HAVERFORD, Pa. – A big milestone and a big fly helped the Ursinus College baseball team continue its unbeaten start to Centennial Conference play Wednesday, as the Bears pounded out 16 hits on the way to a 12-6 victory at Haverford in the first leg of a home-and-home doubleheader.
Senior CJ Diana finished 4-for-5 with four RBI and registered his 100th career hit while classmate Austin Kurey's first homer of the season highlighted a five-run third for the Bears (14-4, 3-0), who won their fourth straight. Ursinus, which had lost three in a row and seven of its last eight against defending CC champion Haverford (11-8, 2-1), is off to its first 3-0 start in conference play since 2014 and has matched its best start to the league season since opening 6-0 in 2009.
Freshman Dom Fiorentino extended his hot stretch with a 3-for-5 afternoon that included a pair of runs, while senior Kieran Geyer (2-for-3) and junior Travis Kozak (2-for-4) each scored three times. Sophomore Carter Usowski finished 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI and classmate David Drea worked around five walks to give the Bears a solid five innings on the mound.
The Bears got to Fords starter Nathan Vucovich in the third, exploding for five runs to break open a scoreless stalemate with a few big swings of the bat. Senior Kieran Geyer punched a base hit through the right side, and Ursinus was in business after junior Travis Kozak was hit by a pitch and freshman Dom Fiorentino dropped a bunt single down the third-base line to load the bases with no outs.
A fly ball by senior Alex Campbell was just deep enough for Geyer to dash in ahead of the throw with the game's first run, and Diana bounced a two-run double down the left-field line and just past a diving Spencer Sohmer at third to make it 3-0.
Kurey followed an opposite-field shot to right, the second home run of his career.
After Drea used a double play to erase a leadoff base-runner in the bottom half, Ursinus got right back to work in the fourth. Geyer once again played catalyst, drawing a leadoff walk and moving to second on Kozak's bunt hit. Fiorentino moved both runners up with a sacrifice before Geyer sprinted home on a wild pitch.
Three batters later, Diana appeared to have recorded his 100th hit in grand fashion, but his bid for a three-run bomb was caught at the fence in straightaway center to settle for a sacrifice fly.
Haverford put two on the board in the fourth, starting with a Harrison Burns RBI single. After walking in a run with two outs, Drea stranded three base-runners with a grounder to Usowski to stem the tide and keep the Bears in control.
Diana reached the century mark in the sixth, when the Bears again packed the sacks before the Fords could record an out. Diana's bunt single to third followed consecutive knocks by Fiorentino and Campbell, the former scoring on a double-play ball and the latter coming home on Usowski's infield hit to stretch the margin to 9-2.
The teams traded single runs in the bottom of the seventh and top of the eighth, as Diana reached on an infield hit, stole second, and scored when the Fords' left fielder booted a base hit by Usowski. Diana struck again with a two-out RBI single in the ninth to cap the Bears' scoring.
Drea (2-0) allowed only three hits and two earned runs, striking out four before giving way to senior Matt Radwanski, who surrendered four runs on seven hits over the next 3.1 frames. Senior Lou Aikins got the final two outs in a three-run Haverford ninth.
Sam Partee finished 3-for-3 with two RBI to lead the Fords.
The Bears complete their twin bill with the Fords at home on Friday, April 7.