EAGLE LAKE, Fla. – The Ursinus College baseball team continued to hit but was unable to limit the bats of Nichols as the Bisons secured a sweep of Friday's doubleheader in Florida.
The Bears (4-4) made a couple rallies in the opener before falling, 9-6, and failed to make an early lead hold up in an 8-4 loss in the nightcap.
Game 1: Nichols 9, Ursinus 6
Not accustomed to playing from behind, the Bears conceded first for the first time since the season opener when David Caron hit a two-run homer off sophomore Casey Fitzsimmons, making his first career start, to put Nichols on top 2-0. A walk and another base hit put the next two men on with nobody out, but the left-hander got a strikeout and a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning with no further damage.
Ursinus began making up ground immediately. Sophomore Will Peiffer led off the second with an infield single, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on classmate Jerry Scavone's groundout. Fitzsimmons then worked into and out of another jam, putting the first two on in the bottom half before Fiorentino came to the rescue by making a difficult catch on a liner and doubling off the runner at second to quell the threat. The outfield assist was the first of the season and sixth overall for Fiorentino.
Fitzsimmons almost got out of dodge again after the Bisons had first and second with one out in the third, but a two-out single plated a run and pushed the margin to 3-1.
Peiffer played the role of rally starter again in the fourth, ripping a double into the gap in left-center to open the frame. That gave Ursinus a leadoff base-runner for the fourth straight inning, but the team was 0-for-10 with men on base until junior Mike Stanziale doubled to right-center to plate Peiffer and Jacobs delivered his first career home run down the left-field line to put the Bears ahead for the first time, 4-3.
After giving up a bunt single and a double to start the fourth, Fitzsimmons was replaced by sophomore R.J. Grace, who walked a pair sandwiched around a run-scoring wild pitch before freshman Andrew Hartman entered. Christian Naccari greeted him with a two-run double, and another run scored on a groundout to give the Bisons a 7-4 lead.
Never out of a game, Ursinus scored twice in the fifth on Peiffer's two-run single up the middle. But Nichols tacked on two more in the sixth and evaded a two-on, no-out jam in the seventh to hold off the hard-charging Bears.
Peiffer finished 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, two runs, and a stolen base. Stanziale was 2-for-3 with a double, a run, and an RBI, while Fiorentino had two hits and stole two bases.
Fitzsimmons was charged with five runs on nine hits in three innings; he walked two and struck out one. Hartman worked three full frames, giving up two runs on six hits with a walk and two punch-outs.
Game 2: Nichols 8, Ursinus 4
The Bisons got on the board first again, this time courtesy of two hits and a wild pitch that led to an RBI groundout in the first.
Junior Alex Mumme brought the Bears level with his 40th career double, a shot to left that scored Fiorentino after the junior led off the first with a single and moved to second on Peiffer's fourth hit of the day. A pair of strikeouts threatened to squelch a big inning, but Scavone came through with a two-run single with two outs and the bags full to put Ursinus ahead 3-1 and chase the Nichols starter from the game.
The Bisons brought in Brendan Duffy, and the Bears were unable to solve him. The reliever worked the next 6.1 innings, going five straight frames without allowing a hit and surrendering only an RBI groundout by Peiffer in the seventh. By then, Nicholas had already broken it open with five runs in the fifth and another in the sixth.
Christian Naccari finished 4-for-5 with two solo home runs and three runs scored for the Bisons, and Tyler Heenan had a two-run single to make it 7-3 in the fifth.
Scavone was 2-for-3 with two RBI for Ursinus. Fiorentino went 2-for-4 with two runs and a triple, his fifth of the season and the eighth of his career. The junior is now tied for third in program history for career triples, and his season total of five is already just two off the single-year record of seven.
Bull (2-1) absorbed his first loss, going four innings and allowing five runs – four earned – on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Freshman Luke Verga pitched a scoreless seventh in his collegiate debut.
The Bears close out their spring break trip with a doubleheader against Rhode Island College on Saturday.