Baseball Splits Senior Day Doubleheader
COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Another gem from freshman Nolan Graber powered the Ursinus baseball team to a victory in the opener of its Centennial Conference doubleheader with Washington College on Senior Day at Thomas Field.
Ursinus (10-20-1, 5-11-1) took the first game, 3-1. Graber's complete game led the Bears to a victory, breaking a seven-game slide. Washington College (24-16, 8-10) took the second game in a slugfest and registered back-to-back home runs on their way to a 13-10 victory.
Sophomore Dom Fiorentino went 5-for-8 with three RBI on the day, including a pair of doubles. Kozak collected four hits and two runs; He's reached 50 hits in back-to-back seasons, becoming the third player in school history to do so. Sophomore Mike Stanziale notched four hits, two runs scored, and two RBI.
Sophomore Brian Varani homered for the first time in his collegiate career in the first game.
Sophomore Alex Mumme picked up hits in both games, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Mumme doubled in the second game. It was the 30th double of his career; only four Bears have recorded that feat in school history.
Game 1: Ursinus 3, Washington College 1
Graber (4-3) went the distance for the second time this season and kept the Shoreman bats at bay. The 6-foot-5 right-hander allowed one run, scattered six hits and struck out nine hitters. Graber struck out three in each of the sixth and eighth innings. He lowered his CC earned-run average to 1.71 through 31 2/3 innings of work on the hill.
Graber pounded the strike zone from the get-go. He registered a rare four-pitch first-inning, all of which were all strikes. Graber worked efficiently throughout the outing; he tossed 67 strikes on his 100 pitches.
The right-hander's lone blemish came in the fifth inning when Washington College's Gavin O'Donnell homered to left center.
Ursinus jumped out to an early 1-0 in the first inning. Junior Carter Usowski's flare single to center started the inning. Usowski moved up to second on an errant pick-off attempt and moved to third on wild pitch. Mumme lined an RBI-double down the left field line to score Usowski.
In the second, Varani homered to left center to make the score 2-0.
O'Donnell's homer in the fifth got the Shoreman on the board to get within a run, 2-1.
Ursinus pushed an insurance run home in the eighth. Freshman Tom Jacobs singled up the middle. Freshman Eric Gross sacrificed Jacobs to second, and a wild pitch moved Jacobs to third before a fielding error by the second baseman on a grounder off the bat off Varani.
The Bears' leader at the plate were Usowski who went 3-for-5 with a run. Fiorentino and Kozak each collected two hits.
Washington College's Nick Roberti (3-1) threw seven innings in defeat, allowing three runs on 11 hits while walking one and striking out six.
Game 2: Washington College 13, Ursinus 10
The Shoreman plated nine runs combined between the second and third innings and held off Ursinus' 16-hit onslaught to take down the Bears.
It was a battle of the bullpens, as both starters were forced out of the game early. Fourteen pitchers entered the game in total.
Washington College got on the scoreboard with a run in the first as a lead-off single came around to score on a sacrifice fly. The Bears responded with two runs in the bottom half when Fiorentino doubled home Kozak and Stanziale after the pair registered singles. The double was Fiorentino's 13th of the season.
Washington College used a big five-run second inning to give the Shoreman a 6-2 lead. The Shoremen had three hits in the inning, drew two walks and a hit by pitch. In the third inning, the visitors scored four more runs, giving them a 9-2 lead. Ryan Donnelly and Aaron Barclay drove back-to-back home runs in the frame.
The Shoremen pushed two runs across the plate in the fourth. Ursinus put a run on the board in both the third and fourth stanzas. Usowski was beaned and came around to score on a wild pitch. Stanziale doubled down the left field line, scoring Varani.
Ursinus' big inning came in the fifth to draw closer to Washington College, 12-9. Five Bears scored on five hits and an error. Freshman Jerry Scavone led off with a single to center and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Gross doubled down the left-field line. Varani was beaned before Kozak's single to right. Stanziale knocked home a run with a single to center, and Usowski drove in another on a fielding error by the shortstop. Fiorentino singled to third, plating Stanziale to get the Bears within three runs.
The Shoremen couldn't generate any more offense in the later innings. Junior pitcher Mark LeDuc kept the opponent off the board in his three perfect innings of work from when he came into the game in the sixth. Freshman Matt Schmitz and junior David Drea combined to toss a scoreless inning.
With two outs in the eighth, sophomore Kyle Supran singled through the left side and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Gross doubled to right, plating Supran to get the game to 13-10. Ursinus had the game-tying run at the plate as Kozak flied out to center field.
The Bears received three-hit efforts from Stanziale, Fiorentino and Gross. Stanziale drove in three runs and scored two. Fiorentino drove in three runs and Gross drove in two runs.
Washington College pitcher Nick Popolizio earned his sixth save of the season with 1 1/3 innings of work. Sean Weiss (2-1) picked up the win in relief. Weiss threw 2 2/3 innings, allowing no runs, a hit and striking out four.
Eight of the nine starters registered hits for the Shoremen. Leadoff hitter Ryan Donnelly went 3-for-3, leading the 14-hit attack. Donnelly drove in four runs and scored three, Barclay drove three runs home, and Joe Lozupone collected three hits.
The Bears wrap up CC play on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Muhlenberg.