Baseball falls to Haverford, splits versus Gettysburg

The Garnet infielders gather on the mound in the team’s recent 9-1 loss to Haverford. (Justin Toran-Burrell/The Phoenix)

It was a weekend to forget for Swarthmore’s baseball team, as the 16-6 Garnet lost to rival Haverford 9-1 at home on Friday and split a doubleheader with a 7-3 win and a 9-5 loss to conference foe Gettysburg on Saturday.

Fresh off a dominant 12-4 victory at Haverford on Mar. 27, the Garnet had high expectations for Friday’s contest against the Fords. Unfortunately for Swarthmore, however, events unfolded quite differently, with the team bearing little resemblance to the one that had routed Haverford only three days before. Scoring a lone run, the offense matched its season low, which occurred during a 12-1 loss to Widener on Mar. 14.

“We didn’t come out with the same energy,” shortstop Danny McMahon ’15 said. “On Tuesday, we came out and were aggressive swinging the bats and manufacturing runs and on Friday, we just weren’t able to fight at the plate like we had in the previous game.”

“We underestimated them,” left fielder Nicko Burnett ’14 added. “After coming out and solidly beating them, we got ahead of ourselves and assumed a win.”

Although the final 9-1 score doesn’t indicate it, much of the game was a pitcher’s duel between the Garnet’s Kyle Crawford ’12 and Haverford’s Tommy Bergjens.

Crawford and the Garnet defense were able to hold the Fords to two runs through seven innings, but things took a turn for the worse in the eighth. Behind six hits and three Garnet fielding errors, Haverford scored seven runs and put the game out of reach with a 9-0 lead.

Crawford’s counterpart Bergjens was in control all afternoon, striking out 10 and allowing only four hits and two walks in seven innings. On Monday, the Centennial Conference named Bergjens the Pitcher of the Week for his performance.

The next day, the Garnet traveled to Gettysburg to face the Bullets in its first conference doubleheader.

After allowing a run in the first frame, the Garnet gained the lead 2-1 after a productive second inning.

Walks from McMahon and catcher Miles Santo ’12 put two runners on base with no outs, and McMahon was driven in after a sac bunt and sac fly. Second baseman Anthony Montalbano ’12 hit a two-out single to bring home Santo and complete the scoring for the inning.

Gettysburg picked up two more runs in the bottom of the fourth and regained the advantage over the Garnet 3-2. In the top of the fifth, however, the offense responded, scoring the runs that would put the game out of reach for the Bullets.

After Burnett was hit by a pitch, singles by designated hitter Mike Waterhouse ’12 and right fielder Tim Kwilos ’13 loaded the bases with one out. A groundout brought in Burnett and a double from McMahon scored two more runs for the Garnet, putting it ahead for good by a score of 5-3.

In the sixth, the offense added two runs as insurance behind four hits and one fielding error by the Bullets.

With no outs, the Garnet already had two runners, Cody Ruben ’14 and Trevor Shepherd ’15, in scoring position with Montalbano, one of the team’s leading hitters, at the plate. His single drove in Ruben and a fly out from Burnett on the next at-bat brought Shepherd home for another run. A two-out double by Kwilos nearly scored Montalbano from first base, but a play at the plate ended the inning for the Garnet with two runs scored.

On the mound, starting pitcher Zach Weiner ’12 picked up the win, his third of the season, behind six strikeouts in 7.2 innings. In relief, pitcher Adam Hardy ’12 allowed one hit in 1.1 innings.

Unfortunately for the Garnet, game two continued the themes of inconsistency and missed opportunities, as the team left 14 runners stranded on base during the 5-9 loss to the Bullets.
In the first inning, the Garnet loaded the bases after singles from Burnett and McMahon and a walk from Kwilos, but a strikeout by designated hitter Sean Bryant ’13 ended the frame with all three stranded.

The teams traded runs in the second, but the Bullets began to pull away after adding three runs off two hits and an error in the bottom of fourth. A sac fly by Kwilos in the fifth brought home Burnett and the Garnet lessened the deficit to 4-2.

After a scoreless sixth, the Garnet missed an opportunity to regain the lead, leaving three runners on base in the seventh. With one out and the bases loaded, a sac fly by Mike Cameron ’12 scored Burnett and advanced Waterhouse to third and McMahon to second. Pinch hitter Bryce Codell ’13 earned a free pass to first base after being hit by a pitch and the bases were again loaded for the Garnet, which was only down by one run at that point. A strikeout at the next at-bat, however, ended the inning with Gettysburg still on top.

The Bullets responded with an offensive outburst in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs off of five hits, which effectively put the game out of reach. In the eighth, they added another run as Swarthmore struggled on defense, committing two fielding errors in quick succession.

The ninth inning saw some offensive production from the Garnet, which added two runs from Kwilos and McMahon but it was too little too late, as the team fell 9-5, splitting yet another double-header. It is the fourth time this season that the Garnet has lost the second game of a twinbill after winning the first.

“There is a huge let down losing that second game, especially after proving that we are capable of beating the team,” said McMahon. “That is something that we still have to prove to ourselves and everyone else, that we can play 18 innings of focused and quality baseball.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the Garnet went on the road to Chestertown, MD to face Washington College with the desire to prove itself against the conference leaders. (More to be added when results are available)

The Garnet will play the Shoremen again at home on Apr. 5 with the opening pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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