LANCASTER, Pa. – The powerful bats of the Ursinus College baseball team were held in check at Franklin & Marshall as the Bears fell 5-2 in their season finale.
The top sluggers of the Centennial Conference matched up against the league's top pitching staff in a game that saw the Bears without a hit until the seventh. Franklin & Marshall grabbed a crucial 4-0 lead in the first inning to take command and nail down the No. 2 seed in the CC tournament.
Ursinus (18-18, 7-11) managed four total hits, two each in the seventh and ninth innings. The first knock came off the bat of sophomore Jerry Scavone, who slapped a single to second base to snap a long cold streak for Ursinus. With one out, sophomore Will Peiffer doubled to right, plating Scavone.
The Bears didn't go quietly in the ninth, making things interesting until the final out. Down 5-1, sophomore Tom Jacobs singled to left to begin the frame. Classmate Eric Gross was beaned before pinch-hitter Kyle Supran knocked a double to left to cut the deficit to three. Ursinus left runners on second and third to end the late rally.
Early on, the Diplomats (26-13, 12-6) sent eight batters to the plate in the opening inning. Danny Blugis delivered a two-run double down the left-field line to highlight F&M's stanza.
Franklin & Marshall added a run off a sacrifice fly in the fourth to push the score to 5-0.
In the fifth, Ursinus drew a pair of walks but had a runner cut down in a run-down between third and home.
Jonathan Cole threw the first four innings for the Diplomats. Cole, owner of a 1.23 ERA and 62 strikeouts entering the contest, kept the Bears hitless while fanning six. Ryan DeWalt tossed a clean inning. Don DiLoreto and Blugis each gave up a pair of hits and a run in their time on the mound. Franklin & Marshall's pitching staff struck out a dozen Bears.
Freshman A.J. Palumbo did great work out of the Ursinus bullpen in relief of southpaw Peiffer. Palumbo logged 4 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He gave up just two hits, no walks and struck out one.
Seniors Matt Bull, David Drea, Mark LeDuc, Aidan Rodgers, Alex Soriano, and Carter Usowski suited up in the black and yellow for the last time. Usowski, a two-time All-CC selection, batted .319 during a 127-game career. He finished with 144 hits and 88 RBI.
The Bears made strides in 2019, battling for a playoff spot late in the season despite several tough setbacks in tight games.
Ursinus' hitters tormented pitchers all year long. The Bears led the CC in slugging (.499) and ranked among the best in the county in that category. The Bears crushed a school record 30 home runs.
Junior Alex Mumme had a historic season to remember, topping the conference in seven different statistics. The right fielder broke the career and single-season records for both home runs and doubles. He tied the single-season hits record and has a chance at the career record next season. He slugged 14 home runs (tied for tops in the country) with 45 RBI and batted .422 with a gaudy .844 slugging percentage (second in the nation).
In his first season in the leadoff spot, Fiorentino re-wrote the single-season school record for triples in just 19 games. He finished with 10 three-baggers, good for second in Division III.
Freshman Jon Moldoff had an impressive rookie campaign. He finished with 44 runs batted in, just one off Mumme's record-breaking total.
Jacobs improved his hitting dramatically and remained superb behind the plate. His on-base percentage of .466 was seventh in the conference and his .389 batting average was eighth. He also threw out 17 base stealers.
Next season looks to be a bright as Ursinus will return eight starters and several strong pitchers.