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Eagles use the comeback to take two against Drew

(Posted April 2, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College baseball team used a pair of six run innings in both ends of a doubleheader to take the first two games of the Landmark Conference series against Drew University, 8-6 and 16-2, at Langdon-Goodale Field this afternoon.

Trailing 5-1 going into the bottom of the fifth in game one, the Eagles mounted a comeback and scored six runs to take the lead, and never looked back.

The first run came across home plate as Johnny Martinez (Mt. Union, Pa./Mt. Union), reached on a bases loaded fielder's choice, scoring Kyle Saxman (York, Pa./York Suburban).

Then with runners on first and third, Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) doubled off the wall in left field, narrowly missing a homerun, scoring Chase Dykstra (Somerset, Pa./Somerset Area) and Martinez.

Ian Thorne (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley) forced the shortstop into a quick throw, short-hopping his first baseman and sending the ball out of bounds, as Hoffman came around to score on the error.

Next it was Russ Gray's (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) turn, has he roped a seed back up the middle, chasing Thorne home for the team's fifth run of the inning. But, the Eagles weren't done, as freshman Evan Pappas (Potomac, Md./Thomas Sprigg Wootten) doubled to left center, plating Gray.

Reliever Giovanni Mancini was charged with four of the runs (three earned) while only recording two outs in the inning. Starter Tom Clark pitched to the first two batters of the inning before being pulled.

Juniata starter Tyler Clifford (Homer City, Pa./Homer Center) went the distance for the Eagles, striking out five, allowing seven hits and five earned runs for his second win of the season.

The Eagles tacked on an insurance run in the sixth, and Drew (2-15, 2-6 Landmark) challenged Juniata in the seventh, loading the bases, and had the tying run only 120 feet away. But Clifford buckled down and got Corey Napier to ground one to Andrew Kriss (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) who tossed it to second for the game ending out.

Game two was a hit parade for Juniata (5-16, 3-5 Landmark) as they pounded out 18 hits, scoring at least one run in every inning they batted.

Trailing 2-0 after the top of the first, the Eagles responded with four runs in the home half to take the lead and carried that momentum to the blow out victory.

The nail in the coffin came in the third inning, as the Eagles scored six runs off Ranger reliever Tom Koontz.

The inning started with a walk to Pappas. He stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Saxman plated Pappas with an RBI single to left field to begin the scoring.

Then with two outs, and Dykstra and Saxman on base, Martinez hit his third single of the game, scoring Saxman. Hoffman followed that up skying one to short centerfield, which was misplayed by Neil Cashes, allowing both runs to cross the plate.

Gray added to the lead with an RBI single to center, sending Hoffman home and Thorne to third. And then it was Pappas' turn to get in on the action, with a single to left field, as Thorne came around to score the inning's final run.

The Eagles sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning, and ended with six runs on six hits.

After a small hiccup in the first inning, starter Matt Regan (Downingtown, Pa./Devon Prep) settled in and pitched his way to his second win of the season. He gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits, in five innings. He also struck out five Rangers.

Mike McGonigal (Peters Township, Pa./Peters Township) pitched a scoreless sixth inning, striking out two batters before handing the ball over to Josh Green (Hagerstown, Md./Clear Springs) for the seventh.

Today was Green's first appearance after he was struck in the head from a batted ball in a game against Moravian College on March 21. He gave up a hit, but retired the next three batters, two by strikeouts, to end the contest.

The two teams finish their three-game series on Saturday, April 3. They will play a single nine-inning contest at Langdon-Goodale Field. First pitch is slated for 12:00 p.m.

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