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Clifford fans eight, Juniata earns split in opening doubleheader

(Posted March 6, 2010)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Senior right handed pitcher Tyler Clifford (Homer City, Pa./Homer Center) pitched Juniata College to a win in the team's first game of the 2010 season. The Eagles won the first game of a doubleheader against John Carroll University, 8-1, before losing 4-1 in game two, in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Clifford threw six strong innings, striking out eight Blue Streaks, allowing only four hits and two base-on-balls. He earned the victory while not allowing a run to cross the plate. Junior Mike McGonigal (Peters Township, Pa./Peters Township) finished the game, pitching the seventh inning, giving up a hit and an unearned run.

The offense got the Eagles on the board in the top half of the fifth inning. With one out in the inning, freshman Evan Pappas (Potomac, Md./Thomas Sprigg Wootton) sent the ball the other way between shortstop and third base for his first career bas hit. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Pappas scored the game's first run after the John Carroll pitcher threw the ball into right field following a Kyle Saxman (York, Pa./York Suburban) dribbler to the left side of the infield.

Two batters later, with Saxman on second and Thomas Eck (York, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) on second, senior Andrew Kriss (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) launched a ball to the right centerfield gap. Saxman and Eck scored easily, while Kriss strolled into third with a standup triple. The Eagles had a 3-0 lead.

After the Blue Streaks left two on base in their half of the fifth, the Eagles added to their lead. Johnny Martinez (Mount Union, Pa./Mount Union) led off with a double down the left field line. Senior Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) jammed one over the second baseman's head and moved Martinez to third. Russ Gray (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) chopped one pas the pitcher, allowing Martinez to score and Hoffman reach second.

Two batters later Saxman stepped in and ripped the first pitch to left, scoring Hoffman, and also chasing John Carroll pitcher, Tom Schaberl.

The first pitch Eck saw from the new pitcher, he scorched the ball past the drawn in infield, scoring both Pappas and Saxman. Juniata tacked on one more in the inning, giving them a 8-0 lead.

Going into his last inning, Clifford needed to close the door on John Carroll. Connor Marrero started the Blue Streaks with a single to center, but that is the only success they would have off the right hander. Clifford struck out his eighth of the game for out number two, before inducing a ground ball to third for the final out of the inning.

Game two also produced a good outing from the pitching staff. Junior right hander John Love (Loysburg, Pa./Northern Bedford) pitched five solid innings allowing two earned runs, three hits, struck out three and walking three.

The lone run Juniata (1-1) scored came in the home half of the fourth inning. Hoffman doubled down the left field line with one out. With two outs and Hoffman on third, freshman catcher Cole Walters (Mt. Union, Pa./Mt. Union) singled up the middle, off the glove of the second baseman, for his first career hit and RBI.
Walters was the only Eagle in game two to have two hits. Freshman Ryan Edley (Hershey, Pa./Hershey) pinch hit in the seventh, and lined a single up the middle, recording his first career hit as well. Hoffman, Martinez, and Kriss were the other Eagles with base hits.

The Eagles continue their Spring Break trip on Sunday, March 7, when they square up against Heidelberg University at 3:00 p.m.

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