HUNTINGDON, PA. – Juniata College baseball's Joe Sforza (Pittstown, N.J./Immaculata) launched a two-run homer in the seventh inning that gave Juniata back the lead and sparked a few more runs to allow Juniata to end its four-game losing streaking with a 13-9 win over visiting Penn State Altoona Thursday afternoon.
Sforza's round-tripper couldn't have come at a more crucial time; Juniata (11-19) had just surrendered the lead in the top of the seventh allowing three runs to let the come-from-behind Lions to hold a 9-8 advantage.
Juniata went out and played hard defense with Mario DeYulius (Ebensburg, Pa./Central Cambria) making his first appearance of the day on the mound. DeYulius forced a groundout to shortstop and two fly outs to centerfield.
Derek Heath (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon) worked his way on base, stole second and scored when the Lions' first baseman overthrew first. Another Penn State Altoona error on a Brad Medellin (Lewisberry, Pa./Red Land) grounder allowed senior Matt Fritz (Schnecksville, Pa./Parkland) to cross. Dan Gray (Johnstown, Pa./Richland) cleaned-up and singled Medellin home for Juniata's third and final run of the eighth.
Leading up to the seventh, Juniata posted four runs to open the first and put-up two more in the second. The third and fourth innings also saw a single run each before both Juniata and Penn State Aloona (13-19) went scoreless in innings five and six.
Medellin, Heath and D. Gray all charted three hits on the day, with Medellin notching a double. Cole Walters (Mt. Union, Pa./Mt. Union) and Fritz each logged two singles.
Andrew Groninger (McAlisterville, Pa./East Juniata) is given the win for his inning pitched just prior to Sforza's homer. Ryan Morrison (Lebanon, Pa./Lebanon Catholic) threw for 3.1 innings and gave up five hits, five runs and walked six batters. Justin Miller (Bellwood, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) hurled 2.2 innings and gave up one run on three hits. Medellin closed the game for Juniata and gave up just one hit.
Juniata travels to the United States Merchant Marine Academy on Friday, April 20, for a three-game Landmark Conference series.