(Posted March 18, 2006)

Juniata 9, Susquehanna 8
Susquehanna 10, Juniata 2

SELINSGROVE, Pa. ? The Juniata College softball team got its conference season off to a solid start as the Eagles split a Commonwealth Conference doubleheader against Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove Saturday afternoon. Juniata scored a season-high nine runs to outlast the home team 9-8 in game one, and then dropped a 10-2 decision in the second contest. The Eagles are now 4-10 overall and 1-1 in the Commonwealth. Susquehanna stands at 8-2 on the year and 1-1 in conference.

After a slow start, both offenses exploded late in game one and Juniata hung on to earn the win.

The Eagles plated a run in the top of the first on an RBI single from Leann P. Leymeister (Blue Mountain/Orwigsburg). Both teams remained off the scoreboard until the fourth when the Eagles got an RBI triple from Liz Schmitt (H Frank Carey/Franklin Square, N.Y.) to take a 2-0 lead. Susquehanna would then match the run as the Crusaders scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth.

It would get interesting in the fifth as the Eagles exploded for five runs in the frame, only to have Susquehanna push across six runs in the bottom of the inning. Schmitt delivered the big blow for Juniata as she belted a three-run homer, the first home run of her career. Abby Sener (Donegal/Marietta) and Kaylee Kachik (Maplewood/Cambridge Springs) both added RBI in the inning. But the Crusaders answered with six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the inning. Five different Crusaders drove in runs in the frame, with the final hit, an RBI single from Danielle McCann tying the game at seven.

The Eagles then got the deciding runs with two more in the top of the sixth. Tara Carl (Otto-Eldred/Duke Center) drilled an RBI triple and then came home with a run on a sacrifice fly from Leymeister. The Crusaders cut the lead to one with a run off Juniata reliever Lizzi Bartosik (Penn/Granger, In.) on a passed ball, but the Juniata senior then put the home team down in order in the seventh to secure the win.

Renae Hobbs (Mount Union/Mount Union) got the start and the win for Juniata as she pitched the first five innings, and allowed seven runs. Jess Nastelli pitched all seven innings for the home team and was charged with the loss.

Schmitt was the biggest offensive force for Juniata as she went 3-for-3 with four RBI and a run scored. Leymeister had a pair of hits and drove in two runs on the game. Megan McCurley paced Susquehanna with three hits, while Jill Worlinsky and Kerri Brugger each added two.

In game two, the Crusaders got four runs in the bottom second and never looked back en route to the 10-2 win. A pair of Juniata errors led to four unearned runs in the second inning. The Eagles got into the deficit with a pair of runs in the third, as Sener notched an RBI double and then came home on an error to make the score 4-2.

That was as close as the Eagles got as the home team scored four more runs in the bottom of the third. Elizabeth Laub drove in a pair of runs with an RBI single, though all four runs scored in the inning were again unearned. The Crusaders then added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to close the scoring

Juniata committed six errors in the game leading to nine unearned runs for the home team. Bartosik was charged with the loss as she went 2 2-3 innings and allowed eight unearned runs. McHale went the distance for Susquehanna and allowed two runs and five hits to claim the win.

Leymeister finished with a pair of hits and scored a run for Juniata. Brugger and Laub each had two hits to pace the Susquehanna offense.

The Eagles will be back in action on Wednesday with a non-conference doubleheader against Pitt-Greensburg.

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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.