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Martinez's effort at the plate not enough to lift Juniata baseball past Susquehanna

(Posted April 22, 2011)

SELINSGROVE, Pa. -- Juniata College's game two comeback bid fell short of the mark as the Eagles fell to Susquehanna University, 6-3, dropping both ends of a Landmark Conference baseball doubleheader at Bollinger Field.

Juniata (13-19, 5-9 Landmark) fell to Susquehanna, 6-1, in the opener.

The Crusaders posted two runs each in the first, third, and fourth innings on a combined four hits to jump out to a 6-0 lead.

Juniata managed its three runs on nine hits, breaking Susquehanna's shutout bid in the sixth inning with a pair of runs. Johnny Martinez (Mount Union, Pa./Mount Union), Cole Walters (Mount Union, Pa./Mount Union), and Ian Thorne (Germantown, Pa./Seneca Valley) had back-to-back-to-back singles on the Crusaders with no outs, with Martinez scoring on an error at third. Walters scored later in the frame on Joe Sforza's (Pittstown, N.J./Immaculata) grounder that was mishandled at short.

The Eagles tacked on another run in the seventh when Martinez singled home Ben Mersky (Hershey, Pa./Hershey), after Mersky reached on a leadoff double to left off Crusader reliever Andy Hergan.

Juniata starter Matt Regan (Downingtown, Pa./Devon Prep) scattered five hits through six complete innings of work, allowing six earned runs with two walks and four strikeouts. Susquehanna starter Matt Boyd lasted into the sixth, and earned the win despite yielding two runs on seven hits and four walks with three strikeouts.

The Eagles actually got on the board first in game one of the twinbill, with Mersky reaching on a leadoff single in the first inning, advancing to second on Thorne's ground out to short and reaching third on a Martinez single, eventually scoring on a Russ Gray (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) sac fly to left field.

Susquehanna responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, including two off RBI singles by Ethan Rieker and Erik Tuomisto.

Two more Crusader runs crossed in the fifth on a Ken Kayama triple to right center, and a single Susquehanna run was put up on the board in the sixth when Tuomisto plated Rieker, unearned, with a two-out single through the left side.

Juniata advanced runners as far as third in both the second and third innings, but was unable to plate any runs and left a total of four runners aboard over the two frames. The Eagles managed just one hit off the Crusaders over the remaining four innings, and were retired 1-2-3 in the fourth, sixth, and seventh.

John Love (Loysburg, Pa./Northern Bedford) got the start on the hill for Juniata, but was relieved after allowing three runs on two hits and a walk through five batters faced. Nate Burkey (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) went five-and-two-thirds innings in the relief stint, scattering six hits and allowing two earned runs.

Martinez went 2-for-3 at the plate in game one; combined with his 2-for-3 effort in game two, Martinez finished the day 4-for-6 with one run and one RBI. Walters had a pair of hits in game one on his way to a 3-for-7 day, while Matt Fritz (Schnecksville, Pa./Parkland) was 3-for-5 over both games.

Juniata closes out the three-game series against Susquehanna on Saturday, April 23, at noon with a single nine-inning game.

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