Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, April 8, 2005
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Burkhart Breaks Strikeout Record

Junior Matt Tobia led off the bottom of the 10th with his second home run of the season, giving the Muhlenberg baseball team a thrilling 7-6 Centennial Conference win against Haverford.

Rebounding from Tuesday’s 21-1 disaster at the hands of the Fords, the
Gregg Burkhart
Burkhart has struck out 186 batters in 177 career innings. The previous whiff king, Steve Weidner (1981-84), fanned 185 in 212 innings. Burkhart is tied for eighth in CC history in strikeouts.
Mules (11-4, 3-1) moved into a tie for first place in the CC with Haverford, Gettysburg and Ursinus.

Muhlenberg scored five runs in the second and held a 6-3 lead after four innings, but the Fords (13-10, 3-1) crept back with one in the sixth, one in the eighth and one in the ninth.

The run in the ninth resembled Swarthmore’s game-tying run in the Mules’ first CC game last week. As in that game, the equalizer scored with two out when junior Chad Hegstrom came up just short on a diving attempt to catch a fly ball down the right-field line.

Muhlenberg went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth. In the top of the 10th, Haverford’s leadoff man singled but did not advance any further.

In the bottom of the 10th, Tobia drove a 1-1 fastball high and deep over the 340 sign in left field for the walkoff home run. Coincidentally, Tobia also scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th against Swarthmore.

The dramatic ending put a happy finish to a milestone day for senior Gregg Burkhart, who struck out three to become the Mules’ all-time leader with 186 career strikeouts. Burkhart pitched into the eighth inning and allowed only four hits to a Haverford team that had averaged 14 runs in its last four games.

Big two-out hits were the key to the five-run rally in the second. The first two runs scored on an infield groundout and Hegstrom’s suicide squeeze bunt. After the second out, sophomore Ryan Sassaman singled to left to score two more runs, and senior Matthew Long capped the rally with a triple to the fence in right field.

Sophomore A.J. Bettini tripled to lead off the fourth and came in on a groundout.

Muhlenberg played outstanding defense throughout the game. Senior C.J. Kessler made two nice catches going back on the ball in center field, Bettini threw out a runner trying to bunt his way on in the seventh, and sophomore first baseman Mike Hart temporarily prevented the tying run from scoring with a diving stop in the ninth.

The Mules’ 11-4 record ties their best ever after 15 games.

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Last updated April 8, 2005