HUNTINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata baseball team came back and scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to win game two in walk off fashion, 8-7, after dropping game one, 3-0, to Penn St.- Altoona on a chilly afternoon at Langdon-Goodale Field.
Hunter Price (Huntingdon, Pa. / Huntingdon Area) took the mound in game one and we went 5.2 innings while allowing four hits and striking out eight.
Price had it going early as he struck out the side to open the game and he struck five of the first nine batters he faced overall. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth, but he got out of the inning without further incident. In the top of the fifth inning, the senior right hander faced runners on first and second with two outs before he induced another swinging strikeout to get out of the inning. He opened the sixth with his seven and eighth strikeout, but then ran into trouble. The next PSU-Altoona batter reached on error and then the visitors hit back to back homeruns to go up, 3-0. The Eagles couldn't make up the difference as they dropped game one, 3-0.
Game two was a much different ballgame in many ways as both teams did damage with their bats, but also because Juniata got on the board first. Isaac Maclay (Belleville, Pa./Mifflin County HS) lined a double down the left field line and Jake Swank (Portage, Pa. / Portage) blasted a triple to left to put JC ahead.
In the top of the third PSU-Altoona tied the game up with an RBI-single through the left side and in the top of the fourth an RBI-double to left put them in the lead, but not for long.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Swank and Ryan McClain (Hughesville, Pa. / Hughesville) drew back to back walks before they both advanced on Colton Kubicki (York, Pa. / West York)'s groundout to second. Sam Craig (Mullicahill, N.J. / Kingsway Regional) plated both runners with a single to right as the Eagles moved back into the lead, 3-2.
The Lions had a four-run fifth inning highlighted by a two-run blasts to left as they jumped back ahead. A McClain sac fly to left plated Larry Corle (Martinsburg, Pa. / Central High school) to cut the deficit to two.
Dominic Hoyle (Woodbridge, Va. / Garfield) navigated some trouble in the sixth by stranding two runners as he denied the Lions any further runs.
Corle drew a walk in the bottom half of the sixth after the first two batters were retired. Adam Kipp (Mt. Wolf, Pa. / Northeastern) ripped a single up the middle and Maclay followed with a single up the middle of his own to score Corle. Swank mangaged to reach safely after the pitcher threw the ball over the first baseman's head which allowed Kipp to score and tie the game. McClain drew a walk to load the bases and Price entered as a pinch hitter. During the at-bat it appeared the ball struck him on the elbow, but the umpire ruled that it didn't and he wound up striking out to end the inning.
PSU-Altoona scored on another sac fly to left to go up 7-6, but JC managed to hold them to one run so they entered the bottom half of the inning needing at least one run of their own.
Ben Raab (Langhorne, Pa. / Neshaminy) reached on an error by the second baseman, Jake Safko (Huntingdon, Pa. / Huntingdon Area) entered to pinch run and was moved up via a sac bunt by Craig. Devyn Carper's (Altoona, Pa. / Altoona Area) reached safely and got to second when the shortstop tried to throw out Safko at third but the third baseman couldn't haul the ball in. Corle's single up the middle scored Safko to pull the Eagles within one and sent Carper to third. This set the stage for Kipp, who's flyout to center was deep enough to let Carper scamper home for the victory.
Juniata will open conference play on the road at Scranton, Saturday beginning at 12:30.