(Posted March 30, 2006)

LaRoche 11, Juniata 9

HUNTINGDON, Pa. ? Despite scoring nine runs on 13 hits, the Juniata College baseball team fell victim to a LaRoche College comeback as the visitors scored seven runs over the final three innings to claim a 11-9 win over Juniata in non-conference action in Huntingdon Thursday afternoon. Juniata dropped to 12-7-1 with the set-back while LaRoche improved to 11-8.

Juniata held a 9-3 lead after scoring three runs in the second, fifth and sixth innings. But LaRoche answered with three runs apiece in the seventh and eighth and then added two more in the top of the ninth to earn the win. All seven runs came against the Juniata bullpen.

Lucas McCoy singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth, and then Ryan Unger came home from third with an insurance run as Juniata misplayed a pick-off attempt in the field. Juniata brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth and looked like it might knot the game up when Will Russell (Tyrone/Tyrone) drove a line shot to straight-away center, but the ball was caught on the warning track as the Eagles were unable to tie the score.

Nate McC0llough pitched the final two innings for LaRoche to claim the win, while Jeff Hayes (Indian Valley/Lewistown) was charged with the loss for Juniata as he went 1 1-3 innings and allowed two runs, none earned.

Juniata jumped out of the gates quickly early in the contest. After LaRoche pushed across a run in the top of the second, the Eagles countered with three in the bottom of the inning. A sacrifice fly from Steven Wilk (Blairsville/Hollidaysburg) and an RBI single from Troy Beaver (Bellwood-Antis/Tyrone) brought in a pair of runs, while the third run scored on a wild pitch.

LaRoche tied the score with a pair of runs in the top of the third. Nick Wendell delivered an RBI single that scored both runs, tying the score at three.

Those were the final runs Juniata starter Cody Zong (Lewistown/McVeytown) allowed as he allowed three earned runs over six innings and struck out two, but did not factor in the decision.

The home team moved back into the lead in the bottom of the fifth. An RBI single from Dan Kauffman (Penn Manor/Conestoga) delivered Beaver. Another wild pitch brought home the second run and Russell followed with an RBI base hit to move the lead to 6-3.

It was more of the same in the sixth as Wilk and David Saintz (Titusville/Titusville) both produced RBI singles and a LaRoche throwing error accounted for another run as the Eagles took a comfortable 9-3 edge.

From there it was all LaRoche as the Red Hawks scored three runs on four hits in the seventh. Michael Hanck knocked in one run with a single and Varinder Gill plated a pair of runs with a single of his own as LaRoche trimmed the lead to 9-6. In the seventh a sacrifice fly opened the scoring and was followed by RBI singles from Hanck and Nick Wendell to tie the score at nine.

The teams combined for 27 hits in the game which lasted more than three hours. Beaver paced Juniata with four hits while also scoring two runs. Russell was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.

Wendell, Gill and Hanck all had three hits for the Red Hawks. Wendell drove in three runs, while Hanck scored two and drove in two.

Juniata returns to action Thursday with a home doubleheader against Penn State-Altoona.


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