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Martinez homers twice to lead Juniata baseball past Susquehanna, 6-4

(Posted April 23, 2011)

SELINSGROVE, Pa. -- Senior Johnny Martinez (Mount Union, Pa./Mount Union) belted a two-run home run in the first inning and added a solo shot to lead off of the fifth, pacing Juniata College to a 6-4 win over Susquehanna University in Saturday's final game of a three-game Landmark Conference series at Bollinger Field.

On the heels of a combined 4-for-6 performance on Friday, Martinez put together a 3-for-4 effort in Saturday's nine-inning contest with four runs batted in.

Martinez's first inning shot, a blast over the right field fences, also plated Ben Mersky (Hershey, Pa./Hershey), who got aboard with a base hit through the right side.

The Crusaders answered with one run in the bottom of the first, but the Eagles remained two runs with a single run in the second. Andrew Hirsch (Annandale, Va./Falls Church) drew a walk to open the inning, and later scored on Ian Thorne's (Germantown, Pa./Seneca Valley) sacrifice fly to center field.

The teams traded runs in the fifth to make the score 4-2, but Susquehanna (12-20, 7-8 Landmark) cut the deficit in half with one run in the sixth on Justin Portzline's RBI double into right center, scoring Ty Raubenstine.

Each side added a run in the seventh, and Juniata padded its lead with a single run in the eighth. Hirsch again got aboard with a leadoff walk, was replaced by pinch runner Chris Beall (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon), and Beall was sacrificed over to second and eventually scored on Martinez's RBI single to left field.

Juniata starter Ryan Morrison (Lebanon, Pa./Lebanon Catholic) retired the Crusaders 1-2-3 in the eighth, all on grounders, and allowed just one walk to go with a pair of grounders and a fly out in the ninth to hang on for the complete game win. The southpaw scattered 11 hits with five walks and one strikeout on his way to his first career complete game, while improving his record to 3-0.

Mersky, Dan Gray (Johnstown, Pa./Richland), and Joe Sforza (Pittstown, N.J./Immaculata) all had a pair of hits on the day, while Matt Fritz (Schnecksville, Pa./Parkland) had a single with two sacrifices for the Eagles.

The win keeps Juniata (14-19, 6-9 Landmark) in the hunt for a berth in the Landmark Conference tournament, heading into next weekend's series against the University of Scranton. The two teams will play a doubleheader of seven-inning games on Saturday, April 30, starting at 1:00 p.m., with a single nine-inning game starting at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 1.

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