LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Susquehanna baseball team swept Juniata on Sunday for the Crusaders’ 10th-consecutive win, playing at Bucknell University’s Depew Field.
The Crusaders (10-3, 3-0 Landmark) won game one 9-3 and took the nightcap from Juniata (3-11, 0-3 Landmark), winning 5-1. In the process, SU is riding the longest winning streak for the program since 1995, when the team won nine-straight.
In the first contest, starting pitcher Casey Hood (Shrewsbury, Pa. / Susquehannock) earned his third win of the year as the lefty hurled 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out six.
Junior Kyle Semmel (Burlington Twp., N.J. / Holy Cross) recorded a team-high three hits and also scored twice. During the weekend series, Semmel batted .667 (8-for-12) with five runs scored.
The Crusaders had 16 total hits and took advantage of five Juniata errors to win the doubleheader and sweep the Eagles, the first Landmark Conference sweep for SU since 2011 and the first three-game sweep of the Eagles since the start of the Landmark in 2008.
SU surrendered two runs in the first to the Eagles but bounced back in the second and plated three, to take a 3-2 lead. With bases loaded and no outs, senior catcher Greg Stellon (Chadds Ford, Pa. / Tatnall School) drew a walk and junior outfielder Jared Musilli (Branchville, N.J. / High Point Regional) followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice and tying the game at 2-2. Classmate Nick Kennedy (Brookeville, Md. / Good Council) also drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Crusaders ahead after the second frame.
In the top of the fourth, Kennedy started the action with a single up the middle and would eventually score with a double down the right field line off the bat of freshman Taylor Luckenbill (Pottsville, Pa. / Nativity BVM). Luckenbill later scored on a throwing error by Juniata’s catcher, giving SU a 5-2 lead.
Freshman Dylan Jenkins (Glenn Mills, Pa. / Bayard Rustin) brought in two more runs with a single to center as the Crusaders increased the lead to 7-2 after four innings of play.
SU tacked on another run in the fifth as Dylan Glassmire (Doylestown, Pa. / Central Bucks South) drove in Kennedy on an RBI groundout, upping the Crusader advantage to 8-2.
The Eagles would score one run in the sixth inning to get within 8-3 but the Crusaders touched home once more with Bryan Palsi (Brielle, N.J. / Manasquan) driving in Glassmire on another run-scoring groundout.
Freshman Bobby Wittemann (Warrington, Pa. / Central Bucks South) relieved Hood in the seventh and retired the Eagles in order to give SU the game two victory of the three-game set.
In game two, junior Luc Kocher (Middlebury Center, Pa. / Elkland) pitched 6.0 innings, allowing just one run on six hits while fanning four to earn his third victory of the season. Rookie A.J. Pinto (Bronxville, N.Y. / Fordham Prep) appeared out of the bullpen and threw one scoreless inning.
The contest was scoreless until the top of the third when Musilli scored on a fielding error by the Eagles’ first basemen off a bunt. Later in the frame, Palsi singled to right, bringing home Glassmire and Kennedy as the Crusaders went ahead 3-0.
In the top of the fourth, Chris Ryan (Toms River, N.J. / Toms River North) led off with a single to center and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Kennedy as SU increased the lead to 4-0. In the bottom of the frame, the Eagles got on the board with an RBI single to trim the advantage to 4-1.
SU tacked on an insurance run in the sixth. Semmel led off with a single to center and two batters later, Musilli brought him home with a base hit to left, giving the Orange & Maroon a 5-1 lead. Pinto relived Kocher in the seventh and kept the Eagles in check as the Crusaders completed the sweep.
SU is scheduled to play at Gettysburg on Tuesday, March 18 at 3:30 p.m.