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Moravian Clinches Landmark Tournament Berth with 9th Inning Rally at Juniata

Senior Mike Mittl connects on a double down the right field line versus DeSales University at Gillespie Field.
Senior Mike Mittl connects on a double down the right field line versus DeSales University at Gillespie Field.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College baseball team scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning after giving up a four-run lead to post an 11-6 victory at Juniata College Sunday afternoon as the Greyhounds clinched a berth in the 2019 Landmark Conference Tournament.

The Hounds, now 18-18-1 overall and 11-5 in Landmark Conference action, are heading to the conference tournament for the second straight year and tenth time under the direction of 13-year Head Coach Paul Engelhardt. The Blue and Grey can clinch the second seed in the tournament with one win versus The University of Scranton in the regular season finale on May 4.

Moravian had 14 hits in the contest Sunday with senior left fielder Mike Mittl going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a triple. Junior right fielder Carmine Palummo went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, a double and a triple while junior second baseman Ian Csencsits was 2-for-4 with two runs and a double. Sophomore shortstop Michael Miceli went 2-for-5.

Senior Evan Kulig made the start on the mound for the Greyhounds and allowed a run on six hits and a walk to go with five strikeouts in six innings of action. Freshman Scott Poulson tossed two-thirds of an inning of relief while senior Tyler Caraway pitched 2.1 innings to improve to 5-1 on the season.

The Hounds jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Palummo led off the game with a triple and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Kulig. Senior center fielder Austin Markowski followed with a two-out walk, and he raced home from second base on an RBI single to left center off of Mittl's bat.

Moravian pushed its lead to 4-0 with two more runs in the top of the third inning. Kulig walked with one out and scored from first base on an infield single and throwing error on a ball hit by senior third baseman Tim Heard. Heard, who ended up on third on the play, scored when Mittl connected on an RBI triple down the right field line.

Juniata would get onto the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Blue and Grey responded with a run in the top of the seventh when Csencsits walked and scored on an RBI double down the left field line by Markowski for a 5-1 edge.

The Eagles scored four times in the home half of the seventh inning to knot the score at 5-5, and the Eagles added a run in the eighth to take a 6-5 lead.

The Greyhounds answered with their six-run ninth frame to retake the lead. Csencsits led off the inning with a double down the right field line while Kulig followed with an RBI double also down the right field line to tie the contest. After Markowski was hit by a pitch and an out, Mittl gave the Hounds the lead for good with an RBI single up the middle that scored Kulig with the go ahead run. Sophomore first baseman Thomas Philipps put down a bunt single to load the bases before an error on a ball hit by freshman pinch hitter David Bertolotti chased Markowski across the plate. Miceli drove in Mittl with an RBI fielder's choice while Palummo finished off the scoring with a two-RBI double to center field that plated Philipps and Miceli.

Caraway worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to clinch the postseason berth for the Blue and Grey.

Moravian has added a non-conference home game to the schedule and will return to action on Thursday, May 2 when the squad hosts Messiah College at Gillespie Field with first pitch set for 4:00 p.m.