Baseball Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive with Extra-Inning Walkoff

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - page 3
 

Softball Earns Top Seed Despite Twinbill Loss

Needing to win one game of its Senior Day doubleheader against Franklin & Marshall to earn the top seed for the Centennial Conference playoffs, the Muhlenberg softball team came up empty, losing 3-2 and 4-0.

But the Mules got the help they needed when Washington scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to defeat McDaniel, 5-4. The split in that doubleheader left the Mules (23-11, 12-4) alone in first place in the CC. Haverford can still tie them with a sweep tomorrow, but the Mules own the tiebreaker and will host the tournament for the second consecutive year next weekend.

The Diplomats (25-14, 10-6), who needed a sweep and help to earn their first-ever playoff berth, scored three runs in the top of the first in the opening game. Junior Kelsey Jones shut F&M out on three hits the rest of the way, but the offense could not generate enough runs to keep her 17-game CC winning streak from being snapped.

Senior Colleen O’Donnell, honored with classmates Kelly Kline and Erica Wenzel prior to the doubleheader, was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Sophomore Taylor Trifiolis also had two hits, including an RBI double.

O’Donnell had the Mules’ lone hit of the nightcap.
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2

 

Falling behind early and coming back to win in dramatic fashion may not be the ideal formula for success in baseball, but it works for Muhlenberg. And with a little help, it will lead the Mules to the Centennial Conference playoffs.

Junior Kurt Johnson hit a bases-loaded walkoff single with two outs in the bottom of the 11th to cap a three-run rally and give Muhlenberg a 10-9 win against Johns Hopkins in the second game of a Senior Day doubleheader. The Blue Jays won the first game, 14-4.

John Icaza
Icaza, getting some love after his game-tying home run, had three hits in each game and became the first Mule to homer in both ends of a doubleheader since 2011.
The Mules (16-17-1) finished CC play with a 9-8-1 record and head into the final day of the CC season in fifth place, behind Johns Hopkins and McDaniel, both 9-8. If either Johns Hopkins (at Dickinson) or McDaniel (at first-place Gettysburg) loses tomorrow, Muhlenberg will be in the CC playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Down 6-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Mules scored three in the fifth and one in the sixth to cut the margin to one. After The Blue Jays (22-14) plated an unearned run in the top of the seventh, Muhlenberg tied the score on a two-run homer by freshman John Icaza – his second of the day – in the eighth.

A loss would have eliminated the Mules from playoff contention, and it didn’t look good when Hopkins scored twice in the top of the 11th. But senior Brett Rosen started the comeback with a home run leading off the bottom of the 11th.

After junior Danny Usewick walked, Icaza sacrificed him to second. Junior Jimmy Cody beat out an infield single to shortstop as Usewick crossed to third with the tying run. Senior John Scuderi followed with a hard-hit ball to shortstop that could have resulted in a game-ending double play, but the Hopkins shortstop whiffed on the ball, sending Cody to third with the winning run.

The second intentional walk of the game to senior Max Litvak loaded the bases, and after a strikeout, Johnson jumped on the first pitch and lined it into right to score Cody.

“I said before the at-bat that I was due because it wasn’s excatly a great day,” said Johnson, who was 0-for-6 in the second game prior to his walkoff hit. “I just went up looking for a fastball, something straight to hit.”

The win fits in nicely alongside last-inning CC victories against McDaniel and Franklin & Marshall and comebacks from 5-1 to beat Haverford and tie Dickinson.

“We’ve been doing it all year,” said Johnson. “Even when we’re down we know we have the capability and the talent to come back.”

And this win was extra special because it came in front of a large crowd that came to honor the seven Mule seniors – Rosen, Litvak, Scuderi, Jimmy Aramanda, Nick Gazzillo, Nick Kennedy and Tyler Latrenta.

“They’re a great class,” said Johnson. “Tey’re a bunch of stand-up guys and team-first guys. No matter what they’re doing, they always put the team first. It’s great to get a win for them.”
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2