Offensive Explosion Highlights Baseball's Split at No. 22 Gettysburg

Saturday, April 19, 2014 - page 2

It may not have felt like the dog days of summer, but the Muhlenberg baseball teams sure made a beautiful spring day look like perfect hitting weather at Gettysburg.

Robbie Hopes The Mules pounded out 20 hits – their most in a Centennial Conference game since 2009 – en route to a 12-4 victory over the Bullets, who came in ranked No. 22 in Division III, in the opener of their penultimate twin bill. The offensive explosion continued into the nightcap, but a four-run lead fell by the wayside as the first-place hosts gained a split with a 12-7 decision.

Junior Kurt Johnson swung the hottest of many scorching bats for the Mules in a game in which every starter but one managed to record a hit and also score a run or drive one in.

Johnson came up with a career-best five hits, two of them doubles, in his best offensive performance as a Mule. The shortstop also scored three runs and drove in three more, including a two-run double in a six-run top of the sixth, after which Muhlenberg had opened up an 11-0 lead on a Bullets team that came in with only one CC loss on its ledger and had a 23-game winning streak snapped a day earlier.

Junior Jimmy Cody and freshman Robbie Hopes (left) each produced three hits and scored twice for the Mules (15-14, 8-5), who are tied with McDaniel for second place in the league standings. Senior John Scuderi was 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored two runs, including the 100th of his career, making him just the 10th player in team history to reach that milestone.

Troy Elias Freshman John Icaza added two runs, junior Nick Plinio knocked in two more with a pair of hits and walked twice, and senior Max Litvak drove in a run with the Mules’ sixth multi-hit performance of the game.

Not to be forgotten amidst all the fireworks was a strong effort on the mound by freshman Troy Elias (right), who worked six effective innings to pick up the win in his first career start. The rookie scattered seven hits and struck out four to improve to 2-0 as Muhlenberg defeated the Bullets for the first time in three years.

The good vibes carried over to the second game, when the Mules opened up a 5-1 lead with a fourth-inning outburst highlighted by back-to-back-to-back doubles. The first six runners reached base in the frame, starting with Scuderi’s leadoff single. After that came consecutive two-baggers by Hopes, Litvak and Johnson to make it 3-1. An infield hit by junior Conor McDermott plated another run, and Muhlenberg tacked on one more to go ahead by four.

The Bullets, however, rebounded with one in the fourth and five more in the fifth to take a 7-5 lead. The Mules came right back to tie it in the sixth on a run-scoring double by Hopes and a throwing error, but Gettysburg (27-5, 12-2) scored in the bottom half to regain the lead and tacked on four more runs in the seventh to end the visitors’ hopes of a sweep that would have put them one game out of first place in the loss column.

Hopes had another big game in the second half of the twin bill, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI. The rookie, who came into the day with five hits and four runs scored this season, had six hits and crossed the plate four times on Saturday.
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2