Baseball Splits with Washington in First CC Games

Saturday, March 30, 2013 - page 4

A combination of balks and hit batsmen made for a strange pair of ninth innings in the Muhlenberg baseball team’s Centennial Conference-opening doubleheader at Washington.

Phillip Balseca
Balseca is the third different Muhlenberg pitcher to earn a save this season.
The Mules (12-8, 1-1) split the two games, winning the opener, 10-4, before falling in the nightcap, 3-2, when the Shoremen (10-10, 1-1) scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a walk and three hit batters.

Muhlenberg trailed 4-3 in the opener before scoring seven runs over the final four innings. Consecutive sixth-inning singles by junior John Scuderi and sophomores Kurt Johnson and Danny Usewick tied the score, and a forceout put the Mules ahead, 5-4.

In the seventh, senior Joseph Vila led off with a double and scored on a one-out single by junior Nick Kennedy to give Muhlenberg a two-run lead.

Washington got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but sophomore Phillip Balseca came on in relief to get a fly ball, ending the inning. The righty then pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth to earn his first career save.

The Mules put the game away with four runs in the top of the ninth, an inning that featured back-to-back hit batters and a bases-loaded balk. Sophomore Nick Plinio led off the inning with a double, and senior John Muha capped the rally with a two-run double, his second two-bagger of the game.

Muha, Vila, Plinio, Kennedy, Johnson, Usewick and junior Tyler Latrenta all had two hits to lead a 15-hit attack. Senior Rob Shannon pitched into the seventh to earn the win.

Muhlenberg got strong starting pitching in the second game, but not the same offensive punch. Despite managing only five hits and two unearned runs, the Mules led 2-1 through seven because of the pitching of sophomore Matthew Lawsky, who allowed only five hits and no earned runs while striking out six.

The Shoremen tied the score in the bottom of the eighth before winning on a walkoff hit by pitch. A balk helped Muhlenberg get the potential winning run in scoring position in the top of the ninth, but it was stranded at third.

Kennedy was hit by pitch twice in the second game and three times in the doubleheader. He has been plunked 10 times this season, one fewer than his painful total from last year.
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2