BALTIMORE, Md. - Franklin & Marshall fell in a pair of hard-fought games on Saturday in Baltimore, eventually seeing the team's run in the Centennial Conference (CC) Baseball Playoffs come to a close with an 8-1 setback against No. 21 Johns Hopkins and a heartbreaking 8-5 (10 Innings) loss against Haverford.
The Diplomats fell to 27-15 on the year while Johns Hopkins and Haverford will square off in tomorrow's CC Championship at 12:00 p.m.
Game 1: Hopkins 8, F&M 1
Alex Miller's solo homer to left center got F&M's offense off to a strong start in the opening inning against Hopkins. The Diplomat lead proved to be short-lived as the Blue Jays responded in the bottom of the frame, loading the bases with one out before a hit batter tied the game at 1-1.
Each starting pitcher settled in with a pair of scoreless frames, but Hopkins scored off an infield error in the bottom of the fourth to pull in front at 2-1.
A leadoff homer in the sixth extended the Blue Jay lead to two before a pair of home runs in the bottom of the seventh plated four more runs to break the game open for Hopkins.
Jack Buckley (7-3) took the loss for the Diplomats after being charged for two earned off of six hits in five innings of work. Reliever John Donohue (1-0) picked up the Hopkins' win with 4 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen.
Game 2: Haverford 8, F&M 5 (10 Innings)
The elimination game saw F&M and Haverford meet for the fourth time this season as the Diplomats entered with a 3-0 edge in the series.
With runners on the corners in the top of the first, a Fords' squeeze bunt scored a runner from third for the 1-0 advantage. Don DiLoreto helped the Diplomats answer in the second with a leadoff double to left center before Dan Marano reached on a fielder's choice to place runners on the corners with one out.
Danny Blugis hit a grounder to second in the next at-bat that was misplayed by Haverford's shortstop and allowed both DiLoreto and Marano to cross home plate.
The 2-1 F&M lead was short lived as the Fords notched three straight RBI singles in the third inning to storm in front at 4-2. In the bottom of the frame, the Diplomats once again evened the score with three consecutive, two-out walks to load the bases. Marano stepped to the dish and laced an RBI single to left field, which was once again misplayed by Haverford's defense and allowed two runs to score.
Matthew Kann seized the 5-4 lead for F&M in the sixth by launching a leadoff homer to right field, but Haverford responded with a leadoff, solo shot of its own in the next frame to once again knot the score.
Tied at 5-5, the Fords loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with one out, but reliever Don DiLoreto stood tall by retiring the next two batters to eventually force extras.
With runners on first and second for the Fords in the top of the 10th, Ethan Lee-Tyson recorded his second home run of the afternoon, a three-run shot to left center that proved to be the dagger for Haverford.
Starting pitcher Matt Devlin provided a gutsy effort, tossing eight innings and surrendering four earned while striking out two. DiLoreto (3-2) suffered the loss out of the 'pen, throwing two innings and being charged with three earned off of three hits.
Kann led the offense with 1 for-2 showing that included a walk, while DiLoreto scored two runs in the game.
Currently ranked No. 9 in the Mid-Atlantic regional rankings, F&M will hope to secure an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Selection show is set for Monday, April 13th at noon, with the 56-team field being announced on NCAA.com.
NCAA Regionals begin on Friday, May 17th and conclude on Sunday, May 19th.