SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Junior closer Matt Smith (Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. / Wyoming Seminary) tied the single season saves record on Tuesday afternoon as Susquehanna defeated Messiah 3-2 in non-conference action.
Smith struck out the first batter he faced and earned two fly outs to seal the win for SU (13-23), their first victory in the last seven games and their third win in the last 15 outings. With the save, Smith tied Ben Leonard, who saved seven games back in 2010.
Messiah (14-20) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first with a sacrifice fly. But the Crusaders tied the game in the bottom of the inning after Ty Raubenstine (Elizabethville, Pa. / Upper Dauphin Area) scored on a fielding error by the Falcons' pitcher.
The Falcons knotted the contest at 2-2 in the fifth on a run-scoring single to left center. Again, SU responded by scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the sixth. Bryan Palsi (Brielle, N.J. / Manasquan) drew a walk and Nick Ferlise (Toms River, N.J. / Toms River North) singled through the right side. Palsi later scored on a wild pitch to give the Crusaders a 3-2 lead.
The Crusaders used three pitchers for three outs in the eighth inning as Gregg Uhlak (Ocean Gate, N.J. / Central Regional), Nick Torkildsen (Milford, Pa. / Delaware Valley) and Alex Branch (Sea Girt, N.J. / Manasquan) all earned holds to keep the game in check.
Smith replaced Branch in the ninth and sealed the mid-week win for SU. Matt Roe (Freehold, N.J. / St. John Vianney) earned the win in relief, his second victory of the year.
Sam Eramo (Exeter, Pa. / Wyoming Area) got the start and the lefty went five solid innings, scattering five hits and striking out three in the no-decision.
The Crusaders host Juniata for the final regular season Landmark Conference series on Saturday and Sunday. Eight members of the squad will be honored for Senior Day before the first game on Saturday.
Game Note: The Crusaders last win against the Falcons occurred back on April 13, 2007.