(Posted March 18, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Sophomore John Martinez (Mount Union, Pa./Mount Union) put four Juniata College runs on the scoreboard with his bat and then pitched the ninth inning for his first save of the season, to lead Juniata baseball to a 7-6 win over the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Wednesday afternoon at Langdon-Goodale Field.

Trailing 6-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Juniata (5-7) pulled to within one run of Pitt-Bradford (3-4) with a five-run uprising in the seventh inning.

Martinez singled home Adam Spadafora (Asbury, N.J./Pennington School) and Andrew Kriss (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) with a shot into right fieldm, after Kriss and Spadafora got on base with singles earlier in the inning. Leadoff hitter Kyle Saxman (York, Pa./York Suburban) reached on a fielding error by Pitt-Bradford third baseman Josh Mesler, and scored Juniata's first run of the inning on Spadafora's base hit.

Martinez eventually crossed the plate on a bases loaded walk issued to Saxman, in his second plate appearance of the inning, while Juniata picked up its fifth run of the frame from Kevin Small (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North), who reached on a hit-by-pitch and scored on Dane Ott's (South Williamsport, Pa./South Williamsport) fielder's choice grounder to shortstop.

Juniata took the lead with two more runs in the eighth, both off the bat of Martinez.

Spadafora got aboard when he was hit by Panther pitcher Matt Durkin, and Juniata put runners on first and second with a walk issued to Small. Durkin was lifted in favor of reliever David Gerke, Pitt-Bradford's seventh pitcher of the game, and immediately gave up a two-run double to Martinez.

Gerke loaded the bases with walks to Josh Roy (Fredericksburg, Pa./Northern Lebanon) and Ian Thorne (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley), before getting out of the inning with a strikeout.

Martinez came on to pitch the ninth for Juniata, and put the first two batters on base with a hit-by-pitch and a walk, before getting Pitt-Bradford's Geoff Flowers to pop up to second base for the first out. Martinez loaded the bases when he hit Mesler with a pitch, but finished the side when he struck out the Panthers' Ryan Smith and got Chris Tewksbury to pop up into foul territory down the third base line. Kriss came over from short to make the catch, ending the Pitt-Bradford come-back bid.

Juniata reliever Michael McGonigal (Peters Township, Pa./Peters Township) came on in the sixth inning, and struck out three while scattering two hits to pick up the win. Durkin was tagged with the loss for Pitt-Bradford, after two batters he put on base came around to score the go-ahead runs.

Juniata will continue Landmark Conference play this weekend in Madison, N.J., when the Eagles face Drew University. The two teams will play a seven-inning doubleheader on Saturday, March 21, starting at 1:00 p.m., followed by a single nine-inning game on Sunday, March 22, at 1:00 p.m.


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