COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Despite two more home runs from Alex Mumme, the Ursinus College baseball team was dealt a tough Centennial Conference setback to Franklin & Marshall in a 6-4 affair at Thomas Field.
Mumme crushed his Division III-leading 14th homer of the season in the eighth inning. The Ursinus home run king with 26 career dingers, Mumme accounted for half of the hosts' hits in his 3-for-4, three-run and two-RBI day. The right fielder blasted his second multiple-home run effort in five games. Mumme was close to a three-homer game, but a ball to the center field warning track in the third was hauled in by the F&M outfield.
Recently, the Bears (18-15, 7-8) have posted video game numbers at the plate. Few teams have managed to keep Ursinus quiet for a full nine innings, but Franklin & Marshall (22-12, 10-5) harnessed its conference-leading ERA to cool off the Bears. Three players totaled Ursinus' six hits, which snapped its six-game streak of at least 12 knocks.
One of the best arms in the CC, lefty Jack Buckley (7-1) worked through seven innings (91 pitches), allowing three runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out two. Buckley entered the game with the most strikeouts in the Centennial and ranked fourth with an earned-run average of 1.63.
Ursinus sophomore righty Nolan Graber (1-2) did his best to go toe-to-toe with the southpaw. Graber worked seven innings, allowing four runs on just six hits while walking two and fanning four Diplomat hitters.
The Bears made Buckley work hard in the first inning. Ursinus loaded the bases with no outs on the way to scoring twice. Junior leadoff hitter Dom Fiorentino walked, followed by a hard hit single up the middle by Mumme. While squaring around to bunt, senior Carter Usowski was hit by pitch to fill the base paths.
Freshman Jon Moldoff grounded sharply into a fielder's choice at second to give the Bears their first run, and sophomore Jerry Scavone followed up with a base hit through the left side to score Mumme. Scavone was the only Bear other than Mumme to register multiple hits. He went 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Buckley settled in after the first inning and the Diplomats gave him a lead in the fourth. Matthew Kann's two-run home run to center put the blue and white up, 3-2. Earlier on in the frame, Kelsey Launi singled to left center to open the frame. He got to second on a fielding miscue. Following a fly ball, a one-out ground ball to shortstop scored Launi as the Diplomats' first run.
J.J. Freeman gave the Diplomats a two-run lead (4-2) in the fifth after a solo home run down the right-field line.
After the first, the Bears couldn't muster a base-runner until sophomore Will Peiffer walked to begin the fifth. Ursinus was also hitless since the first until Mumme smoked a blast over the left-field line fence to get the Bears within a run in the sixth.
Freshman reliever Ryan Schwab entered for Graber in the eighth. Franklin & Marshall plated two insurance runs on Kann's two-run double off the warning track in right to go up 6-3.
The Bears scored their first run since the first inning in the eighth as Mumme porched his second home run of the game to left.
The Bears were threatening for more in the frame after Usowski doubled to left center and Scavone picked up his second hit of the game on a hard hit ball off the pitcher's leg, but sophomore Tom Jacobs' dangerous ball to left center was caught to end the inning.
F&M catcher Danny Blugis reversed roles to pitch the ninth. He sat the Bears down in order for his fourth save of the season.
Jacobs gunned down his 16th runner of the season in the ninth.
The game was halted in the fifth inning for nearly thirty minutes as the home plate umpire struggled with what looked to be heat exhaustion. The umpires swapped roles as the base umpire went behind the plate and the home plate umpires went to the plate for the rest of the game.
The Bears look to earn a series split at Franklin & Marshall Friday at 3:30 p.m.