Baseball Wins Wild Home Opener

The Dorney Park rollercoaster that is visible from Cedarcreek Field might have been a more appropriate setting for the Muhlenberg baseball team's 2016 home opener.

 Friday, March 18, 2016 09:15 AM

The Mules (8-7) came back from six runs down to defeat Messiah, 12-11, on a home run by freshman Matt Riebesell in the bottom of the eighth.

Muhlenberg, which had lost five in a row - two by one run, two by two runs and one that they led going into the late innings - got exactly the type of win it needed in a wild game that featured 23 runs on 24 hits, including three home runs.

The Mules led 1-0 after only three batters, but this was not going to be an easy win. The Falcons (6-8) scored four in the third, three in the fourth and two in the fifth to open up a 9-3 lead.

Back-to-back singles by junior John Icaza and senior Andrew Rava to open the bottom of the fifth set the table for a big inning. After a walk, Riebesell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in a run. After two more runs came in on infield errors, junior Nick Lucas came up as a pinch-hitter and cranked the first pitch over the fence in left for a go-ahead grand slam. It was first career home run for Lucas.

Messiah reclaimed the lead with two runs in the top of the sixth. Rava led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and came around to score the tying run on a two-out hit by freshman Jon Capra.

The score was still 11-11 when the Falcons loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth. Junior Christopher Bunero came in and struck out the next two batters on six pitches to preserve the tie.

Riebesell  broke the tie with his first career home run two batters later.

Bunero finished off the game by striking out the side in the ninth to earn his second win of the season.

Icaza went 4-for-5 to raise his team-leading batting average to .466. His fifth-inning single was the 100th hit of his career. Rava had three hits and Riebesell drove in three runs.

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