Shoremen Top Muhlenberg, 9-5, in Game One to Clinch Spot
ALLENTOWN, PA - Visiting Washington College secured its spot in the Centennial Conference Baseball Tournament for the first time by scoring four times in the top of the ninth inning of game one to snap a 5-5 tie en route to a 9-5 win over host Muhlenberg College in a Centennial Conference baseball double-header on Saturday afternoon at Cedarcreek Field. The Mules would rally to capture game two by scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, 8-7. The Shoremen are now 16-13 overall and finishes the regular season in the Centennial with a 10-8 mark, while Mules are 16-18 and 9-9 respectively. The Shoremen will be in a conference tournament for the first time since the 1984 Middle Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament.
Washington is the four seed and will travel to top seed and Division III's top-ranked Johns Hopkins on Friday, April 30 in Baltimore in the first round of the baseball championships. Third seed Swarthmore will travel to second seed Haverford, which will also be on April 30. It is a double elimination tournament with the winner of the tournament gaining an automatic spot in the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships.
In the opener, Washington and Muhlenberg were tied 5-5 entering the ninth inning. Freshman Sean Connole (Mt. Airy, MD/St. John's Catholic) led off the top of the frame with a single to left field. Connole would score on a single up the middle off the bat of sophomore Ryan Normoyle (Mount Laurel, NJ/Lenape) to give WC a 6-5 lead. Freshman Ryan Mulhearn (Nazareth, PA/Nazareth Area) singled in senior Matt Boucher (Alexandria, VA/Bishop Ireton) to push the lead to 7-5. Normoyle would score on an RBI double by freshman Kyle Aldrich (Warren, NJ/Watchung Hills Regional) to increase the lead to three runs at 8-5. Freshman Tyler Cotterell (Lincroft, NJ/Middletown South) chased in Mulhearn on a sacrifice fly to make it 9-5 and cap the scoring for the frame. In the bottom of the inning, the Mules could only muster a one-out single and senior pitcher Chris Keiper (Toms River, NJ/Monsignor Donovan) struck out Eric Pomroy to end the game and clinch the spot in the tournament for the Shoremen.
Washington took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI double by Mulhearn that plated a pair of runners, but Muhlenberg evened the score at 2-2 in the bottom half of the first on an RBI double by John Muha and an RBI single by Joseph DiCecilia. WC scored a single run in each the second and third innings on a single by sophomore Ben Jardot (McLean, VA/Flint Hill School) in the second and a single by Aldrich in the third that scored Normoyle. The Mules cut it to 4-3 in the bottom of the third on a Muha single that chased in Dan Fisher, who led off the frame with a triple. Washington increased its lead to 5-3 in the fifth when Normoyle scored on a groundout.
Muhlenberg scored twice in the sixth to level the score at 5-5 on singles by Eli Branzburg and Jimmy Aramanda. The score would stay that way until the ninth inning.
For the Shoremen in game one, Boucher went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and Connole was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a walk. Normoyle scored three times and added two hits, while Aldrich and Muhlhearn each had three RBI and two hits. Jardot chalked up two hits and added an RBI. On the mound, Keiper got the victory and improves to 3-2. He tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two hits and striking out four. Starting hurler, senior Chris Smith (Catonsville, MD/Catonsville) went 5.1 innings and punched out three.
Fisher went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, while DiCecilia went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI for the Mules. Muha had two hits and two RBI for the hosts. Pitching wise, Jason Daniels took the loss and falls to 4-3 as he pitched the last three innings for the hosts.
In game two, Washigton turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead with a four-run third inning. Freshman Joe Willis (Mullica Hill, NJ/Kingsway Regional) knotted the game on a wild pitch at 1-1. Senior Brian Kramer (Fairfax, VA/W.T. Woodson) scored on a bases loaded walk off the bat of Boucher to make it 2-1. Mulhearn scored Connole on a sac fly to make it 3-1 and Aldrich drove in sophomore John Rolewicz (Bear, DE/Salesianum) on a single. to push the lead to 4-1 and close the scoring for the top of the third.
Washington held a 5-2 lead when Muhlenberg scored three times to even the score at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh. Jeff Puklin scored on an RBI hit by Pomroy to cut the deficit to 5-3. Muha scored on a fielder's choice to reduce Washington's lead to 5-4 and the Mules tied it when Clint Lynch singled in Pomroy.
In the top of the eighth, Mulhearn hit a two-run single through the left side to score Rolewicz and Boucher to give the Shoremen the lead back at 7-5.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Mules scored three runs to gain the walk-off win. Brian Beck with one out hit a two-run single to that scored Muha and Pomroy to even the game at 7-7. With two outs in the inning, Aramanda worked out a bases loaded walk to score Beck for the walk-off run and give Muhlenberg the 8-7 victory.
Beck, DiCecilia and Lynch all had two hits in the win for Muhlenberg in game two with Beck driving in three runners. Muha and Pomroy both scored twice for the Mules in the game. On the mound, Phil Cresta got the win and improves to 5-3 as he tossed the final three innings.
For WC, Kramer recorded a career-high four hits and scored a run. Cotterell and Willis each had two hits apiece with Cotterell netting an RBI and Willis scoring a run. Rolewicz scored twice for Washington. Pitching wise, junior Paul McMannis (Arbutus, MD/Lansdowne) took the loss and falls to 0-3.
The Shoremen are scheduled to play their home finale against St. Mary's (MD) tomorrow at 1 p.m.