Baseball Wins Regular Season Finale to Lock Up Fourth Spot in Landmark Playoffs
KINGS POINT, N.Y. – The Susquehanna University baseball team used a 10-run fourth inning to come away with a must-win game at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 14-13, on Sunday. With the win, SU has clinched the No.4 seed in next week's Landmark Conference playoffs.
After dropping both games to the Mariners (14-14-1, 7-11-1) on Saturday, the Crusaders (14-24, 8-10) needed to win the nine-inning affair on Sunday afternoon to keep their season alive and did so by pounding out 17 hits.
Finding themselves down, 3-0, after three innings, SU exploded for 10 runs in the top of the fourth, sparked by four two-RBI hits.
Sophomore outfielder Ken Kayama (Koto-Ku, Japan/Solesbury) led off the scoring with a two-run double that scored junior infielder Ethan Rieker (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Twp.) and senior infielder Justin Portzline (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove Area). Kayama batted 1-for-4 on the day with a run scored.
Fellow sophomore outfielder Ryan Crofts (Westport, Conn./Staples) drove in two runs on a single in the fourth as part of his 1-for-3 day. Freshman catcher Stephen Tamayo (South Orange, N.J.) followed behind Crofts with an RBI single that scored senior infielder Geoff Hunter (Sugarloaf, Pa./Hazleton Area). Tamayo went 2-for-5 with a run scored and a stolen base, while Hunter was perfect at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance, including three runs scored and a walk.
Portzline and Rieker would be the next two Crusaders' batters to drive in two runs each. Portzline singled to drive in Tamayo and Crofts, and then Rieker homered after a run was scored on a double steal by Portzline and freshman outfielder Ty Raubenstine (Elizabethville, Pa.). Raubenstine scored on a throwing error to third base.
Portzline stole a base and scored twice as part of a 2-for-6 game, while Rieker was 4-of-5 at the plate with three runs scored, a double and a stolen base. Raubenstine had a hit in five at bats while swiping two bags and driving in a run.
Sophomore outfielder/infielder Dan Wing (West Chester, Pa./Unionville) stroked a double, scored twice and drove in a run in a 3-for-5 effort.
On the hill, sophomore Brian Wendig (West Chester, Pa./Malvern Prep) picked up his fourth win of the season in 6.2 innings of action. Wendig surrendered 12 hits and six earned runs while striking out four and walking two batters.
Sophomores Tyler Della Badia (Scotch Plains, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood) and Nick Torkildsen (Milford, Pa./Delaware Valley HS) came out of the bullpen to secure the victory. Della Badia tossed 1.1 innings and gave up two hits and two runs before giving way to Torkildsen, who earned his first save of the season in the final inning of work. Torkildsen also gave up two runs and two hits but forced the final two Mariners batters to fly out to end the game.
The Crusaders will now play top seed Moravian College in the semi-final round of the Landmark Conference playoffs next week.