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Juniata Baseball Drops NCAA Opener

(Posted May 20, 2004)

Zach Sternbeg led the Juniata offense with two hits as Juniata fell to top-ranked Johns Hopkins 6-0 in NCAA Regional play.

Johns Hopkins 6, Juniata 0

Boyertown, Pa. ? Making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since the 1990 season, the Juniata College baseball team ran into a hot starting pitcher as the Eagles fell in the tournament opener 6-0 in Boyertown Thursday afternoon. Juniata will be back in action on Friday as they play the loser of another first-round game between Rowan and Arcadia.

Facing the number-one ranked team in NCAA Division III, Juniata could manage just five hits against Blue Jays hurler Jeremy Brown. The starter fanned 10 hitters in tossing the complete-game victory and stranded six Eagle base runners in the game.

Juniata sophomore starter Cody Zong (McVeytown/Lewistown) matched Brown early on as neither team put a mark on the scoreboard until the fifth. Juniata would threaten in the top of the fifth as Zach Sternberg (McCaskey/Lancaster) and Adam Camberg (Altoona/Altoona) started the frame with back-to-back singles. Brown then threw out Sternberg at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt, giving the Eagles runners at first and second with one out. But Brown forced a double play to get out of the inning.

A lead-off single from Rob Morrison then started Johns Hopkins fifth. A stolen base and passed ball moved him to third with no one out. Zong forced a foul out, but Carl Ippolito delivered a sacrifice fly to center to bring home the game?s first run.

The Blue Jays added to the lead in the sixth. With runners at first and third and no one out, Mike Durgala delivered an RBI single to make the score 2-0 Johns Hopkins. After walking the next batter, Zong was replaced by Ryan O?Donnell (Lebanon/Lebanon) who worked out of the jam without further damage.

Juniata threatened again in the seventh. With one out Marc Frailey (Middletown/Middletown) and Sternberg singled putting two on with one out. Camberg then lined sharply to right for the second out. Jesse Leonard (Shade/Johnstown) walked to load the bases, but Brown fanned the final batter to get out of the inning.

Johns Hopkins would add a pair of two-run home runs in the seventh and eighth innings to extend the lead to 6-0. Morrison hit one of the homers and Craig Cetta drilled the other.

The Eagles did not manage a base runner in the final two innings.

Sternberg led the team with two hits on the day. Camberg reached base twice with a single and a walk. Zong was dealt the loss as he tossed five and a-third innings, allowing two runs on five hits, just one earned. O?Donnell gave up three hits and four runs in two innings.

Morrison was 2-for-4 for the top-seeded Blue Jays while adding a pair of runs and two RBI. Cetta finished 3-for-3 with two RBI.

Juniata will be looking for the program?s first NCAA Tournament victory when the Eagles hit the field on Friday. Juniata is now 0-7 in NCAA games.

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