COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College baseball team's postseason chase will come down to the final day of the regular season after Muhlenberg's Timmy Pilrun silenced the Bears' potent offense in a 3-1 Centennial Conference decision on Friday afternoon.
Ursinus sophomore David Drea held the Mules (15-19, 5-11) to one hit in 6.2 masterful innings, but a two-run single by Stephen Koester put the visitors ahead to stay in the seventh. Koester added another two-out RBI single in the ninth to provide added insurance for Pilrun, who allowed just five hits and struck out seven.
The Bears (22-13, 9-7) now trail second-place Gettysburg by one game in the crowded CC standings, but Swarthmore's win at Haverford kept Ursinus ahead of both the Fords and Franklin & Marshall at 8-7-1. The Bears can secure their first playoff bid since 2011 with a sweep at Washington College tomorrow, or with one win and a loss by either Haverford or F&M; if the Shoremen sweep the series, Ursinus would need the Fords or Diplomats to also lose twice. Haverford is at Gettysburg on Saturday, while F&M goes to Muhlenberg.
Drea was thoroughly dominant for the first six innings, permitting Muhlenberg only a pair of walks and a bloop double by Koester. Pilrun was almost as good during that stretch, but the Bears were able to hand Drea a lead by manufacturing a single run in the third. Senior Alex Campbell drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on freshman Alex Mumme's ringing base hit to left.
Ursinus put its first two on and eventually loaded the bases in the fourth before leaving them stranded, and also left a man on second in the fifth.
Muhlenberg finally broke through in the seventh, putting two on with two outs and chasing Drea after the lefty issued his second walk of the frame. A wild pitch allowed both runners to advance a base before Koester punched a base hit up the middle to give Muhlenberg the lead. Koester's two-out RBI single in the eighth extended the margin to 3-1.
Pilrun got stronger as the afternoon wore on, retiring 10 of 11 before senior Tom Carey reached on an error to open the ninth. Back-to-back strikeouts, one on a 3-2 pitch, preceded a hit by pitch to junior Travis Kozak, but Pilrun got Campbell to fly out to deep left to end it.
Koester finished 3-for-4 with three RBI for the Mules.
Drea (2-2) took the hard-luck loss, surrendering two runs on one hit with five strikeouts and four walk. Junior Matt Radwanski struck out four over the final 2.1 innings.
Kozak was hit by a pitch twice to establish a new program record with 20 on the season.
The Bears head to Maryland to finish the regular season at Washington College on Saturday. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m.