Laufer and Ryan Help Diplomats Sweep

LANCASTER, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall softball team continued to roll as the Diplomats defeated Swarthmore 4-2 in game one before edging the Garnet 1-0 in eight innings in game two in Centennial Conference (CC) action on Saturday afternoon at Baker Campus Field. The Diplomats improved to 17-7, 6-2 CC while Swarthmore dropped to 7-11, 0-4 CC.

In game one, both teams were held scoreless for the first part of the game as F&M's Justine Lohrey and the Garnet's Jackie Pezzato would not let a runner cross home plate. However, in the top of the fourth, Swarthmore got on the board when Clara Obstfeld singled home Rose Pitkin to give the Garnet a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Diplomats' Rachel Laufer smacked a double down the left field line to score Malorie Sassaman and tie the game at 1-1. Later in the frame, Sam DeNoville hit a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Laufer and put F&M up 2-1.

Swarthmore's Chelsea Matzko singled up the middle in the top of fifth to score Sara Planthaber and tie the game at 2-2, however in the bottom of the sixth, Laufer stepped up to the plate and crushed the ball over the left-field fence to break the tie and put the Diplomats ahead 3-2. Later in the inning, DeNoville added an RBI-single to give F&M a 4-2 advantage as the Diplomats went on take game one by the same score.

Laufer and DeNoville had two hits apiece, while Patricia Crigler, Sassaman and Patricia Smith each added a hit for F&M. Justine Lohrey (8-1) was stellar as she threw a complete game, allowing no earned runs and striking out a batter for her CC-leading eighth victory of the season.

In game two, the Diplomats found themselves in another pitcher's duel similar to game two against York on April 3. The two starting pitchers Kaitlin Zampino and Swarthmore's Sarina Lowe were dominant for the majority of the game.

F&M had a good chance to score in the bottom of the fifth when Zampino led off with a single up the middle. After Kelly Van O'Linda pinch ran for Zampino, Smith ripped a pinch-hit single through the left side to advance Van O'Linda to second. After Melissa O'Connor came in to pitch for Lowe, the Diplomats were unable to get a run across as the game remained tied at the end of five.

The contest remained scoreless until the bottom of the eighth when Alicia Kukoda led off the inning with a triple to center field. The next batter, Megan Ryan, belted a ball that hit the left-field fence as Kukoda scored easily to give F&M the 1-0 victory.

Zampino (4-4) threw eight innings of shutout ball for the Diplomats, giving up just five hits and striking out nine batters to earn her fourth victory of the season.

F&M returns to action on Tuesday when the Diplomats welcome non-conference opponent Albright to Baker Campus Field. Game one is set to begin at 3:00 p.m.