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Baseball loses final game to Crusaders, slips into a tie for fourth place

(Posted April 25, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Win or lose today, the Juniata College baseball team knew that to get to the playoffs, they need to win the three game series against the University of Scranton next weekend. But it would have been better to go into that series after beating bitter rival Susquehanna University, but the Eagles dropped game three, 12-2, Sunday afternoon on Langdon-Goodale Field.

The loss slips the Eagles into a tie with Scranton for the fourth and final playoff spot, as the two teams meet on the last regular season weekend of the year.

But the Eagles still needed to close out the Susquehanna series, for a chance to be alone in third place, and for bragging right in 2010. But the Crusaders came out with a vengeance, scoring the first 10 runs to set the tone early.

Susquehanna (16-17, 9-6 Landmark) scored three in the first, and added single runs in the second and fourth before bringing the hammer down with a five run fifth inning.

The bases were loaded with one out for the Crusaders after three of the first four batters reached base. Then it looked like Juniata (11-22, 8-7 Landmark) was going to get out of it as starter John Love (Loysburg, Pa./Northern Bedford) induced a pop up to the infield and a grounder to shortstop.

But the throw from Andrew Kriss (Forest Hills, Md./John Carroll) sailed high, allowing two runners to score and the inning to continue. Then Nick Ferlise put the nail in the coffin, sending a pitch over the right center field wall, plating the last three runs of the inning.

The Eagles got on the board in the bottom half of the fifth. With the bases loaded and two outs, John Martinez (Mt. Union, Pa./Mt. Union) chopped one to third, but the speedy Chase Dykstra (Somerset, Pa./Somerset Area) beat the third baseman to the bag, allowing pinch runner Mike Biglin (Cresson, Pa./Penn Cambria) to score.

Susquehanna added two more in the seventh as a leadoff hit by pitch, and back to back singles scored the first run before a sacrifice fly allowed the second run to cross the plate, capping the scoring for the Crusaders on the day.

The final run for Juniata came in the bottom half of the seventh, as Kyle Saxman (York, Pa./York Suburban), playing in his final game on Langdon-Goodale Field, started the inning with a double to left field. Another senior, Kriss, chased him home with a deep shot to centerfield, as Kriss slid into third with a triple.

Also playing in their final home game, Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) went 1 for 4, while Kriss ended 2 for 4 and Saxman finished 1 for 3. Senior pitcher Tyler Clifford (Homer City, Pa./Homer Center) threw a complete game to open the series for his final start in Huntingdon. Another senior, Will Houser (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) got a pinch-hit appearance today, but finished 0 for 1.

The Eagles next travel to Scranton, Pa. to take on the Royals in a winner takes all type format. Whichever team wins the series, will represent themselves in the playoffs as the fourth and final playoff team.

The first two legs of the series will begin on Saturday, starting at 1:00 p.m.

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