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Hoffman's walk-off single completes baseball's sweep over Drew, 6-5

(Posted April 3, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. รข?" Senior Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) singled off the fence, scoring Andrew Kriss (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) for the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth to complete the three game sweep over Landmark Conference foe Drew University, 6-5, on Langdon-Goodale Field, Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles scored three runs in the bottom half of the eighth to take their first lead of the afternoon, but needed the game-winner in the ninth after Drew rallied to knot the score at 5-5 with two outs in the inning.

Kriss led off the bottom of the ninth, swinging at the first pitch, and belted a double down the left field line. After an intentional walk to Johnny Martinez (Mt. Union, Pa./Mt. Union), Hoffman stepped in and won the game.

He took a high fastball and sent it over the head of the left fielder, three quarters of the way up the wall, easily scoring Kriss, who trotted home from second base.

Juniata (6-16, 4-5 Landmark) trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the eight, but a Ranger error sparked the Eagles comeback. Hoffman led off the inning with a single through the left side. Ian Thorne (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley) grounded one to the Drew second baseman.

Trying to turn the double play, Chris DelMaestro's throw to second went into leftfield, allowing Hoffman to move to third and set up the rally. Two batters later, after Thorne cleanly stole second, freshman Evan Pappas (Potomac, Md./Thomas Sprigg Wootten) launched a ball half way up the fence in center, just left of the 400 foot sign. Hoffman scored easily from third, and Thorne raced home with the tying run.

Tom Eck (Columbia, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) moved Pappas up to third on a fielder's choice, and Kyle Saxman (York, Pa./York Suburban) drove one to right, deep enough to chase Pappas home with the go-ahead run with the sacrifice fly.

Then, with two outs in the ninth, and runners at first and second, Matt McGrath hit a rocket to short, that took a bad hop past Kriss. Tom Sharp was able to score the tying run, setting up Hoffman and the Eagles in the bottom of the ninth.

Starter John Love (Loysburg, Pa./Northern Bedford) pitched to the first batter in the ninth, before being relieved by Nate Burkey (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley).

Love finished pitching eight innings, give up five runs (three earned), while striking out five Rangers and allowing two walks, without a decision. Burkey pitched an inning, giving up one hit and striking out one Drew (2-16, 2-7 Landmark) batter, earning the victory.

Kriss and Hoffman led the Eagles attack on a day in which the team had 13 hits. Hoffman finished 4 for 5 with two RBI's and a run scored. Kriss ended the day 3 for 5 with and double and two runs scored.

The Eagles return to action on Monday, April 5, when they travel to Pitt-Bradford for a single, 9-inning game. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m.

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