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LANDMARK SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Softball falls to Susquehanna in Landmark tourney opener

(Posted May 2, 2009)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Susquehanna University pitcher Cara Swerdlow held Juniata College in check with 12 strikeouts while allowing just three hits, as the Eagles fell to the Crusaders, 5-1, in Saturday's opening round game of the 2009 Landmark Conference Softball Tournament at Moravian College's Blue & Grey Field.

Juniata was supposed to face Susquehanna in Friday's second game, however the field was deemed unplayable in the top of the first inning, with Juniata leading 2-0, and the game was halted. Under Landmark Conference bylaws, the game had to replayed in its entirety on Saturday.

The Eagles looked like they might pick up on Saturday right where they left off on Friday, after Swerdlow issued two walks and yielded two hits in each of the first two innings. However Juniata was not able to get any of those base runners across, and left four runners stranded in the first two innings combined.

Susquehanna finally broke the shutout in the second inning, when Kelli Holota reached on a strike three wild pitch. She went to third on a Shelly Landis double down the left field line, and scored on Taylor Crawford's sac fly to center field.

The Crusaders tacked on two more runs in the fifth, including a solo home run by Deanna Anderson. Leadoff hitter Lisa Finizio followed up with a triple, and scored on an error by the Juniata catcher.

Juniata broke the shutout and cut the Susquehanna lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth. Liz Schmitt (Knoxville, Tenn./H. Frank Carey) reached on a walk, and went to second on Melissa Moffat's (Oceanside, Calif./Oceanside) grounder back to the pitcher. Caley McCool (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley) singled out to center field, where the ball was mishandled allowing Schmitt to take an extra base and score. However Crusader centerfielder Finizio recovered to get McCool out at second base, ending the inning.

Two more Susquehanna runs came across in the bottom of the sixth on Landis' double to right center.

Juniata starter Alyssa Erb (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits, falling to 14-7 with the loss. Swerdlow improved to 15-7 with the complete game win.

Juniata will advance to an elimination bracket game against Catholic University, which will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m.

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