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Baseball closes out Merchant Marine series with 13-8 loss to Mariners

(Posted April 5, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College pounded 15 hits off four different Merchant Marine pitchers, but a nine-run outburst lifted the Mariners to a 13-8 win over the Eagles, in Landmark Conference baseball action Sunday afternoon on Langdon-Goodale Field.

Second baseman Kevin Small (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North) led the Eagles at the plate with a 4-for-5 effort, including an RBI single in the third inning and a double in the sixth to plate another run.

Shortstop Andrew Kriss (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) and left fielder Matt Sullivan (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown) each had three hits for the Eagles, while designated hitter Dane Ott (South Williamsport, Pa./South Williamsport) crushed a two-run home run in the sixth for his only hit of the game.

Juniata (8-13, 2-7 Landmark) took an 8-4 lead with five runs in the sixth, taking advantage of five hits - including the Ott homer, Small double, and another RBI double off the bat of Adam Spadafora (Asbury, N.J./Pennington School).

A three-up, three-down inning for the Mariners in the seventh, through the aid of a Juniata double play, left the Eagles six outs away from the win.

However the Mariners (11-7, 7-4 Landmark) put nine runs on the scoreboard in the top of the eighth on eight hits, three walks, and a sacrifice fly. Juniata was unable to recover, and was held to just one hit over the remaining two innings.

The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the third on Small RBI single, before Merchant Marine tied the game in the top of the fourth on Davey May's sac fly to center field to score Darin Coleman. Juniata regained the lead with two runs in the bottom half of the frame, both unearned after errors by the Mariners' first and third basemen.

Merchant Marine's two runs in the top of the fifth tied the game at 3-3. The Mariners briefly took a 4-3 lead in the sixth, when Doug Carter reached on a third strike passed ball and later scored on a fielder's choice grounder that resulted in an error on the Merchant Marine third baseman.

Juniata starter John Love (Loysburg, Pa./Northern Bedford) allowed seven earned runs on eight hits while lasting into the eighth inning. Reliever Michael McGonigal (Peters Township, Pa./Peters Township) faced two batters in the eighth, but allowed two runs to score and put aboard the go-ahead run and was charged with the loss.

Merchant Marine reliever Stanley Schwitalla, who finished out the seventh inning on the mound for the Mariners and was pitcher of record when USMMA took the lead, was credited with the win.

Juniata is scheduled to return to the diamond on Monday, April 6, when it hosts Pitt-Greensburg in a doubleheader on Langdon-Goodale Field starting at 1:00 p.m.

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