COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus baseball team's ninth-inning rally fell just short as first-place Swarthmore picked up a close 9-7 victory at Thomas Field.
Four runs came across the plate for the Bears (9-16-1, 4-7-1) in the ninth. With two outs and runners on second and third, Ursinus had a chance to tie the contest. As the game drew closer, Swarthmore (23-8, 10-2) summoned their closer Jack Corkery out of the Garnet bullpen. Corkery, the CC saves leader with six, was able to save the day for the Garnet by striking out the final two batters with the tying run on second.
Ursinus' last inning started with three straight base hits by senior Travis Kozak, sophomore Alex Mumme, and junior Carter Usowski, who drove home Kozak. Sophomore Mike Stanziale's sacrifice fly to center pushed the score to 9-5.
Sophomore Dom Fiorentino then singled up the middle to plate Mumme and freshman Jake Supran delivered the Bears' only extra-base hit by smoking a double off the right-field fence. The Garnet's lead cut to two, Corkery got the nod to come into the game, needing two outs after the Bears scored for runs on six hits off reliever William Line.
Corkery hit freshman Tom Jacobs in the helmet, putting runners on first and second with one out. A Bear strikeout followed by a wild pitch put runners on second and third, with the runner on second being the potential game-tying run to send the game to extra innings. Corkery was able to strike out another Bear to end the rally.
Ursinus went hit-for-hit with Swarthmore's powerful league-leading bats, totaling 14 hits to edge the 13 for the Garnet. Kozak, Mumme, Usowski, Fiorentino, Jacobs, and freshman Eric Gross all collected two-hit games. Usowski and Fiorentino each drove in two Bear runs. Mumme scored two runs to lead the Bears in the runs department.
The Bears used each of those hits to battle their way back into a nail-bitter finish. Six unanswered runs came across for the home team as the Bears kept the Garnet off the board in the eighth and ninth.
In the seventh, the floodgates opened as Swarthmore sent ten hitters to the dish, scoring five runs to widen the lead to 9-1. The Bears chipped into the Garnet's advantage by scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to get the margin to 9-3. The frame began with Jacobs reaching first on an infield single to third. Gross advanced Jacobs to third on a single to right field. Junior Drew Roesch's RBI fielder's choice to shortstop scored Jacobs. Later on in the frame Usowski drove Roesch home on a single.
Earlier in the game, each starting pitcher was having their way with the opposing hitters. Ursinus freshman Nolan Graber (3-3) and Swarthmore's Ryan Warm (4-0) held each team's heavy-hitting lineup off the board through the first three innings of play.
The Garnet broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with three runs on four hits and an Ursinus error, jumping on top on Kenji Yoshii's two-run single with two outs. Swarthmore tacked on another run in the sixth before Ursinus plated a run courtesy of Fiorentino's chopper past the third baseman, scoring Mumme.
Warm earned the win for the Garnet as he worked 6 2/3 innings, yielding three runs on eight hits, allowing a walk and five strikeouts.
Charles Levitt went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI for Swarthmore. AJ Liu registered three runs batted in and two hits. Jackson Roberts and Yoshii each drove a pair of runs home.
The Bears travel to Johns Hopkins on Saturday for a doubleheader starting at 1:30 p.m. The series is a rematch of last year's CC championship.