Win over Hopkins moves unbeaten Fords into Centennial championship game
BALTIMORE, Md. – A three-RBI day from Matt Liscovitz helped lead Haverford College to a 10-8 victory over host Johns Hopkins University in the 2012 Centennial Conference baseball tournament, sending the second-seeded Fords into the championship game on Sunday for the third straight season and fourth time in the past five years.
Haverford (22-17) will be making its first appearance in the championship round with an unblemished playoff record in the double-elimination tournament while Hopkins (25-15-2) needs to defeat Washington College in Saturday's late game to advance to Sunday when it could defend its five-year stranglehold on the conference title.
Though the Fords scored in the first, second and third innings on Saturday, the pivotal frames were the sixth and seventh.
Hopkins had rallied from a 4-2 deficit to take the lead with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. However, Jake Chaplin's two-RBI single to left field in the top of the sixth pushed home William Bannard and Nick Miranda to give Haverford a lead, 6-5, it wouldn't relinquish.
Liscovitz slammed his team-leading fourth home run of the season in the seventh, also plating Alex Hudak who had just doubled with two outs, to give the Fords some extra cushion against the league's top seed in the tournament.
The Blue Jays drew within one with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh but Jeremy Zoll singled home Chaplin in the eighth and Bannard singled home Liscovitz in the ninth to build the advantage to three.
Hopkins struck for one more run in the bottom of the ninth but a double-play cleared the bases and reliever Kevin Goff closed the door inducing a game-ending ground-out.
Goff earned a save throwing the final four innings for Haverford, allowing two earned and one unearned runs off of six hits while walking none. Fords starting pitcher Jonny Black (4-0) picked up the win going five innings and surrendering five runs off of six hits.
Sam Eagleson (4-5) started for the Blue Jays and took the loss. He lasted 5.1 innings giving up six runs, one was unearned, while walking three and fanning four.
Liscovitz finished with a 3-for-5 day registering three RBIs and scoring three times. Chaplin and Zoll picked up two RBIs each while Miranda and Bannard each added one RBI. Miranda and Zoll scored twice for the Fords.
Saturday's victory over Hopkins was the third in a row -- likely the first time in program history the Fords have defeated the Blue Jays three straight times -- after Haverford swept a doubleheader on the last Saturday of the regular season.
In Friday's opening round games, the Fords beat Washington College while Hopkins downed McDaniel College to set up Saturday's contest. Washington, which eliminated McDaniel with a win over the Green Terror in Saturday morning's game, must defeat Johns Hopkins on Saturday to avoid a trip out the door as well.