HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Juniata College seniors Rachel Nagy (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth) and Stacy Nagy (Millerton, Pa./Troy) combined to belt three home runs, leading the Eagles to a 'senior day' sweep of the United States Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday at Weaver Park Field.
Juniata won the first game, 4-3, tying the contest in the in the fourth inning on Rachel Nagy's two-run belt to left center. The Eagles continued that long-ball momentum into game two, as both Rachel Nagy and Stacy Nagy sent pitches over the fences in a 9-3 Juniata victory.
The wins put Juniata in position to clinch the final spot for the Landmark Conference Softball Tournament on May 7-8, 2010. The Eagles could still finish tied with Catholic University in the standings, however Juniata holds the tiebreaker over Catholic by virtue of Thursday's split with Susquehanna University. Catholic was swept by Susquehanna earlier in the season.
Rachel Nagy's homer in the fourth inning of game one set knotted the contest at 3-3, after Merchant Marine (10-14, 1-6 Landmark) jumped out to a 3-1 lead on Jess LaValley's three-run home run to left center.
Juniata (16-15, 6-6 Landmark) took a 4-3 lead in the fifth, after Kelsey Shutt (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) got aboard on an error at first base. Shutt got around the bases on a passed ball and wild pitch, and eventually crossed on Allison Gerlach's (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) sacrifice fly to center field.
The Mariners got runners in scoring position in each of the final two innings, but Eagle starter Alyssa Erb (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) successfully pitched her way out of the jam on both occasions.
Erb fanned seven Mariners and allowed just three hits over her seven innings in the circle, allowing three hits and three walks while improving her record to 8-7. LaValley went the distance for Merchant Marine, and also recorded seven strikeouts while yielding three earned runs on five hits with no walks in the loss.
Stacy Nagy went 3-for-3 in game one and scored twice, while Rachel Nagy plated two runs in her 1-for-3 effort. Caley McCool (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley) doubled in the fourth for Juniata's only other hit of the game.
In game two, Rachel Nagy's three-run blast keyed a four-run third inning for the Eagles, breaking open a 1-1 game and propelling Juniata to the 9-3 win.
Sarah Eckard (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) opened the frame with a single, and Stacy Nagy reached and moved Eckard to second when her sacrifice bunt resulted in an error by the Merchant Marine first baseman. That brought up Rachel Nagy, who sent the 2-1 pitch over the fence in center.
Amanda Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) crossed later in the frame, when Shutt tripled her home.
Juniata added a single run in the fourth on Rachel Nagy's RBI single to left center. The Eagles effectively put the game out of reach with three more runs in the sixth, including Stacy Nagy's two-out solo home run – the first collegiate home run of her career.
A Rachel Nagy double and Jen O'Neill (Sayville, N.Y./Sayville) single put two more runners aboard, and McCool picked up an RBI with her two-base hit to left field. Shutt got aboard on a fielding error at third base, allowing O'Neill to cross for an additional run.
Merchant Marine put up single runs in the third, sixth, and seventh innings, on the only three occasions it got a runner past second base.
Erb started game two and lasted four complete innings for Juniata to pick up the win, scattering three hits while striking out six Merchant Marine batters. Stacy Nagy moved in to the circle in the fifth, and struck out two batters while allowing two runs on five hits over three innings to earn her first save of the season.
LaValley tossed a complete game for the Mariners in game two, but allowed six earned runs on 10 hits with five walks and one strikeout.
Rachel Nagy finished with five RBI for the contest in her 3-for-3 effort at the plate. Eckard had a 3-for-4 game, and Stacy Nagy, O'Neill, McCool, and Shutt had one hit apiece.
Juniata remains at home on Monday as it hosts Mount Aloysius College at 3:00 p.m.