BALTIMORE, Md. - Franklin & Marshall's baseball team clinched its second consecutive Centennial Conference (CC) Playoff bid with a split against No. 21 Johns Hopkins on Saturday in Baltimore.
The Diplomats, who moved to 25-13, 11-6 CC on the year, outslugged the Blue Jays (27-10, 13-4) by a 14-7 margin in game one before falling 15-0 in game two.
F&M can still enter the Tournament as high as the No. 2 seed with a win against Ursinus tomorrow at Caplan.
Game 1: F&M 14, Johns Hopkins 7
The Diplomats carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI single from Dan Baroff in the second and Alex Miller's RBI triple to center in the top half of third. The Blue Jays stormed back with three runs off three hits and an error in the bottom the of the frame to pull ahead by one, before both teams scored a single run in the fourth to make it a 4-3 game.
Kelsey Launi launched a two-run homer in the top of the fifth to regain the F&M advantage before back-to-back RBI singles from Miller and Launi in the sixth were followed by a Don DiLoreto sacrifice fly that gave the Diplomats a decisive 8-4 edge.
Hopkins countered with a run in the bottom of the seventh to pull within nine. However, F&M put away the Blue Jays for good with six runs off six hits in the ninth inning for a nine-run cushion.
Baroff continued to swing a hot bat and plated the frame's first runner with a single to center. J.J. Freeman was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded before Miller and Launi followed with a pair of walks that allowed two more runs to cross home plate. DiLoreto struck the dagger with a two-RBI single to right field that rounded out the scoring.
Starting pitcher Matt Devlin (4-2) claimed the win with five innings of work, allowing two earned off four hits and striking out two.
Miller led the offense with a 4-for-5 effort, collecting three RBIs and scoring two runs. Launi tallied a 2-for-5 line with four RBIs, while DiLoreto recorded three RBIs of his own. Matthew Kann drew three walks in a 1-for-3 effort at the plate that included a solo homer in the fourth.
Game 2: Johns Hopkins 15, F&M 0
Ahead by a 2-0 score in the bottom of the third, Hopkins put the nightcap away in the bottom of the inning with 11 runs off of six hits and an error. The hole was too much for the Diplomats to dig out of despite F&M's bullpen keeping the Blue Jays scoreless through the final four innings.
Jack Buckley (7-2) suffered the loss after being charged with five earned in two frames. Grant Gale stood out with his strong relief appearance, throwing three shutouts innings and striking out three. Kurt Elmer tossed a scoreless eighth with one strikeout.
Freeman (1-for-4) and Launi (1-for-2) registered F&M's two hits on the afternoon.
F&M hosts Ursinus tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. with the CC Tournament's No. 2 seed and a right to host Thursday's opening-round game on the line. Fans can follow along with video and live stats at GoDiplomats.com/Live.