LANCASTER, Pa. - Franklin & Marshall came back after a tough extra-inning loss in game one to secure a split with Muhlenberg on Saturday afternoon in Centennial Conference (CC) softball action. The Diplomats moved to 7-13, 5-3 CC, while the Mules are now 7-11, 3-1.
F&M starter Izzy Schaefer started the opener with four scoreless innings, scattering six hits. Taylor Long turned the scoreless start in the Diplomats' favor in the bottom of the fourth, lifting a high fly ball over the left field fence to give the hosts a 1-0 edge.
The F&M lead was short-lived as Muhlenberg scored via a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth to make the score 1-1. Schaefer held the Mules to just one, working out of a bases-loaded jam.
The Diplomats threatened in the sixth and seventh, pushing runners into scoring position in both frames, but were unable to capitalize. Fortunately for F&M, Schaefer continued to hold the Mules at bay, forcing extra innings.
Muhlenberg finally broke through in the top of the eighth, stringing together eight hits and scoring seven runs to take an 8-1 lead. An RBI double from Katie Wenger in the home half cut the lead, but it wasn't enough as the Mules took game one by an 8-2 score.
Long and Wenger both went 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead the offense.
Schaefer (5-7) took the loss for F&M, giving up six earned in eight innings pitched.
Long picked up where she left off in game two, crushing a solo shot to left that gave the Diplomats a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The homer was Long's second of the day and third for the season.
An unearned run for the Mules evened the score in the top of the second, but Erin Russell led an immediate response in the bottom of the inning, hammering a two-RBI double to center field that scored Kelly Van O'Linda and Christine Miles.
F&M was back in business in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three more to go up 6-1. Ryan Correa reached base on an error, eventually scoring after Miles singled and Van O'Linda sent a laser down the third-base line that was good for two bases and an RBI. Russell added two more RBIs in the next at-bat, singling to right and plating Miles and Van O'Linda.
A two-run homer from Muhlenberg cut the deficit to 6-3 in the bottom of the fourth, but the Diplomats came back with another three-spot to extend a 9-3 advantage. Russell recorded her fifth RBI of the game on a single to right, before Miles scored on a wild pitch and Long knocked in Van O'Linda with a bloop single to center.
The scoreboard would not budge in the remaining innings as Wenger allowed the Mules zero hits in the sixth and seventh on the way to the 9-3 win.
Wenger (2-6) earned the win, giving up just two earned and striking out six in seven innings of work.
Russell's five RBIs marked a career high for the junior, finishing the night 3-for-4. Long and Miles both chipped in a pair of hits as well, with Long recording two RBIs and Van O'Linda adding one.
The Diplomats return home on Tuesday, hosting Susquehanna for a nonconference doubleheader beginning at 3:00 p.m.