SWARTHMORE, Pa. - What seemed like a dream just a few years ago is now a reality; The Swarthmore College baseball team is going to the Centennial Conference playoffs.
Sophomore Mike Cameron's double to deep centerfield brought home the game-winning run as the Swarthmore College baseball team (18-12, 10-6) rallied from down 7-4 in the ninth inning to defeat Franklin & Marshall 8-7 in the second game of the doubleheader sweep on Saturday afternoon from Clothier Field.
In the first game of the doubleheader, senior Jimmy Gill and sophomore Spencer Ross each hit three-run home runs to lead a huge offensive stand as the Garnet would leave the Dips in dust with the 18-5 win. Starting pitcher junior Neil Mejia went the distance, striking out seven batters.
The victories send the Garnet to the Centennial Conference playoffs for the first time in program history.
Gill - who is having a breakout senior season - finished the day with two home runs, one in each game. His six home runs for the season are the most by a Garnet individual since Dick Hall hit 11 home runs in 1952.
In the second game, the Diplomats looked as if they would escape Clothier with a split that would keep their playoff hopes very much alive. But the resilient Garnet, who have overcome nearly every obstacle to get to where it is as a team and as a program, had a different idea.
Sophomore Mike Waterhouse got things started with a leadoff walk, and was promptly knocked home by sophomore Anthony Montalbano, who doubled to centerfield, cutting the lead to 7-5. With new F&M pitcher Michael Ham on the mound, Ross greeted him immediately with an RBI single, pushing Montalbano to third and bringing the winning run to the plate. Next up, Gill grounded out to first but more importantly brought home a run, cutting the lead to 7-6.
Next to the plate for the Garnet, sophomore Miles Santo picked up a critical walk, putting runners and first and third and setting the stage for Cameron. With one out, Cameron connected with one of the biggest hits and Swarthmore baseball history, smashing a double over the centerfielder's glove, bringing home the winning run to the give the thrilling 8-7 comeback win.
Junior Adam Koshkin (2-0) picked up the victory in relief for the Garnet, working a flawless ninth inning. Starter freshman Dylan Jensen worked 6.2 innings with four strikeouts and just three earned runs.
In the first game, Swat dominated the Dips in all phases of the game, pounding and out 18 runs and 20 hits in just seven innings for the 18-5 win.
Ross led the way with four hits and five RBIs in the game, including his three-run homer. Montalbano and Gill both finished with three hits.
Swarthmore has now reached double-digit wins in the Centennial Conference for the first time since 1996. To illustrate how far the program has come, the Garnet combined for just 10 Centennial wins between 2006 and 2009.
Senior Wiley Archibald finished with three hits, which gives him 100 for his career.
The Garnet return to action on Sunday with a non-conference game with PSU-Abington beginning at 1:00 p.m.