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Baseball edges Martin Luther College, 8-7

(Posted March 8, 2009)

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- A dropped pop-up with two out in the bottom of the ninth allowed Juniata College catcher Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Mad./Dulaney) to score the game-winning run from second base as the Eagles squeaked out an 8-7 win over Martin Luther College, Sunday night at the Lawnwood Complex in Fort Pierce, Fla.

Hoffman reached on a one-out single, and advanced to second on a walk issued to right fielder Ian Thorne (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley). Designated hitter Dane Ott (South Williamsport, Pa./South Williamsport) flied out to left field, and with two outs third baseman Thomas Eck (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) popped up onto the grass behind second base.

However Martin Luther second baseman Mike Haugley dropped the ball, allowing Hoffman to score all the way from second and lift Juniata to the win.

Juniata (3-0) did most of its damage in the fourth and fifth innings, scoring three runs in each frame. The Eagles' fourth was keyed by a two-run triple off the bat of Ott, while a three-run blast by second baseman Kevin Small (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North) led the Juniata fifth.

Martin Luther responded with four runs in the eighth inning to tie the game, with Steve Gurgel's two-run single and an RBI drive by Zach Pudlo accounting for three runs.

Sophomore righthander Marty Hauck (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) got the start for Juniata, allowing seven hits and striking out four in six complete innings of work. Reliever Chad Kulik (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) came on in the eighth inning for freshman William Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney), who entered the game at the start of the seventh, and allowed one hit while striking out four to pick up the win.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.