SELINSGROVE, Pa. – The Susquehanna baseball took two from visiting league foe Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday afternoon, extending the team’s school record winning streak to 12 straight victories.
SU (12-3, 5-0 Landmark) defeated the Mariners (8-4, 0-2 Landmark) in game one 7-3 and captured the second contest 2-1, putting an end to Merchant Marine’s six-game winning streak. SU is now 14-7 against the Mariners since 2008.
In the opening game, starting pitcher Luc Kocher (Middlebury Center, Pa. / Elkland) earned his fourth win of the spring, going five innings, scattering five hits and striking out three. Freshman A.J. Pinto (Bronxville, N.Y. / Fordham Prep) pitched two scoreless innings, earning his first career save.
The Crusaders plated five runs in the bottom of the second as Bryan Palsi (Brielle, N.J. / Manasquan) led off with a double to right. Kyle Semmel (Burlington Twp., N.J. / Holy Cross) followed with a bunt single and Palsi would score on an error by the Mariners’ first basemen.
Ben Miller (Columbia, Md. / Hammond) singled to left and Semmel scored, giving SU a 2-0 lead. After a Nick Kennedy (Brookeville, Md. / Good Council), Ty Raubenstine (Elizabethville, Pa. / Upper Dauphin Area) cracked an RBI single to center. Freshman Taylor Luckenbill (Pottsville, Pa. / Nativity BVM) came up next with a run-scoring base knock to right, giving SU a 4-0 edge.
Dylan Glassmire (Doylestown, Pa. / Central Bucks South) contributed an RBI single to end the SU scoring barrage in the second as the Crusaders jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead.
However, Merchant Marine answered with a three-run third inning, cutting into the SU edge 5-3. But the Crusaders responded with another run in the third as Semmel would score to give the Orange & Maroon a 6-3 advantage.
SU tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Pinch runner Greg Stellon (Chadds Ford, Pa. / Tatnall School) stole home with two outs and Pinto retired the side in order to give the Crusaders the series opening win.
Junior southpaw Casey Hood (Shrewsbury, Pa. / Susquehannock) earned the win in game two, his fourth of the season, as the lefty threw six innings, giving up one run on four hits and fanning a pair.
Senior closer Matt Smith (Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. / Wyoming Seminary) pitched a flawless seventh for his seventh save of the year, tying his own season-best set in 2013. He is now only one save away from breaking the school record for single-season saves (8), set by Ben Leonard in 2010.
Despite trailing by one after the first inning of play, SU tacked on a run in the fourth and sixth frames. Lucknbill finished with two hits while Raubenstine and Kennedy scored the team’s two runs.
The Crusaders close out the series with Merchant Marine tomorrow, with a nine-inning game at 12 p.m.