HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata baseball team split their first two conference games against Scranton, falling 15-5 before winning 7-6, on a chilly afternoon at Langdon-Goodale Field Saturday afternoon.
Game one saw both teams put up zeros in the first inning, but both teams left runners on, which was sign of offense to come.
Scranton scored in the second on a bases loaded walk and a wild pitch before Juniata responded in the bottom half of the inning. Josh Keszczyk (Boyertown, Pa./Boyertown Area) ripped a double to left and Larry Corle (Martinsburg, Pa./Central HS) drove him home with a laser of a double to right that just stayed fair as the Eagles halved the deficit.
A scoreless third was proceeded by more offensive fireworks in the fourth. Scranton pushed four across in the top half and JC capitalized on a Royal error to get one back. Juniata scored one more in the fifth when Keszczyk single through the right side to plate Zane Morgan (Bigler, Pa./Clearfield Area).
The Royals exploded for nine runs in the top of the sixth, capped off with a grand slam to left field that put Scranton up 15-3. Juniata scored a run in the sixth and again in the seventh to complete the score line at 15-5.
Devyn Carper (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area) was 3-5 with a stolen base a run scored, Chris Schreder (Lititz, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) was 3-3 with an RBI, and a walk while Keszczyk was 2-2 with a double, a RBI, a walk and a run scored. Corle was 1-3 with a double, two RBI, a stolen base and a run scored.
The second game started with Adam Kipp (Mt. Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) sitting down the side capped with a swinging strikeout. The Eagle offense came soaring out the gate in the bottom half of the inning. Carper led off by being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a ground out to the pitcher. Schreder's single allowed Carper to score and a batter later Ben Raab (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy) singled to center while Schreder went first to third. Cameron Livingston (Blairsville, Pa./Blairsville) was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Dillon Hippensteel (Dillsburg, Pa./York Catholic) smashed a double off the wall in center to clear the bases and put the Eagles up 4-0.
After nullifying a Scranton double by stranding the runner at third in the top half, the Eagle offense did more damage in the bottom half. Carper was hit by a pitch and Hunter Price (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon Area) smashed a double down the left field line to drive home Carper. Schreder followed with a two-run blast over the fence in left as the Eagles pushed their lead to seven.
The Royals did not go down without a fight, scoring four runs in the third including a three-run homer to left. They scored on a sac fly in the fifth to get within two at 7-5.
The Eagles shutdown Scranton through the sixth, seventh and eighth innings with Nevin Wood (Bellwood, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) taking over in the seventh as he paired with Kipp to allow zero hits over the three innings.
Scranton got the winning run to first with one out as Jesse Beeler (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) had his work cut out for him to nab his first save of the season. He got the next better to ground into a fielder's choice as they got the Royal runner at second out, but a run crossed the plate to make it 7-6. After Scranton stole second, Beeler struck out the final batter to end the game.
Price was 1-5 with a double and a run scored while Schreder went 4-4 with a homer, three RBI, a walk and two runs scored. Raab went 2-4 with a run scored while Hippensteel went 3-4 with a double and a stolen base.
The rubber match of the series will take place tomorrow at noon at Langdon-Goodale field.