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Baseball's Postseason Run Ends in Centennial Conference Tournament

Owen Plambeck
Owen Plambeck

BALTIMORE – The Haverford College baseball team (20-16-1) dropped a pair of contests in the Centennial Conference tournament on Saturday afternoon at Babb Field on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. Haverford saw its run in the double-elimination tournament end with the defeats as fourth-ranked and top-seeded Johns Hopkins and third-seeded Ursinus will advance to the Championship round on Sunday afternoon.  

Owen Plambeck hit a home run in each of the two contests while Ben Furlong homered in the eighth inning of the second contest to match the Centennial lead in the category with 10 and take second in Haverford's single-season record books.

Game One: #4 Johns Hopkins 4, Haverford 1

The first game of the day was a pitchers' duel between Haverford first year Brandon Jenkins (3-1) and Nick Bodner of Johns Hopkins. The contest went the way of the host Blue Jays, who won their 18th straight contest with an eighth-inning rally.

Jenkins worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first inning, inducing a flyout off the bat of Alex Darwiche to end an early threat for the host Blue Jays. The Fords had a chance to strike for early runs in the third inning as Plambeck and Ethan Lee-Tyson  reached on consecutive one-out singles, but Bodner was able to induce a pop out off the bat of Matt Goss to end the threat.

In the third inning, the Blue Jays briefly appeared to take the lead on a Mike Smith sacrifice fly, but Conor Reynolds was called out for leaving third base early on appeal. The Fords took the early momentum swing as the Blue Jays saw a potential 1-0 lead turn into an inning ending double play.

In the fifth inning after two were out, Plambeck launched a home run on Bodner's eighth pitch of the at-bat, easily clearing the right field fence with a shot that settled between a pair of parked cars on University Parkway.

Ryan Orgielewicz singled for the first hit for Johns Hopkins since the third inning in the eighth and Smith followed with a single of his own. The next batter, Tommy Mee, singled into left field to tie the score at 1-1. Darwiche followed with a double down the left field line to plate a run as the hosts pulled ahead 2-1.

Anthony Rizzo was summoned in relief of Jenkins, surrendering an RBI ingle to Jon Hayden and a bases loaded walk before getting the Fords out of further trouble, inducing a pop out and a groundout as the Fords headed to bat down 4-1. 

Ryan Hejka worked around a pair of two-out singles from Ben Furlong and Burns to seal his six save of the season in the ninth. 

Jenkins was stellar in his most important collegiate start to date. The first-year starter struck out five over 7.1 innings, keeping a strong offensive teams at bay through the seven frames, allowing just five hits. Despite walking eight batters, Jenkins was able to work out of jams before falling victim to the late Blue Jays rally.

Lee-Tyson, Burns and Plambeck each had multi-hit contests for the Fords in the first game of the day.

Game Two: Ursinus 6, Haverford 4

In the second game of the day, the Fords faced a quick turnaround with first pitch slated just 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game with the Blue Jays. Haverford sent another first year pitcher to the mound in Dylan Livingston. Ursinus countered with David Drea (4-2), a winner in relief against Gettysburg in the first contest of the day.

The first six innings of the contest were defined by pitching and defense as all of the scoring in the contest happened in the final three frames.  The Fords loaded the bases against Drea in the first inning, as Matt Goss singled and Drea issued a pair of walks. Drea was able to recover, striking out Furlong and getting Burns to pop up to end the threat.

Livingston allowed a leadoff double to Alex Campbell in the second, but came back to strike out the side, turning away the heart of the Ursinus order with four strikeouts through two frames. Livingston struck out CJ Diana in the next frame to set a new career-best in strikeouts with five.

Ursinus put the first two runners of the inning on in the fourth, as Alex Mumme doubled down the left field line and Alex Campbell singled through the right side. Mumme was caught stealing by Sam Partee before Carter Usowski and Austin Kurey grounded out.

Nick Perez doubled in the fourth inning, but Drea was able to get out of trouble yet again. On the other side, Vincent Terry singled for the Bears in the fifth, before Livingston picked off the would-be base stealer to end the fifth, keeping things scoreless.

Burns led off the sixth inning with a single before Will Karp was called out for interference on a bunt attempt. Plambeck walked, advancing Burns into scoring position, but Nick Perez rocketed a grounder that was corralled by Ursinus for an inning-ending double play.

John Masella (0-2) took over in relief of Livingston to begin the seventh inning. After two quick outs, Kieran Geyer launched a home run to right center for a 1-0 Ursinus lead. Ursinus added another run in the inning on a Travis Kozak single through the right side of the infield to take a 2-0 advantage.

Steve DiStefano came into the contest and finished a scoreless seventh inning as Drea's final line included 6.1 innings allowing six hits and five walks while striking out two over 106 pitches.

Ursinus rallied for a three-run frame in the eighth inning to take a 5-0 lead. Furlong and Plambeck both launched solo shots in the bottom of the eighth to pull Haverford within 5-2 before Kurey hit a home run in the top of the ninth off Haverford reliever Patrick O'Shea for a 6-2 scoreline.

Ben Verducci was summoned to get the final out of the inning, ending the frame with a one-pitch appearance.

Matt Radwanski came into the contest in the ninth inning and the Fords immediately rallied to load the bases against the Bears' reliever. 

Furlong walked with the bases loaded to cut the the score to 6-3 and Burns hit a deep drive to center field for a sacrifice fly, making things interesting at 6-4. Karp grounded out to end the inning in the ninth, sending Ursinus to a win.

Livingston was excellent for Haverford, tossing six scoreless innings, striking out five while surrendering just five hits and two walks on 79 pitches. Goss and Plambeck each had multi-hit games for the Fords.  

The Fords finish the season with a record of 20-16-1, the seventh time in eight seasons Haverford has reached the 20-win plateau. The Fords qualified for the Centennial Conference tournament for the 10th straight season in 2017.