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Baseball finishes home stand with split of Penn State Altoona

(Posted March 24, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College baseball team finished its eight game home stand with a doubleheader against Penn State Altoona on Wednesday afternoon. The Eagles won game one, 14-11, before the visitors took the nightcap, 19-5.

Trailing 3-2, the Eagles used a nine run third inning in game one to take a commanding lead before hanging on down the stretch.

The inning started with two singles sandwiched around base on balls, loading the bases with zero outs. Senior Ian Thorne (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley) produced the first two runs with a single into left field.

Two batters later, again with the bases loaded, Evan Pappas (Potomac, Md./Thomas Sprigg Wootton) earned an easy RBI with a walk, forcing in another run. Tom Eck (Columbia, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) then singled up the middle, plating another run for the 6-3 lead.

After Kyle Saxman (York, Pa./York Suburban) hit a sacrifice fly, scoring a run, Andrew Kriss (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) reloaded the bases with a fielder's choice.

Johnny Martinez (Mount Union, Pa./Mount Union) swiftly cleared the bases with a monstrous shot into the woods beyond right field, for the grand slam. It was his second homerun in as many games. The score was 11-3 after the third inning.

The Lions responded with four runs in the fourth, two in the fifth, one each in the sixth and seventh, but the Eagles held on for its second straight victory.

Will Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) earned the victory after pitching 5 innings, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on six hits. Nate Burkey (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) pitched the remaining two innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits, while striking one Lion out.

In game two, Altoona (3-10) jumped out to a large lead after the first three frames. Chad Kulik (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) got out of the first inning on a nice double play turned b Saxman and Kriss in the middle of the diamond, giving up one run.

But it was the top half of the second and third innings where the Lions jumped out to a large lead. They put a five spot up on the board in the second, before answering that with another four runs in the third. Before Juniata (3-13) knew what hit them, they were trailing 10-1.

The Lions continued to pour it on with two more runs in the fourth, and four in the fifth. The only inning in which the Eagles held Penn State scoreless was in the sixth, pitched by Mike McGonigal (Peters Township, Pa./Peters Township).

The Eagles big inning came in the fourth, as they scored three runs of their own. Andrew Hirsch (Annandale, Va./Falls Church) led off with a double down the right field line. Two batters later, Kriss laid a beautiful bunt down that stuck on the third base line for a single, loading the bases with one out.

Martinez and Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) each worked a walk, plating a pair of runs, before Thorne singled in the third run of the inning.

Kulik was charged with the loss giving up six runs (four earned) in 1.1 innings.

Kriss finished the doubleheader 5 for 8 with a double, two runs and one run batted in. Martinez went 2 for 4 on the day with five RBI's and three runs scored. Russ Gray (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) tallied four RBI's on 3 for 8 with a run scored.

The Eagles take to the road this weekend when they battle Landmark Conference rival Catholic University in a three game series. First pitch on Saturday will be at 1:00 pm.

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