COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Junior Alex Mumme drove his 16th career home run just inside the left field foul pole in the sixth inning as the Ursinus College baseball team's comeback fell just short, 7-5, to Penn State Harrisburg at Thomas Field.
Ursinus (8-6) had its four-game winning streak snapped and faced an early uphill climb when surrendering a five-run second inning to a talented Lions ball club that won a school record 31 games a season ago.
The Bears chipped away at a 6-1 deficit with a run in fifth and three more in sixth. Down 7-5, Ursinus also had the game-tying run at the plate in the last frame before the Lions (13-4-1) managed to put it away.
Mumme's two-run blast in the sixth elevated the slugger into a tie for second all-time in career home runs at Ursinus with Chris Jablonski '16. Mumme finished the day with two runs scored.
Gross did a wonderful job of flipping the lineup over in the nine hole, reaching base on all four of his plate appearances and going 2-for-2 with a run, a walk and a hit by pitch.
With one out in the last inning, freshman Jon Moldoff collected his third hit of his 3-for-4 effort with a run batted in for the Bears. Ursinus marched the tying run to the plate but to no avail. With two outs, junior Jake Supran sliced a ball to left field that was snared by the left fielder's diving grab. It could have been potentially dangerous if the ball got by the left fielder.
Holding the potent Lions from putting the Bears in a bigger hole was freshman reliever James Schuld. The rookie battled valiantly against a strong lineup who had outscored its opponents by a count of 150-49 entering the game. The righty came on for senior starter David Drea in the fourth inning and gave the Bears six innings of strong work, allowing a run on six hits and a walk while fanning four. He threw 54 of his 81 pitches for strikes.
Early on, junior Dom Fiorentino continued his sizzling hitting as he stung a hard shot off the first baseman's mitt down the line for a leadoff double in the opening inning. He extended his hitting streak to eight games and collected his fourth straight two-hit game.
Fiorentino came around to score one of his two runs when a sacrifice fly by Moldoff gave the Bears the first run.
PSU Harrisburg's Casey Winters started the Lions' five-run second inning. He doubled to left to start the second. An infield hit and back-to-back walks forced in a run to tie it 1-1. The Lions scored their second run on a bases loaded, two-out wild pitch. Miguel Torres then sent a single up the middle, scoring a pair of runs to make it 4-1. Travis Van Houten doubled home the Lions' fifth run of the frame as part of his three-hit performance in the cleanup slot.
The Bears scored a run in the fifth as Mumme reached on a misplayed fly ball to right. Moldoff doubled to the right-field fence, then sophomore Jerry Scavone bounced out to second to score Mumme.
The Lions tacked on a run in the top half of sixth to increase the lead to 7-2 before the Bears' good bottom half.
PSU Harrisburg starting pitcher Mason Vogwill (1-0) earned the win with five innings of two-run ball (one earned) on six hits, while walking one and striking out six. Reliever Justin Kunkel went two no-hit innings, striking out five. Brendan Riotto worked the ninth inning to record his fourth save.
PSU Harrisburg outhit Ursinus, 13-9. The Bears left 10 men on base and the Lions stranded nine.
The game featured five errors in due part to sunny conditions – three for the visitors and two for the home team.
The Bears have a road non-conference game at Immaculata Wednesday before kicking off their Centennial Conference slate Saturday with a doubleheader at Dickinson.