ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Ursinus baseball team fell on the short end of a back-and-forth game to third-place Muhlenberg, 11-9, on Sunday afternoon.
The Bears (10-21-1, 5-12-1) matched the Mules (19-17, 11-7) run-for-run for much of the game but the home team's eighth inning proved to be the dagger in the Bears' last CC regular season contest.
Each team chased the opposition's starting pitchers early on in the game and had to turn to several relievers out of the bullpen. Ursinus, nearly a .300 hitting team, tagged Muhlenberg's strong pitching staff for 15 hits on the day. Junior Carter Usowski homered for the fourth time this season and reached base in all five of his trips to the plate. Usowski went 4-for-4 with three RBI, three runs and a walk.
Sophomore Alex Mumme drilled his eighth home run of the year and 12th of his career in only 61 games, which tied the school record for home runs in a season and puts him in a tie for fourth overall. Mumme extended his 16-game hitting streak with a double in the first inning.
Senior Travis Kozak collected his 143rd hit and 100th run of his Ursinus career to lead off the game. The hits are good for a tie for eighth in school history, and the dynamic leadoff hitter became the sixth Ursinus player to score 100 runs.
Ursinus trailed 8-7 heading into the eighth until the Mules posted crucial insurance runs in the frame. Muhlenberg's Jon Capra collected his fourth hit of the game to start the rally. Eric Reitmeyer singled to left and Chris Grillo walked to load the bases. Robert Cappadona drew an RBI walk followed by John Serruto's two-RBI single through the left side.
Ursinus didn't go down without a fight in the ninth. Freshman Connor Barrett doubled to right center with one out. Usowski singled and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Keeping the game alive, freshman Tom Jacobs got the Bears within two runs with a two-RBI single to center.
The Bears jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Kozak led off the game with a two-strike single to center. Mumme doubled to left before a wild pitch scored Kozak, and sophomore Dom Fiorentino's base hit to center plated Mumme.
In the bottom of the first, the Mules responded with three runs of their own. A catcher's interference and back-to-back Muhlenberg singles put runners on second and third for Capra, who knocked in two runs on a single to center. Muhlenberg worked a walk to load the bases and a hit by pitch forced in a run to give the Mules a 3-2 edge after one inning.
Usowski doubled to left to start the second inning. Freshman Drew Fowler bunted Usowski to third before sophomore Kyle Supran rolled a fielder' choice grounder to second in order to score Usowski and tie the score 3-3. Muhlenberg regained the lead after a leadoff single came around to score on Capra's RBI single.
Mumme sent a homer flying over the left-center field fence tying the game 4-4 in the third.
Again the Mules bounced back for two runs in the bottom of the frame. Two singles, a sacrifice bunt and a hit by pitch loaded the bases. Serruto delivered a sacrifice fly and Matt Riebesell followed with an RBI single to lead 6-4 after three.
In the fourth, Ursinus was kept off the board for first time in the game, then Capra's solo homer to left extended the Mules' lead to 7-4.
The Bears put together a two-run fifth with two outs after it looked like Ursinus might squander a golden first and second, no-out situation. Usowski's clutch two-run round-tripper to left scored Fiorentino to get with a run, 7-6.
In the seventh, Fiorentino drew a one-out walk. Pinch-hitter Barrett singled to right center, and Fiorentino came home on Usowski's single to right to tie the score 7-7.
The Mules took the lead, 8-7, when Grillo homered to left field in the seventh inning.
Muhlenberg's Alec Andrews (3-1) earned the victory in relief and Truman Devitt picked up his first save of the season after entering the game in the eighth. Devitt earned the win with 8.2 strong innings against the Bears on Tuesday.
Muhlenberg registered 16 hits and was led by Capra's home run among his four hits, four RBI and two runs. Grillo added a home run. Serruto drove in three runs for the Mules.
The Bears come back home to Thomas Field for their season finale with New Jersey City on Tuesday at 4 p.m.