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Baseball routs Scranton, earns final playoff berth

(Posted May 2, 2010)

Baseball routs Scranton, earns final playoff berth

SCRANTON, Pa. -- John Love's (Loysburg, Pa./Northern Bedford) complete game eight hitter and the relentless offensive attack of the Juniata College baseball team led to a 16-3 victory over the University of Scranton in a win or go home type format, at Connell Park in Scranton on Sunday.

The win sends the Eagles to the Landmark Conference postseason, as the number four seed, starting on Friday. With Moravian College's sweep over Catholic University, all four teams will play at the top seed and host, Moravian.

Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) led all hitters going an outstanding 5 for 6 with two RBI's and three runs scored.

Kyle Saxman (York, Pa./York Suburban) and Ian Thorne (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley) each hit their first career homerun. Thorne drove in six runners on the day, while Saxman ended with five runs batted in.

The Eagles sprinkled single runs in the first and second before a four run third inning opened their lead to 6-3.

With two outs in the first, Johnny Martinez (Mt. Union, Pa./Mt. Union) singled to start the rally. After a stolen base, Hoffman singled home Martinez for the first run of the game.

But the Royals responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the first before Saxman's solo shot in the second gave Juniata (13-23, 10-8 Landmark) the lead again, and proved to be the game winner.

The third inning hit parade started with one out. Andrew Kriss (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) singled before moving to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Hoffman singled, allowing Kriss to score, and moving Martinez to second. Thorne followed with his homerun, plating both runners on base.

Scranton (16-24, 9-9 Landmark) came back in its bottom half of the inning, as a leadoff double by Chris Stallone and a walk to Chris Velazquez put two runners on base with zero outs. Chris Bligh followed with a double, scoring both runners, cutting the lead in half.

The game remained at 6-3 until the Eagles put up a solo run in the seventh as a bases loaded walk to Saxman forced in a run. But it the seven run eighth inning that broke things wide open.

With two outs, and Chase Dykstra (Somerset, Pa./Somerset Area) on second, Martinez was intentionally walked to bring up Hoffman. He reached on an error by the third baseman, allowing the inning to continue. Thorne singled home two more runners, adding to his RBI total.

Two batters later with the sacks again filled to capacity, Saxman singled home a pair. Then there were RBI singles by Matt Fritz (Schnecksville, Pa./Parkland), Dysktra, and Kriss, before the final out was recorded.

Than Love shut down the Royals in order in the eighth and only allowed a one out single in the ninth before closing the book on the game and Scranton's season.

The Eagles will begin their push for the championship on Friday, May 7, with a matchup against the number one seed, Moravian College. The game will begin at 9 a.m.

Playoff Schedule
Friday, May 7, 2010
1) 9:00 a.m. - #4 Juniata vs. #1 Moravian
2) 12:30 p.m. - #3 Susquehanna vs. #2 Catholic
3) 4:00 p.m. - Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2

Saturday, May 8, 2010
4) 9:00 a.m. - Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2
5) 12:30 p.m. - Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4
6) 4:00 p.m. - Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5

Sunday, May 9, 2010
7) 12:00 p.m. - Winner of Game 6 vs. Loser of Game 6 (if necessary)

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