GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Faced with the task of sweeping a formidable Gettysburg squad on the road to reach the Centennial Conference playoffs for a 10th straight season, the Haverford College baseball team delivered when it mattered most. Haverford took a pair of victories to earn the second seed in the Centennial Conference tournament. The Fords used an eight-run inning to sink the Bullets 13-6 in the first game before mounting multiple late-game rallies to fend off the hosts 7-5 in the second game.
Haverford and Gettysburg will both enter the Centennial Conference tournament as the Fords record now sits at 19-14-1 (10-7-1 CC) while Gettysburg falls to the fourth seed with a 22-15-2 (10-8 CC) record.
Game One: Haverford 13, Gettysburg 6
The Fords wasted no time getting to work offensively against Gettysburg starter Eric Brown (2-4). After the Bullets took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Connor Tom against Brandon Jenkins (2-1), Nick Perez powered a two-RBI double for a 2-1 Fords lead in the top of the second. Jenkins set down the Bullets in order in the second before an eight-run frame in the top of the third gave Haverford some early breathing room.
Ben Furlong and Harrison Burns were each hit by pitches to lead off the inning before the Bullets summoned Jack Havard to the mound in an early relief assignment. Will Karp doubled and Nick Perez reached on an error before Owen Plambeck delivered an RBI single for a 5-1 lead. Ethan Lee-Tyson then powered a three-run homer for an 8-1 advantage.
Matt Goss walked and Spencer Sohmer singled before Furlong came up for his second at bat of the inning, singling home Goss. Will Valentine was brought in from the bullpen and Burns reached base for the second time in the frame on a single. Nick Perez walked with the bases loaded as the eight-run, six-hit half inning ended with the Fords on top 10-1.
Connor Tom and J.J. Lucido hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the bottom of the inning to pull Gettysburg closer at 10-4, but Jenkins settled down to stifle the Bullets over the next three innings, allowing the Fords to continue to build the advantage.
The First-year hurler Jenkins pitched seven strong innings, allowing five runs but striking out two. Anthony Rizzo finished the contest with the final two frames, striking out one while allowing one earned run in another solid relief outing for the senior.
Goss added an RBI double in the sixth while Karp and Lee-Tyson each delivered RBI singles in the seventh as Haverford extended its lead.
Lee-Tyson led the way with four RBI in game one. Perez tallied three. Sam Partee and Will Karp each had three-hit games as the Fords pounded out 17 hits, including four doubles and 12 singles along with Lee-Tyson's round-tripper.
The three-four-five hitters in the Gettysburg order each posted three-hit games, with Tom the top performer with four RBI to his credit in a losing effort.
Valentine hurled 4.2 innings in relief for Gettysburg, striking out six to help keep things in-hand for the hosts.
Game Two: Haverford 7, Gettysburg 5
The starting assignment in game two went to another first-year pitcher as Dylan Livingston got the ball in what was revealed as a must-win game for Haverford after out-of-town results necessitated a Haverford victory for a playoff spot.
Lee-Tyson struck for a leadoff triple against Bullets starter Chase Stopyra, scoring on a Partee sacrifice fly for the first run of the game. Ben Furlong added an RBI double in the frame and the Fords had an early 2-0 lead.
With two down in the bottom of the first, Livingston surrendered a single to Will Anderson. Tom followed with an RBI triple that cut the Haverford lead in half at 2-1.
The score held at 2-1 until Livingston faced some trouble in the fifth inning. The Bullets loaded the bases with no outs before Livingston was able to induce a fielder's choice groundout that forced a runner at home. The next batter, Anderson, walked after a full-count battle, to tie the score at 2-2.
Gettysburg took the lead in the sixth inning against reliever Ben Verducci. Tate Frodsham walked and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch ahead of a Tyler Mitchell single to left field that plated the go-ahead run at 3-2.
The Fords responded with a two-out rally in the top of the seventh to retake the lead against reliever Will Wortmann. Lee-Tyson and Sohmer were hit by pitches ahead of Partee, who raked a powerful, towering double to left-center, plating a pair for a 4-3 lead and firing up the Haverford bench.
Gettysburg had an answer in the bottom of the inning as Lucido launched a two-run homer after two quick outs, regaining the lead 5-4.
Undaunted, the Fords had plans for yet another comeback in the eighth. Karp led off the inning with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt. Karp moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error as the Fords manufactured the tying run home. After Goss singled, Sohmer doubled into the left center field gap, plating the go-ahead run as well as an insurance tally. After the much obliged jolt, the Fords took a 7-5 lead in the eighth inning.
Patrick O'Shea (2-1), who had entered the game in the bottom of the sixth to quell a Gettysburg rally, escaped trouble in the bottom of the eighth as the Bullets loaded the bases with two out. O'Shea gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but induced a double play from Lucido and a lineout from Dominick Gasparro to seal the doubleheader sweep for Haverford and send the Fords pouring out of the dugout to celebrate another trip to the Centennial tournament.
Lee-Tyson, Goss and Karp each had two-hit games in the second game, while Partee had 3 RBI. Livingston was effective over five-innings to take a no-decision. The first-year pitcher struck out three and surrendered just four hits over five innings. O'Shea worked the final 3.1, striking out one to nail down a win.
The Fords advance to the Centennial Conference tournament for the 10th straight season and the 12th time in 13 seasons. Last season, the Fords hosted McDaniel at Kannerstein Field, taking the first of three straight en-route to capturing the title in Baltimore.
The defending Centennial Conference champions will open up the double-elimination conference postseason slate with a home game on Thursday against Ursinus at Kannerstein Field. Game time is to be announced.