyhound outfielder and Litvak tagged up on the play.

The throw was on target, but the Mule freshman slid to the back of home plate and avoided the catcher’s sweep tag as Muhlenberg’s dugout erupted in cheers.

Moravian (7-4) responded with a pair of runs in the eighth, before Scarzafava got the call with two outs and a runner on first.

The sidearm reliever made the most of his brief appearance as he jammed a Moravian batter with an inside fastball to induce a weak groundout. That stopped the Greyhound rally and kept Muhlenberg in front.

“It is kind of strange in that I have to sit there and wait for the situation to dictate if I’m going to come in and how long I’ll be in for,” Scarzafava said. “But the way I look at it is that I have to do my job no matter what the situation is. It’s my responsibility to throw strikes and get outs, and it worked out real well today.”

Muhlenberg’s pitching staff held a Greyhound offense that had averaged 7.5 runs per game to its lowest output of the season. The Mule pitchers also stranded 11 Moravian base runners, including five at third, as they held a team to two runs or less for the second time this season.

And while Muhlenberg may have suffered some bumps early, Scarzafava said he has seen plenty of positives and he hopes the win over their local rival was just what the Mules needed to get rolling.

"Pitching was a huge question mark coming into this season, but we’ve worked real hard and we take a lot of pride in how we’ve performed this year,” he said. “Our hitting might be getting off to a little bit of a slow start, but we know the bats are going to come around.

"If we just keep doing our jobs on the mound then we’ll be fine.”
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