WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Franklin & Marshall traded blows with Westfield St. throughout Tuesday's marathon non-conference matchup down in Florida, with the Owls gaining the upper-hand off of back-to-back, 15th-inning homers to deal the Diplomats a tough 11-10 defeat.
F&M dropped to 4-3-1 overall on the year while Westfield St. improved to 3-5-1.
Kengo Kawahara broke a 9-9 tie in the top of the 15th with a double to right field that plated Jimmy Whelan from second to initially put the Diplomats in control. After the Owls were handed two quick outs in the bottom of the frame, Westfield St, launched a pair of solo home runs past the left-field fence in the Chain of Lakes Stadium to walk off with the victory.
F&M appeared to have the game won on multiple occasions before the Owls produced comeback bids. Ahead 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth, the Diplomats surrendered three on three hits and an error to force extra frames.
The 12th inning saw F&M jump in front by a 9-7 tally when Dan Baroff singled home Kelsey Launi from third, and Danny Blugis reached on an infield error that allowed Andrew Poirier to cross home plate.
However, a pair of RBI singles from the Owls in the bottom of the frame once against spoiled the Diplomats' chances.
F&M was outhit by a 15-12 margin, but the Diplomats drew seven walks on the day and stole four bases. Whelan was particularly effective on the base paths with three stole bases. He also drew two walks and scored a pair of runs.
Launi recorded a pair of extra-base hits, pacing the offense with a 3-for-6 showing to go along with two runs scored and two RBIs. Kawahara tallied two doubles, as Poirier and Brian Meerholz all notched two hits.
Seven pitchers saw time on the mound for the Diplomats. Reliever Eric Dyke provided two solid, shutout innings while Jake Amorello (0-1) garnered the loss after allowing two earned off two hits in 2/3 of an inning. Ross Grasso (1-0) retired the final F&M batter to claim the victory for Westfield St.
Spring break continues for the Diplomats on Thursday against Ramapo at 5:30 p.m.