COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College baseball team went off for seven runs in the eighth inning on the way to a come-from-behind 8-6 victory in the nightcap of its doubleheader with SUNY Canton, a thrilling end to a non-conference sweep in the club's home opener on Saturday.
Junior Travis Kozak scored four runs with three hits and two RBI on the day for the Bears (10-3), who received standout performances from their bullpen. Ursinus relievers allowed a mere three hits and one run in 7.2 combined innings, including a five-inning gem from senior Steve DiStefano in Game 2.
The Bears needed no late outburst in the opener, scoring five runs in the first two innings of an 11-8 victory.
Game 1: Ursinus 11, SUNY Canton 7
Seth Douglas' towering home run to left field got the Kangaroos out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but the Bears wasted no time in their response. Kozak led off the first with a bunt single and scored on senior Alex Campbell's double to left-center before senior Austin Kurey plated Campbell with a base hit up the middle.
Ursinus capitalized on a passed ball and an error to score three times in the third. Senior Greg Petorak snuck home on a double steal with Kozak, and Campbell's liner to center field scored Kozak and made it 5-2 in favor of the Bears.
Kozak accounted for two runs in the fourth, driving in senior Vincent Terry with a double over the head of the Canton right-fielder before scoring on an errant throw by the second baseman.
The Kangaroos got two runs back in the fifth before a sacrifice fly by Petorak extended the Bears' lead to 8-4. Canton closed to within 8-5 and had two on with nobody out in the seventh, but junior Pierce Greenleaf induced an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play to escape further damage.
Ursinus broke it open with three more runs in the bottom of the seventh. With the bases loaded and nobody out, senior Kieran Geyer lofted a sacrifice fly into center field. Pinch-hitter Seth Regensburg followed with a scorching shot that ricocheted off the first baseman's glove and towards the Kangaroos' dugout, scoring senior CJ Diana and sophomore Carter Usowski. It was the first career hit and first career RBIs for Regensburg.
Canton scored twice in the eighth to cut it to 11-7 and put their first two on via hit batsmen in the ninth. But junior Matt Radwanski played stopper for the Bears, getting the first out on a sacrifice and securing his first career save with back-to-back groundouts.
Campbell finished 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Kozak had two hits and an RBI and scored three times. Diana matched him with three runs and two hits, while Terry was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Greenleaf (3-0) allowed seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits with two walks and three strikeouts in seven-plus frames.
Game 2: Ursinus 8, SUNY Canton 6
Ursinus grabbed a 1-0 lead on a Kangaroos error in the second, but things looked bleak when Canton struck for five runs in the top of the fourth, three on consecutive RBI singles by Trevor Keleher, Bobby Clemente, and Travis Schindler.
Behind Dan Coant, the Kangaroos took that same 5-1 lead into the eighth inning. That's when the bats awoke for the Bears, who sent 13 men to the plate in a game-breaking, seven-run explosion.
Kozak and Petorak were hit by pitches, sandwiched around a base hit by freshman Dom Fiorentino, to load the bags with no outs. Senior Tom Carey stepped in to pinch-hit and hammered a two-run double to left, chasing Coant and cutting the margin to 5-3. Usowski greeted reliever Robbie Osterer with an infield hit that scored Petorak, and pinch-runner Jake Banks dashed home with the tying run on a passed ball.
Regensburg came up big with two outs, bouncing a base hit off the glove of the first baseman to bring home Usowski with the go-ahead run. Kozak's single through the left side plated Geyer, and Petorak was plunked two batters later to force in another run.
The Kangaroos cut into the lead on Wilson Matos' RBI double in the ninth, but senior Lou Aikins shut the door with his second save of the season.
DiStefano was tremendous in relief of starter David Drea, working five innings in which he allowed just three hits and one run.
Fiorentino finished 2-for-3 with a run, Usowski was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and freshman Mike Stanziale registered his first two collegiate hits, including a double.
The Bears conclude their three-game series with a single nine-inning contest on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.