COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The strong-hitting Ursinus bats couldn't get going as red-hot Muhlenberg downed the Bears 4-1, in Centennial Conference action at Thomas Field behind a one-run, 10-strikeout effort from pitcher Truman Devitt.
Ursinus (9-19-1, 4-10-1) struck first for a run in the second inning but didn't get anyone to cross the plate the rest of the game against a Mules squad that has won six in a row. Freshman Eric Gross singled home freshman Jerry Scavone who doubled to right center earlier in the frame.
Devitt (1-2), one piece of a strong pitching staff for Muhlenberg (17-16, 9-6), kept the Bears' bats in check in his 8 2/3 innings of work. The freshman allowed the lone run in the second and yielded nine hits while issuing no walks and striking out ten. Scavone's second-inning double was the only extra-base hit given up by Devitt.
Senior Travis Kozak was the only Bear to collected multiple hits. Kozak's two hits moved him into a tie for ninth place on the program's career hits list with 138. Sophomore Alex Mumme picked up a hit in the bottom of the ninth to extend his hit streak to 13 consecutive games.
The Bears received a superb outing from senior pitcher Pierce Greenleaf (1-3), who like Devitt did not allow a free pass. Greenleaf went the distance, allowing four runs (three earned) on ten hits while striking out three. It was the fourth complete game of his career.
Aside from the brilliance displayed by both sides on the mound, Muhlenberg hit two home runs on the day, as Chris Grillo and Matt Riebesell each hit solo shots. The Mules' first run came courtesy of Grillo's homer to left in the fifth, which tied the game at 1. Riebesell's home run was part of a two-run sixth inning that gave the Mules a 3-1 lead.
Grillo led the Mules with a 3-for-4, two-run and one-RBI performance. Jack Avallone also registered a 3-for-4 day at the plate.
Muhlenberg tacked on another insurance run as Grillo came around to score after his leadoff single. A sacrifice bunt and John Serruto's single up the middle increased the lead to 4-1.
The Bears threatened in the eighth and ninth stanzas but couldn't push any runs across as they left ten runners on base. With two outs in the ninth, Ursinus registered back-to-back singles from sophomore pinch-hitter Brian Varani and Kozak to force the Mules to make a pitching change. Another Mule starter, Timmy Pilrun, came on to get the last out and record the save. The Bears had sophomore Mike Stanziale as the game's tying run at the plate, but Pilrun got Stanziale to ground out to the second baseman for a force.
Ursinus looks to split the two-game set at Muhlenberg on Friday at 3:30 p.m.