Baseball celebrates Senior Day with sweep of F&M

Justin Toran-Burrell/The Phoenix

As far as Senior Days go, it would be difficult to find a more perfect one than last Saturday, April 21, when the baseball team dominated conference opponent Franklin and Marshall 13-5 and 19-0 in the last home games for the class of 2012.

Igancio Rodriguez, who started in the Garnet’s game against the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats, was solid through four innings.

“You try to approach every game the same way, but this past Saturday definitely had a different feel to it,” second baseman Anthony Montalbano ’12 said. “Knowing that you are playing in your last home games ever in college, you try to take in as much as you can so you can appreciate and remember every detail.”

The Garnet, which had lost three of its last four games going into Saturday, had a lot to appreciate as it scored a combined 32 runs off of 32 hits in the doubleheader.

In the first inning of the afternoon, Swarthmore got on the scoreboard early, after Nicko Burnett ’14 reached home off of a delayed double steal with Tim Kwilos ’13, who stole second and then took third base off of a throwing error.

After a scoreless second, an RBI double by Montalbano drove in Zach Schmidt ’12 and a sac fly from catcher Mike Waterhouse ’12 increased the Garnet’s lead to 3-0 after three innings.

The fourth saw the gap widen between the Garnet and the Diplomats as a bases loaded triple from Burnett scored three runners. Another sac fly from Waterhouse drove in a run and left F&M trailing by seven going into the fifth.

Although the Dips showed life in that inning, scoring four runs off of five hits, their rally was short-lived as the Garnet responded by adding two runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh, which was all they would need to pick up the win.

Four of the six RBIs in those innings came from Kwilos, who is having a phenomenal individual season and is the Centennial Conference leader in RBIs (47) and second in hits (53). In addition to leading the conference, his 84 total bases put him in first place, in front of Waterhouse and Spencer Ross ’12, who both had 78 in 2010, for the most in one season at Swarthmore.

On the mound, starting pitcher Ignacio Rodriguez ’12 was solid through four innings, but allowed four quick runs in that frame and was relieved by Adam Hardy ’12, who picked up his second win of the season after allowing only two hits and no runs in three and two-thirds innings. Also performing well was the Garnet defense, which allowed only one error in the first game.

In between games one and two, the 12 seniors were honored in a ceremony and then it was back to the field for the second half of the twin bill. Much to the dismay of the Dips, the Garnet was even more dominant on offense in the second game, scoring 19 runs, including 13 in the seventh inning. Zach Powell ’15, who had no hits in his college career before Saturday, stole some of the spotlight from the honored seniors, going 4-4 in the game with six RBIs and two runs.

After an RBI double by junior designated hitter Sean Bryant, Powell continued the scoring in the first with a two RBI single that drove in both Burnett and Bryant. In the third, Powell had another two RBI base hit that extended the Garnet’s lead to five.

A single from Montalbano in the fourth drove in Michael Cameron ’12 from second base and put the Garnet ahead 6-0.

This was as many runs as the Garnet would need win the game, thanks to an absolutely dominant eight-inning effort from starting pitcher Kyle Crawford ’12, who picked up his sixth win of the season while allowing only five hits and striking out eight. With the 14th win of his career, Crawford is now tied with Neil Mejia ’14 for second most all-time in program history. Although the Garnet did not need much offensive production to support Crawford, it added 13 runs in the seventh inning for insurance.

The frame began with a walk by Rory McTear ’13, who would end up going to bat three times in the inning alone. Powell, Burnett, Montalbano, Cody Ruben ’14, and Brian Kaissi ’15 all had two RBIs off of singles in the seventh and Danny McMahon ’15, Scoop Ruxin ’15, and Nick Constantino ’14 brought home runners as well. The Dips went through four pitchers in the inning and only one, Brett Klatsky, allowed fewer than three runs. Pitcher Paul Giulio fared the worst of the four, allowing three earned runs off of two hits while recording no outs.

“I think the two big wins show how deep we are as a team,” Crawford said. We truly dominated all facets of the game and it’s easy to pitch when the team puts up runs.”

On Monday, the Garnet returned to action against Rutgers-Camden, but could not build off of Saturday’s wins as they fell 9-5 to the homestanding Scarlet Raptors. Montalbano, Waterhouse, and Bryant collected two hits apiece and Powell continued his tear, finishing the game with one hit and two RBIs.

This Saturday, the Garnet will conclude its season on the road with a doubleheader against the Dickinson Red Devils. At 7-9 and in seventh place in the Centennial, the team is not technically eliminated from the playoff race, but would require a lot of help in order to make the postseason. For a team that had its sights set on a conference championship at the beginning of the year, this season has been somewhat disappointing.

“We went through a rough stretch of conference games where we seemed to be lacking some combination of pitching, hitting, and fielding,” pitcher Adam Hardy ’12 said. “I think as a team we expected a different outcome, but I am proud of the way we have responded instead of giving up or tanking the rest of season.”

Nevertheless, the Garnet is resolved to come out swinging on Saturday and send its twelve seniors out on a win.

“I’m expecting a big performance from the team on Saturday against Dickinson,” Hardy continued.

“For the seniors these are our last games, but more importantly, I think the team wants to finish the season off on a high note.”

The class of 2012, which is the winningest in program history, will be remembered not only for its talent, but also its leadership on and off the field. Although the wins they have accumulated are now in the past, they have influenced the program’s future success through their strong example of how to play with passion and enjoyment.

The first game against Dickinson is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m.

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