Baseball Locks Up Win Before Losing Locks

Sunday, April 6, 2014 - page 2

A late rally by Washington College wasn’t the only close shave the Muhlenberg baseball team experienced on a special Sunday at Cedarcreek Field.

John Scuderi
Scuderi, before and after shaving. Through an online pledge form and e-mails to family and friends, Muhlenberg has raised nearly $15,000 over the last two years; half of all proceeds will benefit national childhood cancer research, and the other half will help kids directly at Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital.
Shortly after holding off the Shoremen for an 8-5 victory, their third straight in Centennial Conference play, many Mules donated their locks in support of the Vs. Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving kids’ lives by empowering athletes and communities to fund lifesaving childhood cancer efforts.

Before having their heads shaved, the Mules (10-10, 3-2) were in total command until a nervous ninth inning. Muhlenberg, playing the third contest of a stretch of nine games in eight days, sent 13 batters to the plate and scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth, opening up an 8-0 lead.

Senior Brett Rosen started the fireworks with a bomb to left field, his first homer of the season and third of his career, and ended them after getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. In between, junior Jimmy Cody and senior John Scuderi had run-scoring singles, with Scuderi’s plating a pair.

Junior Matthew Lawsky had little trouble making the advantage stand up. The right-hander tossed eight strong innings, surrendering only a pair of earned runs before exiting with an 8-3 lead. Then things got hairy – no pun intended.

John Icaza Washington (11-11, 2-4) pulled to within three and had runners on second and third in the top of the ninth. But for the second straight day, Phillip Balseca was there to put out the fire.

The junior inherited a jam, entering the game with the tying run at the plate and just one down. Balseca induced a lineout to center, then fired a called third strike past the Washington batter to nail down his second save of the season.

A year ago, the Mules had to get their hair cut after a loss. This time there was no buzzkill, just the buzz of electric razors after Muhlenberg stretched its league winning streak to three for the first time since 2011.

The Mules didn’t even need a hit to get the game started on the right foot. Muhlenberg plated a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the first, which began with a walk and stolen base by freshman John Icaza. Three batters later, an error loaded the bases with one out, and senior Nick Kennedy opened the scoring with an RBI groundout. After a hit batter, junior Nick Plinio drew the third walk of the frame, plating Scuderi to make it 2-0.

Scuderi had a monster day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and three runs scored. He needs three more runs to become the 10th Mule to record 100 in his career. Icaza (left) swiped a bag and scored a pair of runs from his leadoff spot, and classmate Robbie Hopes delivered a pinch-hit RBI single that gave the Mules a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
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