COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Two runs on three hits in the top of the ninth inning broke a tied score and delivered Franklin & Marshall's baseball team a 5-3 victory over Centennial Conference (CC)-leading Ursinus on Wednesday afternoon.
The road win improved the Diplomats to 16-10-1, 4-2-1 CC while the Bears dropped to 17-6, 5-2 CC.
Knotted at 3-3 in the ninth, Christopher Vincent and Cory Hecht led off with back-to-back singles to open the frame. A Danny Blugis sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, while Vincent scored on the play due to a throwing error from Ursinus' pitcher. Later in the frame, Casey Bulik followed with a clutch two-out double that allowed Blugis to cross home plate and pad the F&M advantage.
Mike Androconis entered in the ninth and recorded his first career save after striking out the side, with all three batters going down swinging.
F&M took a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first when first baseman David Iacobucci homered to left field, scoring Justin Cavegn who reached on an infield error. The two-run shot marked the 11th homer of Iacobucci's career, placing him in a tie for second place in Diplomats' career history.
Blugis began the second inning with a single up the middle and eventually scored on a pair of wild pitched that were bookended by a groundout to third, as F&M jumped ahead at 3-0.
The Bears climbed back into the game with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to tie the score, before the Diplomats' two-run ninth put F&M ahead for good.
Starter Sam Ackerman tossed seven innings, allowed two earned on six hits and struck out 10 batters. Blugis (1-0), who started the game at catcher, took the mound in the eighth to toss a scoreless frame and earn the win. Bears' starter David Drea lasted just 4 1/3 innings, surrendering two earned on six hits.
Vincent and Bulik both went 2-for-4 as F&M combined for nine hits, compared to eight from Ursinus. Iacobucci drove in a pair, while Blugis scored twice. Shortstop Carter Usowski and leftfielder Alex Mumme led the Ursinus charge with 2-for-3 efforts.
CC competition continues on Friday when the Bears head to Lancaster for a 3:30 p.m. showdown.