COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College baseball team led, 3-1, heading into the sixth inning but two big frames doomed the Bears as their ninth-inning comeback fell short, 11-9, to New Jersey City in the season finale at Thomas Field.
Like much of the season, the Bears (10-22-1) nearly erased a big deficit and put up a fight as they posted four runs in the ninth inning but eventually came up short.
Junior Drew Roesch walked to start the last frame. Senior Travis Kozak was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and 13th this season. Sophomore Jake Supran singled home Roesch. Sophomore Alex Mumme drew a walk before junior Alex Soriano registered his first hit of the year, which knocked in two runs.
Sophomore Kyle Supran's RBI single through the left side scored another to get the Bears within two. Freshman Drew Fowler walked to load the bases before New Jersey City pitcher Anthony Carfora got a strikeout to extinguish the flames on the Bears' rally.
New Jersey City (20-18) scored six runs in the sixth and three in the seventh to get enough separation from the Bears. In the slugfest, the Bears registered 14 hits but left 18 runners stranded on base. It was the 19th time Ursinus collected 11 hits or more this season.
Senior Steve DiStefano pitched well in his final start, surrendering eight hits and four runs (only one earned) in 5.2 innings. He struck out three and did not issue a walk.
Sophomore Dom Fiorentino went 4-for-6 with a run and an RBI to lead the Bears, capping a torrid 11-for-17 closing stretch that left him with a .349 batting average.
Mumme posted a 3-for-5 day with two runs and a run batted in, becoming the 12th player in school history to record 50 hits in a season. The slugger was painfully close to breaking the school record for home runs in a season. In the sixth, he drove a ball off the yellow tubing at the top of the right-center field fence. The ball hit the top of the fence and came back down onto the tubing, leaving a four-way tie atop the record books. Mumme extended his hitting streak to 17 consecutive games and moved into second in program history with two more doubles to run his two-year total to 33.
On the other side, the Gothic Knights banged out 16 hits. Tom Pulcine homered, part of a 3-for-4 day with three runs and three RBI. Dan Berardi drove in four runs on a two-hit day. Mike Ramirez collected three hits and two runs.
The Bears led, 3-1, before the Gothic Knights plated six runs in the sixth with two outs. New Jersey City collected five hits and benefited from an Ursinus error to pull away. Mike Albunia's two-RBI single tied the game, and Berardi doubled three runs home to give the Gothic Knights their first lead.
Pulcine drilled a three-run homer to right field in the seventh to give the Gothic Knights a 10-3 lead.
Ursinus tacked on a run in the seventh and eighth to get the score to 10-5. In the seventh, freshman Tom Jacobs crossed home plate after he reached on an error early in the stanza. In the eighth, Kyle Supran drove in Fiorentino. The Supran twins combined to go 3-for-3 with three RBI on the afternoon.
A Gothic Knight walk came around to score on a sacrifice fly as another insurance run in the ninth.
The contest went scoreless until the Bears fired the opening salvo in the third. With two outs, Ursinus ignited a two-out rally. Mumme doubled to left followed by Fiorentino singling home Mumme on a hard grounder up the middle to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.
The Bears scored two runs in the fourth. Sophomore Brian Varani laid down a bunt single to third base. Kozak was hit by pitch. Sophomore Mike Stanziale reached on a fielder's choice on a bunt, then Kozak and Stanziale each stole a base. Mumme's chopper to third drove in Kozak. After Fiorentino dropped a perfect bunt that rode right along the third-base line paint, freshman Eric Gross walked with the bases loaded.
Kozak finished his standout career fourth in UC history in on-base percentage (.434), sixth in runs (101), and tied for eighth in hits (143).