COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College baseball team came within a play of completing a ninth-inning rally, but left the bases loaded as visiting Haverford held on for a 6-5 victory to complete a season sweep of the Bears on rain-soaked Thomas Field.
It was déjà vu all over again for the Bears (13-12, 3-5), who earlier this season came back to put a big scare into another team from the Main Line – Swarthmore – before stranding the bags full in a one-run loss.
Trailing 6-3 after a four-run seventh by the Fords (13-11, 6-2), Ursinus got a run back in the bottom half on sophomore Eric Gross' fielder's choice grounder with the bases loaded.
Then came a tension-filled ninth, which began when senior Carter Usowski was hit by a pitch and sophomore Will Peiffer drew a walk. Gross put a nice bunt down the third-base line, but Haverford pitcher Brandon Jenkins was able to pick up the ball and throw out Usowski at third by a split-second for the first out. Sophomore Tom Jacobs worked a long at-bat and moved both runners into scoring position with a groundout to second, and classmate Connor Barrett drew another walk to load the bases.
Fiorentino quickly fell behind 0-2 but came back to draw a third walk to force in a run and make it 6-5. Jenkins, however, bore down to get sophomore Jerry Scavone to swing through a high fastball and preserve the victory.
Though their late comeback effort nearly succeeded, the Bears rued a number of missed opportunities throughout a game played mostly in a steady rain. Ursinus left 15 men on base and ran itself out of a potential big inning in the eighth, when the Fords first baseman booted Fiorentino's bunt to put runners on first and second with no outs. But Haverford executed a pickoff play at second and escaped without damage.
The Bears took a 3-2 lead in the fifth, but only managed one run out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation.
The Fords struck right away with a two-run first before sophomore Nick DeFeo settled in, eventually working six walk-free innings with nine hits allowed and five strikeouts.
Jacobs came through with a two-out RBI single through the left side to get Ursinus on the board in the second, and delivered again in the fourth with a two-out double to left-center to tie the game.
DeFeo was lifted after six, and the bullpen was unable to make the lead stand up. Haverford packed the bags with one out before Owen Plambeck and Zach Landry hit back-to-back two-run doubles to put the visitors on top, 6-3.
The top of the order did most of the damage for Haverford as Will Karp (3-for-5, two runs) and Ethan Lee-Tyson (2-for-4, two runs) combined for five hits and four runs.
Junior Alex Mumme was on base four times for the Bears, going 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, and a run. Peiffer also reached four times on a 2-for-3, two-run stat line, and Jacobs extended a hot stretch with a 2-for-5, two-RBI effort. The catcher has eight hits and nine RBI over the last five games.
Senior Matt Bull was lights-out in relief, retiring all eight batters he faced with a trio of strikeouts.
The Bears cap a stretch of five games in four days with a doubleheader at Gettysburg on Saturday.