WESTMINSTER, Md. – Franklin & Marshall scored seven runs on 12 hits against a vaunted Gettysburg pitching staff to beat the Bullets 7-4 on Saturday afternoon, advancing to the championship round in the team's first appearance at the Centennial Conference (CC) Playoffs. The Diplomats improved to 16-20 with the win and moved within one victory of claiming the team's first-ever CC Title and the program's first conference crown since 1991.
Gettysburg struck first, scoring once in the top of the first before F&M starter Izzy Schaefer was able to record an out. However, the junior hurler was able to escape the inning without further damage after the Bullets lined out in back-to-back at-bats, the second of which resulted in a double play after Taylor Long fielded the drive and threw over to Katie Wenger at first for a 6-3 double play.
In the regular-season doubleheader, the Gettysburg pitching staff held the Diplomats to just one run in 14 innings of action. F&M tripled that production in the bottom of the first inning, scoring three times to take a 3-1 lead. Sam Clemens got the rally started, sending a single to left that was misplayed by the leftfielder, allowing Clemens to come all the way around to score and tie the game.
Wenger put the Diplomats ahead later in the inning, recording a sacrifice fly to score Long. Ryan Correa extended that lead to 3-1 two batters later, singling back to the pitcher with the bases loaded for an RBI.
Two scoreless innings from Schaefer allowed F&M to go ahead by four in the bottom of the third. Wenger led off with a single through the right side, and came around to score when Correa launched a bomb well over the left field fence for a two-run home run. The round-tripper was the first of the year for Correa and gave F&M a 5-1 advantage.
The Bullets were able to close the gap in the top of the fourth, combining three hits with three errors to move within one at 5-4. Still, the Diplomat offense kept Gettysburg out of striking distance with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. After a single from Long, Lexi Piccinich crushed a RBI double to right center to make the score 6-4. Piccinich crossed the plate later in the inning on Megan Ryan's single to left.
The three-run lead proved to be enough for Schaefer, who held the Bullets to zero runs and just two hits in the final three innings to ice the win for F&M.
Schaefer evened her record at 11-11 with the win. She allowed four runs, just one of them earned, and scattered eight hits in yet another complete-game effort.
Correa's three RBIs led the Diplomat offense as the freshman notched two hits and a run scored on the day. Long went 3-for-4, scoring twice. Piccinich also scored twice and added a 2-for-4 performance.
F&M now awaits the result of the game between the tournament's one-loss teams, Gettysburg and Washington. The Bullets and Shorewomen square off at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Afterward, the Diplomats will get two chances at the winner of that game, with one victory giving F&M the Conference Championship.