KINGS POINT, N.Y. – Despite three home runs and impressive gut and character, the United States Merchant Marine Academy baseball team fell to Landmark Conference-opponent Susquehanna University by the final score of 14-13 at Lower Roosevelt Field in Kings Point, N.Y. With the win, the Crusaders improved to 14-24 overall and 8-10 in the league, and secured the fourth seed in the league's postseason tournament. With the loss, the Mariners dropped to 14-14-1 overall and 6-11-1 in the conference.
After three frames, USMMA took a 3-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by rookie SS Danny Collins (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) and an error by the Crusaders' second baseman. Susquehanna answered that by scoring 10 runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 10-3 advantage. Ken Kayama, Ryan Crofts and Justin Portzline all had two-run base hits for Susquehanna, while Ethan Rieker lifted a two-run homer to left center.
Kings Point continued to chip away, however, and never resigned to the big lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Collins hit a solo home run and then in the seventh, smacked a two-run shot to left field to score freshman DH Jake Martin (San Diego, Calif.) and cut USMMA's deficit to 13-9.
Following in Collins' footsteps, rookie 2B Warren Hartmann (Wyckoff, N.J.) deposited the baseball over the left field wall for a two-run homer in the eighth. Kings Point trailed 13-11.
In the final inning, Susquehanna plated an insurance run, which would end up being the difference in the game. Ty Raubenstine singled to left to score Geoff Hunter. Hartmann would record another two RBI in the ninth with a double down the left field line, but two fly-outs later, the Crusaders were victorious, 14-13.
For the Mariners, Collins and Hartmann each drove in four runs, while the former finished with a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish. Starting rookie hurler John Kret (Tuckahoe, N.Y.) was strapped with the loss to see his record drop to 4-2 on the year.
While this loss eliminates Kings Point from playoff contention, Head Coach Michael Notebaert and the Mariners still have two remaining non-conference games on their schedule. The first will be on Tuesday, May 3 as they welcome St. Joseph's College of Long Island to Lower Roosevelt Field. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m.