HAVERFORD, Pa. – Nick Ott's two-RBI double into right-center field completed a three-run eighth inning for Haverford College and allowed the Fords to rally from behind in their, 5-4, non-conference baseball win over visiting Neumann University on Tuesday afternoon at Kannerstein Field.
Haverford (27-9) picked up the win over the Knights (27-11) in the final game of the regular season with a quartet of Fords -- Jonny Black, Kevin Goff, Alex Hudak and Matt Liscovitz -- playing their final home game. The foursome, and the rest of the Fords, will continue their season on Friday at Gettysburg College in the opening game of the Centennial Conference tournament.
Casey Fox led off the home half of the eighth inning with a sharp single up the middle off of Neumann reliever Jake Yarber. An off-the-mark pick-off attempt from Yarber to first base was errant enough to allow Fox to round second and cruise into third base standing up.
From the batter's box Justin Coulter patiently watched Fox roll into scoring position on the failed pick-off attempt then pounded a Yarber offering through the left side to bring Fox home and cut a two-run deficit in half.
Hudak walked to move Coulter up to second, followed by a Liscovitz infield single into the hole to the right of the shortstop which loaded the bases for Ott.
The freshman catcher lashed a stand-up double into right-center to bring Coulter home as the tying run and Hudak in as the eventual winning run.
That would be all for Yarber (1-2) as he surrendered three runs without getting an out and gave way to Erik Klimoff to try to clean up the mess. Klimoff succeeded in preventing any more damage by the Fords but a game-long lead for the Knights had disappeared and put the Fords three outs away from a come-from-behind victory.
Clay Bloszies had pitched the top of the eighth for the Fords and gallantly battled out of a jam to keep the Fords within two runs of the Knights.
Neumann's Buddy Elgin doubled into the right-field corner to start the inning off Bloszies and the next batter, Tyler Drinkard, did the same. However, Liscovitz's effort on the Drinkard hit caused Elgin to hold up in case the ball was caught and limited the base runner to only one base on the Drinkard double.
Bloszies induced a pair of infield pop-ups to the next batters then finished off the inning with an easy grounder to first base where Coulter's scoop and step on the bag erased the threat.
The three runs in the bottom of the frame pushed Haverford ahead for the first time in the game, and Bloszies handed the ball off to Goff to polish off the win.
The first batter Goff faced, Marty Sessa, hit a ball well enough to tie the game but Liscovitz, getting a lot of work in his last game at Kannerstein, leaped high above the fence in right and brought back Sessa's long fly ball for the first out of the inning.
Goff then snared a sharp grounder his way, trotted over toward first and with underhand flip to Coulter registered the second out of the inning. The final out to preserve the win was an easy grounder to second baseman Mike Tentilucci's left and that easy flip to Coulter sealed the deal and gave Goff his seventh save of the season, in his final appearance at Kannerstein.
Bloszies (3-1) picked up the win as the pitcher of record when the Fords took the lead for good. The sophomore right-hander pitched one scoreless inning and allowed two hits without a walk. Black earned the start and a no-decision on the day. In between relief appearances by Michael de Armas and Max Gerard, George Hatamiya pitched three innings and limited the Knights to no runs on two hits and two walks while striking out one.
Tentilucci had a good day at the plate reaching safely each of his four times up to bat. He singled three times and reached on a fielder's choice bunt in the eighth. Coulter and Liscovitz each collected a pair of hits in the win. Ott's only hit of the game proved to be the most important one in the rallying eighth inning.
Haverford heads into the Centennial tournament on a winning note with Tuesday's victory. The game at Gettysburg will be a re-match of the final conference date on the schedule with the host Bullets sweeping a doubleheader from the Fords this past Saturday.