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Despite 16 hits, baseball loses in extra innings to Bluffton University

(Posted March 10, 2010)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. �¢?" Bluffton University scored two runs in the ninth inning and one in the tenth inning to come from behind and beat the Juniata College baseball team, 11-10, in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Wednesday night.

Eight different Eagles recorded at least one base hit, totaling 16 hits in all, but it was the 11 walks committed by Juniata pitchers that allowed the come back.

Junior right handed pitcher Chad Kulik (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) threw the first four innings, allowing five runs and six walks. Junior reliever Nate Burkey (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) threw for the next three innings, and allowed three runs (one earned), while walking two and struck out one batter. Newcomer Josh Green (Hagerstown, Md./Clear Springs) threw a scoreless eighth inning, paving the way for junior Mike McGonigal (Peters Township, Pa./Peters Township) to pitch the ninth with a 10-8 lead.

McGonigal walked the first two batters faced to start off the top of the ninth inning. Josh Mendoza laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. A wild pitch during the next at-bat brought one run home and moved the tying run 90 feet closer to home plate.

Pinch hitter Matt Loudon drove a deep fly ball to right field that was flagged down by Chase Dykstra (Somerset, Pa./Somerset Area), but it was an easy jog home from third, knotting the game at 10-10.

With one out in the bottom half of the ninth, Juniata's (1-4 overall) Ian Thorne (Germantown, Pa./Seneca Valley) singled through the right side to start things off. John Martinez (Mount Union, Pa./Mount Union) followed that up with a walk, to put runners on first and second with one out. After a pitching change, senior Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) grounded into an inning ending double play.

Leading off the top half of the tenth inning, Bluffton's Tyler Stephenson blasted a ball over Martinez's head in center field, ending in a triple. He later scored the game winning run on a sacrifice fly.

Martinez led all hitters with four base hits and he also drew two walks. Hoffman had three hits, including a double and four runs batted in. Thorne, Dykstra and Thomas Eck (Columbia, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) added two hits each on the night.

McGonigal drops to 0-1 in the early going as Stephenson picked up his second win (2-0) out of the bullpen for Bluffton (4-3 overall).

The Eagles continue their trip south Thursday morning, with a single game matchup against Medaille College starting at 9:00 a.m.

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