Kings Point, NY – The USMMA baseball team completed a three-game sweep of Juniata to punch a ticket to the 2014 Landmark Conference Tournament. Before Sunday's game the USMMA baseball program honored its six graduating seniors: Warren Hartmann (Wyckoff, NJ), Danny Collins (Sleepy Hollow, NY), Jake Martin (San Diego, CA) Andrew MacKinnon (Buffalo, NY), Timothy Arner (Allentown, PA) and Nicholas Nalette (Goffstown, NH). The Mariners will be the fourth-seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament and take on regular season champion and host Moravian in the opening game on Saturday, May 3.
Game 1: USMMA 14 – Juniata 8 (7 Inn.)
Juniata jumped out to a quick lead in the opening game of the series with four runs in the top of the first inning. Cody Krepps, Dan Gray, and Eric Grace all recorded RBI hits in the inning while the Eagles also took advantage of one of the Mariners four errors of the game. The Mariners answered right back to take control of the game with seven runs in the bottom of the first. USMMA had a parade of RBI hits in the frame with Hartmann, Collins, Martin, Joseph Policastro (Hauppague, NY), Jacob Wood (Richmond, VA), and Quinn Fleming (Ashburn, VA) all plated runs during the rally.
U.S. Merchant Marine piled on five more runs in the second inning to open up a commanding 12-4 advantage. Wood ripped a two-run double while Martin and Richard Kernan (Blythewood, SC) tacked on RBI singles. After a Juniata run in the top of the third, Hartmann and Collins launched back-to-back homers to push the USMMA advantage to 14-5.
The Eagles chipped away at their deficit with one run in the sixth and two in the seventh but the Mariners ultimately sealed the 14-8 victory. Timothy Arner (Allentown, PA) pitched six and two-thirds innings to earn the victory.
Game 2: USMMA 5 – Juniata 1 (7 Inn.)
The Mariners took the early lead in game two of Saturday's double header as Wood recorded another RBI hit in the bottom of the second to make it 1-0. USMMA got its second run in the third frame on a first-and-third double steal that saw MacKinnon take home. Collins followed the double steal with a RBI single to give the home team a 3-0 cushion.
Patrick Morgan (Roxboro, NC) made the early runs stand up as the rookie pitched a complete game allowing just one run, zero earned. Morgan scattered seven hits and struck out three batters en route to his fourth victory of the year. Hartmann and Martin tallied RBI hits as the Mariners came away with the double header sweep thanks to the 5-1 verdict.
Game 3: USMMA 7 – Juniata 1
USMMA had its playoff destiny in its own hands entering Sunday's series finale. Cameron Stadele (Alpharetta, GA) put the Mariners up early with a two-run single in the bottom of the first inning. Kyle Clausen (Southold, NY) made the runs stand up, pitching seven strong innings to get the victory and allowing just one run, which came unearned.
Juniata cut the Mariners lead to 2-1 thanks to a run in the top of the sixth. Joe Sforza singled to left field with a runner on second base and the ball kicked away from the USMMA left fielder to account for the unearned tally.
Fleming provided an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out single up the middle. He would score two-batters later on Hartmann's milestone 200th career hit to make it a 4-1 affair. USMMA added four more runs in the bottom of the eighth on the strength of doubles from Policastro and MacKinnon, a Francis Grzymkowski (Stafford, VA) single and a Wood sacrifice fly.
Martin worked a scoreless eighth while Stadele retired the side in the ninth to secure the Mariners trip to the 2014 Landmark Conference playoffs with the 8-1 triumph.