Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Saturday, April 16, 2005
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Baseball Splits with First-Place Gettysburg

Senior Matthew Cooper pitched his first career complete game, striking out a career-high eight over nine innings, to lift the Muhlenberg baseball team to a 13-2 victory over Gettysburg in the second game of a doubleheader.

The Bullets (15-15, 8-4), who came in tied for first in the Centennial Conference, took the opener, 8-5.

Cooper, making his first start in a month, gave the pitching staff a big lift in the Mules’ six-games-in-six-days stretch. His nine-hitter was the staff’s first complete game of the year.

He was backed by an offense that produced 13 hits – seven of them for extra bases, including five triples – against a Bullet staff that had a 1.80 ERA in CC games.

Senior C.J. Kessler led off the bottom of the first with a three-bagger and hit another triple to drive in a run in the next inning. Junior Matt Tobia tripled in the first and swatted his fifth home run of the season in the third.

Muhlenberg (13-8, 5-5) broke open a 6-1 game with five runs in the bottom of the seventh. The big hits were a two-run double by sophomore Mike Hart, extending his hitting streak to 11, and a two-run triple by junior Mike Goin, who recorded his first career RBI.

The Mules got off to a horrid start, committing three errors in the first inning of Game 1 to fall into a quick 5-0 hole. They battled back to tie the score with three in the third and two in the fourth, but Gettysburg scored single runs in each of the final three innings to hand Muhlenberg its first home loss of the season.

Click here for line scores.

“We know that the school and the softball team hold a lot of memories for you,” senior Becki Toth told a sizable gathering of alumni, former coaches, parents and friends in the grand opening ceremonies for the Muhlenberg’s new home softball field. “We welcome you to join us on this field and make some new memories.”

Six hours, one delayed bus trip and one dramatic comeback later, Toth was true to her word, capping a memorable day by driving in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Mules a doubleheader sweep of Washington.

The 5-3, 5-4 sweep was Muhlenberg’s first in Centennial Conference play this year and gave the softball team 21 straight years of double digits in victories. That ties the school record for all sports set twice by men’s basketball.

Toth came into the doubleheader needing one hit to become the program’s all-time leader. She didn’t have to wait long, even though the start was delayed by an hour because the Washington bus got lost. She blooped a single to right field leading off the bottom of the first inning of Game 1 for her 173rd career hit.

“It was always a goal I had after getting 50 hits as a freshman,” said Toth, a fifth-year senior whose sophomore year was cut short by a knee injury. “After getting hurt I battled back. I can’t even explain how good it feels to have my name at the top of the list.”

Toth eventually scored after her record-breaking hit as well as in the fourth, when she came around on sophomore Tina Roth’s two-out, three-run double, which proved to be the game-winning hit.

The Mules (11-12, 5-3) led 5-0 after four, but the Shorewomen (15-11, 3-7) scored three times in the fifth. After Washington got the tying runs into scoring position with nobody out in the sixth, sophomore Nicole Washburn induced three straight groundouts to preserve the 5-3 win.

The teams saved most of the offense for extra innings in the second game, which was tied 1-1 after seven. Washington appeared headed for victory when it scored three runs in the top of the eighth.

In the bottom of the eighth, Toth and sophomore Katie Olson reached on consecutive bunt singles to lead off the inning. The next two batters grounded out, however, leaving Muhlenberg to its final out.

Junior Tara DeMarzo lined a double to right center to get the Mules within one, and junior Lindsay Ruhling poked a double down the right-field line to bring home DeMarzo with the tying run.

Winning pitcher Katie Vecchione retired the side in order in the top of the ninth, then led off the bottom of the inning with a line single off the third baseman. After Washburn’s sacrifice, Toth drove the ball to the fence in left-center to bring home Vecchione with the winning run.

“This was a total team effort,” said Toth. “To win the game like that is incredible. We stuck it out and never stopped trying.”

Click here for line scores.

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Last updated April 16, 2005