LANCASTER, Pa. – In the first game of the 2019 Centennial Conference baseball tournament, the Haverford College baseball team (18-19) was out-dueled by host Franklin & Marshall (27-13), falling by a 2-0 final at Caplan Field. Diplomats Senior Danny Blugis roped a bases-loaded, one-out single in the bottom of the seventh, notching a pair of RBI for what proved to be the difference in the tightly contested matchup.
The game immediately lived up to its postseason billing as Haverford senior Luke Duris (3-4) and Franklin & Marshall's Jonathan Cole (7-2) locked horns in a riveting pitchers' duel, with the game scoreless through the first six frames. Duris logged six plus inning of work, surrendering just three hits and two earned runs, striking out four Diplomats. Cole was just as masterful, but worked through traffic on multiple occasions as he allowed just four hits in his eight innings of work, striking out eight while walking four batters and issuing four hit basemen.
Juniors Harrison Burns and Luke Wallis both drew first inning walks with two out, but Cole was able to work out of the jam, inducing a fly out to retire the side. Senior Jared Turner laced a two-out double in the second, and senior Nick Perez was hit by a pitch, but Cole again worked out of trouble for the second straight frame.
Turner was hit by a pitch with one out in the seventh, and junior Will Karp reached on a hard-hit infield single to third, putting a running in scoring position for the Fords for the fourth time in the contest. Cole was able to induce a groundout, escaping into the bottom of the inning unblemished.
Kelsey Launi led off the bottom of the seventh with a double into the right-center field gap, and a Duris pitch then hit Don DiLoreto. After the pair moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, junior reliever Brandon Jenkins struck out Matthew Kann for the first out of the inning. Will Samuel was then walked intentionally, loading the bases for Blugis. Blugis fired a single through the left side of the infield, plating a pair as Franklin & Marshall struck first. Jenkins recovered to limit the damage, inducing a fly out off the bat of Justin Cavegn and picking Blugis off of first to send Haverford back to the bat racks down by just the pair.
Wallis drew a one-out walk in the Haverford eighth, and moved to second on a groundout by junior Owen Plambeck. A Cole pitch hit first-year Zach Landry, and senior Sam Partee then coaxed a walked after a spirited at bat, loading the bases. Unfortunately for the Fords, Cole was again able to wiggle out of trouble, stranding the bases loaded in his final inning on the mound.
Jenkins twirled a perfect inning in the eighth, striking out a pair of Diplomats to send Haverford to the ninth well within striking distance of Franklin & Marshall. The Diplomats went to the bullpen, summoning Blugis from the catcher spot to the mound for a save opportunity. Blugis induced a pair of quick flyouts, and worked around a two out walk to senior Ethan Lee-Tyson, securing his sixth save of the season in a vital win for the hosts.
Jenkins continued his stellar season in relief, tossing two innings of one-hit baseball, striking out three against one walk. The Fords turned three double plays in the game, a season-best.
The Fords now will face off with the loser of the Muhlenberg/Johns Hopkins contest slated for later this afternoon in an elimination game at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, as the double-elimination tournament continues in Baltimore.