(Posted May 1, 2010)

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Matt Regan (Downingtown, Pa./Devon Prep) threw a two hitter with eight strikeouts in game two of the Juniata College baseball team's doubleheader to set up a "winner take all" format for Sunday's contest against the University of Scranton. The Eagles dropped game one 7-2 before rallying to take game two, 5-4, Saturday afternoon at Connell Park.

The doubleheader split keeps the two teams in a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot, with the winner of the single, nine-inning contest on Sunday heading to the playoffs next weekend.

In game one, the Eagles took a 1-0 lead after the top of the first as Andrew Kriss (Forest Hill, Md./John Carroll) scored on a sacrifice fly by Johnny Martinez (Mt. Union, Pa./Mt. Union). Kriss doubled to get on base with one out and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

But the Royals responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first, and the Eagles never bounced back.

Scranton (16-23, 9-8 Landmark) tacked on a single run in the third and three more in the fifth before the Eagles added their second run in the top half of the seventh, capping the scoring at 7-2.

The scoring started for the Royals with three straight hits in the first, highlighted by a three run homerun by Chris Bligh, before an out was recorded.

Tyler Clifford got tabbed with the loss, giving up six earned runs on eight hits through six innings.

The loss in game one meant that game two was a must win for Juniata (12-23, 9-8 Landmark) and this time, the Eagles responded after giving up three runs in the first.

Trailing 3-1 after one complete inning, the Eagles put together their own three run outburst, retaking the lead.

Tom Eck (Columbia, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) and Kyle Saxman (York, Pa./York Suburban) started the inning off with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Kriss singled home Eck, then it was Martinez who singled, loading the bases with one out.

Greg Hoffman (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney) worked a walk, giving him the easiest of RBI's as Saxman came home to score. The final run of the inning came off an RBI groundout, as Ian Thorne (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley) grounded out to the first baseman, but it was deep enough to allow Kriss to cross the plate.

The Royals tied the game at 4-4, however, in the bottom of the second, as a leadoff walk came back to haunt Regan. Joe Amicucci led off the inning with a base on balls, and promptly stole second base. He moved over to third on a groundout back to the pitcher, and then came home after Chris Stallone grounded out to Saxman at second.

But the Eagles found a way to get back on top, with the eventual game winning run in the top of the fourth.

Kriss started things off with a one out single, but a throwing error by the pitcher, allowed Kriss to take two more bags, and move over to third. Then an RBI groundout by Martinez, put the Eagles on top, 5-4, and Regan took care of the rest.

From the third inning on, the Royals only managed to get three base runners aboard, all by walks. But none of those runners sniffed reaching scoring position, as the closest they came was a stolen base attempt in third, cut down by Hoffman to end the inning.

Regan came back and turned the Royals aside in order in the sixth and seventh to send the series to the rubber match.

He ended with giving up four earned on two hits, while striking out eight but walking six batters.

The final game of the series will be moved up an hour, as the teams are trying to beat the incoming inclement weather. The first pitch on Sunday, May 2, will be thrown at 11:00 a.m. with the winner heading to the playoffs.


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