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Big innings hurt Eagles as they drop a pair to Mt. St. Joseph's on the final day of spring break

(Posted March 13, 2010)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Juniata College baseball team dropped a pair of nonconference games to the College of Mount St. Joseph's, 9-3 and 10-5, to close out its spring break trip in Port Charlotte, Fla.

The Eagles fell victim to big innings in each game, swinging the momentum in favor of the Lions.

In game one, the Eagles fought back to take a 3-2 lead going into the top of the fifth, but it was a seven spot in the visitor's half of the inning that allowed the Lions to pull away.

After scoring two runs in the bottom of third, Juniata (1-7) took the lead, 3-2, in the fourth inning. The inning started when Thomas Eck (Columbia, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) singled into right field. Two batters later, freshman Chase Dykstra (Somerset, Pa./Somerset Area) doubled into left field, chasing Eck to third. Senior

Andrew Kriss (Forrest Hill, Md./John Carroll) stepped in andsent a long fly ball into center field, but it was chased down by the Lions. Eck scored on the sacrifice fly, but as the ball got away from the first cut-off man, Dykstra tried to take advantage of the mistake, but the relay was in time to nab Dykstra at the plate for the third out of the inning.

But the Eagles were unable to keep the momentum as Mount St. Joseph (4-5) came right back and plated seven unanswered runs in the next half inning. That settled the score at 9-3.

Game two featured more of the same for the Eagles. Now the visiting team, Juniata came out in the top of the second inning and took a 1-0 lead.

With two outs and no one on base, freshman Evan Pappas (Potomac, Md./Thomas Sprigg Wootton) started rally with a single into left field. Brandon Bouley, the Lions' pitcher, tried to pick Pappas off with a quick snap throw, but the first baseman wasn't ready for it as the ball sailed into right field. Although head coach Tom Gibboney was waving for him to stop at third, Pappas took the opportunity to put the Eagles on the board, and ran through the stop sign. He went in standing up, as the throw home was off line.

But, once again, the Eagles couldn't keep momentum on their side as the Lions came out and scored six runs in the bottom of the second, deflating all the air out of the Juniata dugout.

The Lions responded with four more runs in the bottom of the fifth before the Juniata got back on the board with four of their own in the top of the seventh. But it wasn't enough as the Eagles fell 10-5.

Dykstra paced the Eagles with four hits on the day, including two doubles, and a run batted in. Pappas had four hits as well on the day, with two RBI's and two runs scored.

Senior Tyler Clifford (Homer City, Pa./Homer Center) took the loss in game of the twinbill, giving up nine runs (five earned) on 10 hits in 4.2 innings of work. Newcomer Josh Green (Hagerstown, Md./Clear Springs) continued to be impressive throwing 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball in game one.

Sophomore Will Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) pitched four innings, giving up six runs on seven hits for the loss in game two. Junior Chad Kulik (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) pitched a scoreless sixth inning, facing the minimum batters.

The Eagles return north and get right back to action on Wednesday, March 17, as they welcome Gettysburg College to Huntingdon. The Eagles start their Landmark Conference schedule next weekend, when they take on Moravian College at home.

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