LANCASTER, Pa. – After 14 innings and almost four hours, the Ursinus baseball team tied Franklin & Marshall, 6-6, as play was halted due to darkness at Caplan Field.
The tie marks only the second time the Bears played to a tie in Centennial Conference action, the other coming in 2003 when they tied Muhlenberg, 13-13. It was Ursinus' longest game since an 18-inning victory over Dickinson in 2013.
The Bears (8-11-1, 3-3-1) scored runs in the 8th, 9th, 11th and 13th innings but couldn't close the deal on the Diplomats (9-11-2, 3-3-1) in the bottom of those frames.
Ursinus held a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth after tacking on a run in the top half courtesy of a leadoff walk by freshman Tom Jacobs. Jacobs scored when senior Travis Kozak drag bunted down the first base line, the first baseman's throw was wide and not in time to get Jacobs at home.
Franklin & Marshall scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extras. The frame for the Diplomats started with a triple off the bat of Kengo Kawahara to left then an RBI infield single to shortstop. A sacrifice bunt moved the game-tying run to second base. Then a walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases before a game-tying sacrifice fly by Jimmy Whelan to left.
In the 11th inning, junior Drew Roesch led off with a knock to right. Junior Alex Soriano came on to pinch run for Roesch, and sophomore Brian Varani laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Soriano to second. Kozak bounced out to second, advancing Soriano third. Soriano then scored on a wild pitch that got by the catcher to the backstop to take a 5-4 lead.
The Diplomats worked a lead-off walk in the bottom of the 11th before that runner was moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt. Whelan doubled to left, knocking in the game-tying run once again to even the score 5-5.
In the 13th inning, the Bears put yet another run on the board. Sophomore Jake Supran worked a one-out walk followed by senior Travis Kozak's fielder's choice to shortstop advancing Supran to second. With two outs, sophomore Dom Fiorentino delivered a double to score Supran and take a 6-5 lead.
Another Diplomat lead-off walk came around to score after Max Schwartz singled to left with two outs, knotting the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the 13th.
Earlier in the game, junior Carter Usowski broke a 2-2 tie after drilling his second home run of the season to left field with two outs in the eighth, giving the Bears a 3-2 edge. Usowski collected three hits and three runs batted, including a two-run double in the first giving the Bears an early 2-0 lead.
The Diplomats chipped away at the Bears' lead, using three hits to score their first run in the second. The following inning F&M scored another run to knot the game 2-2.
Pitching ruled throughout the middle innings. The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings were all scoreless frames. Each starting pitcher earned no-decisions but kept both lineups off balance while working out of jams. Ursinus senior Pierce Greenleaf hurled seven innings yielding six hits and two runs while striking out three Diplomats. F&M's Andrew Mascis gave up two runs on five hits and two walks through 6 1/3 innings, striking out six.
Of some other performances worth noting, sophomore Alex Mumme drew four walks – two of them being intentional with one coming in the first inning. Fiorentino collected two hits, and he and Usowski combined for five of Ursinus' nine hits.
F&M's Whelan and Schwartz led a 14-hit attack, collecting four and three knocks, respectively. There were plenty of opportunities to score as F&M stranded 18 runners on base and Ursinus left 15.
The Bears return home Friday to finish the series with Franklin & Marshall at 3:30 p.m.