Pitching Carries Baseball to Doubleheader Sweep

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Track & field Softball, women’s lacrosse Tennis

Strong pitching performances by juniors David Anderson and Nick Gies carried the Muhlenberg baseball team to its first two Centennial Conference wins of the season with a doubleheader sweep at McDaniel.

David Anderson Anderson allowed only three hits and no earned runs in 8 1/3 innings in the opener but did not factor in the decision as the Mules (9-10, 2-2) won 3-2 in 10 innings. Gies was just as nice in the nightcap, tossing eight shutout innings in a 4-0 victory.

The two runs were the fewest allowed by Muhlenberg in a doubleheader sweep since 2001, when it posted 3-1 and 15-0 wins at Washington. The sweep of McDaniel was the Mules’ first since 2009 and their first in Westminster since 1993, before the formation of the CC.

Anderson (left) struck out only three but got 17 of his 25 outs on the ground. For the game, Muhlenberg had 21 assists, two short of the school record, which took 17 innings to achieve.

Junior Kurt Johnson singled to lead off the second and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Michael Giordano to stake the Mules to an early lead. The Green Terror (7-12, 1-3) scored unearned runs in the third and fifth, however, to jump ahead.

Nick Gies The score remained 2-1 until the top of the eighth, when senior John Scuderi drew a two-out walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single up the middle by classmate Max Litvak.

Anderson struck out the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the ninth, but the next reached on a fielding error. After back-to-back walks, junior Phillip Balseca came in with the winning run on third and one out. He got a called third strike on the first batter he faced, then ended the inning on a fly to center, sending the game into extra innings.

Junior Danny Usewick, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth, led off the top of the 10th with a single. Freshman John Icaza bunted him to second, and following the out the McDaniel first baseman tried to pick Usewick off second. His threw went into left field, and Usewick came all the way around with the go-ahead run.

In the bottom of the inning, Usewick turned a 5-4-3 double play after the leadoff batter singled. Balseca retired the final hitter on a groundout to earn his first win of the season.

The second game had no such late dramatics after the Mules jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a two-run single by senior Nick Kennedy in the top of the first. Gies (and junior Austin Cush, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth) also induced the Green Terror to hit the ball on the ground, getting 15 groundouts. Johnson recorded nine assists, one short of the school record for a shortstop.

Gies (right) fanned two and stranded runners in scoring position in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh. He got some help in the seventh, the only inning in which he allowed more than two batters to reach base, when junior centerfielder Jimmy Cody threw out a runner trying to stretch a leadoff single into a double.

Muhlenberg added insurance runs in the seventh and eighth. Johnson singled to lead off the seventh, his second hit of the game, stole second and scored on a ground ball. A two-out single by junior Nick Plinio brought in Litvak in the eighth.
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2