Baseball Stuns Behrend with 5-Run Ninth

Saturday, March 9, 2013 - page 3

The Muhlenberg baseball team could have gone down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth and embarked on its 20-hour bus ride back to Allentown content with a 5-3 Spring Break trip to Florida and a close loss to a very good team in its final game.

That ride will seem a lot shorter after what the Mules did instead.

Billy Rogers
Senior Billy Rogers pitched the final two innings in relief to earn his first win of the season.
Held to one hit between the second and eighth innings, Muhlenberg exploded for seven consecutive singles to start the bottom of the ninth. And when sophomore Kurt Johnson delivered a sacrifice fly that brought home sophomore pinch-runner Chris Flynn, the Mules had a stunning 7-6 win against a Penn State Behrend team that received three votes in the poll this week and has been invited to a postseason tournament each of the last five years.

The win brought the Mules home with an 8-3 record and a 6-2 mark in Florida. It was the first time they came back from four runs down to win in the bottom of the ninth since 2009.

“It was really something special,” said junior Brett Rosen. “Everyone was just trying to pass it on to the next hitter.”

The top three hitters in the lineup – senior John Muha, sophomore Jimmy Cody and junior Nick Kennedy – started the rally with three straight singles. The trio had also gotten three straight hits to start the first, producing a run, but after that, other than an unearned run in the fifth the Muhlenberg offense was quiet until the ninth.

Senior Joseph Vila made it 6-4 with a two-run single, and another hit by sophomore Nick Plinio reloaded the bases. Flynn ran for Plinio.

The Lions (5-3) then made a pitching change, but junior John Scuderi greeted the new hurler with a hard single up the middle to bring the Mules to within a run.

That brought up Rosen. “I swung at what would have been ball four,” he recalled. “With a full count, I was looking for a fastball, and I got one on the outside corner and went with it.”

The single to right plated Vila with the tying run, and after Johnson lifted a fly ball to center, Flynn slid over the tag at home plate to give Muhlenberg the win.

Trailing 2-1 after five, Behrend used two two-run homers to build its 6-2 lead. But in the end, it was the Mules who won out by grouping together singles.

“It was definitely a great way to finish off the trip,” said Rosen. “This trip is good for team chemistry. We feel like we’re coming back to campus with a good record and a stronger team as a result of the trip.”
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