Susquehanna rallies, takes opening series

BY CHRIS HOOKER, SPORTS EDITOR

The comeback kids.

Susquehanna defeated Merchant Marine in a weekend series, two games to one last Friday and Saturday.

The Crusaders lost the first game 9-0.

“I think we were able to put the first loss behind us. We faced a tough day with the weather and everything. We don’t like to make excuses, but it definitely,” said senior infielder Nick Ferlise. “We just came back pretty hungry for the next two games. We wanted to win the series, so that’s what we had to do.”

Courtesy of Sports Information
THROWING STRIKES—Spencer Hotaling (2-1) throws a K during Susquehanna’s 9-3 win over Merchant Marine.

In game one, sophomore pitcher Casey Hood lasted 1.2 innings before getting pulled for reliever Luc Kocher. Hood gave up five runs in the start.

“Casey struggled finding the strike zone,” said head coach Denny Bowers. “He was coming off a good game in Florida during the last week, beating No. 13 Keystone. We had pretty high expectations for our first game of the conference. He just struggled finding the zone. He didn’t have it.”

That, in combination with poor defensive play, allowed Susquehanna to fall to a 9-0 total after three innings, a score that remained the rest of the game.

“We woke up the next morning, had our breakfast and rolled out to the field,” Bowers said.

The Crusaders rolled out to a 9-3 win Saturday morning, which included a dominant seven-run sixth inning.

“Spencer [Hotaling] threw the ball pretty well. We came out swinging. We put up 14 hits in the game and we haven’t done that all year. The bats came alive; we haven’t seen that all year,” Bowers said.

Bryan Palsi and Dan Wing both had impressive games in game two. Pali hit two doubles and an RBI, while Wing went three-for-tree with an RBI. Wing got injured in Florida and had missed seven games before returning for the Merchant Marine series.

“[Wing] came out swinging,” Bowers said.

But the Crusaders work wasn’t done there. Game two, played an hour later, featured another Susquehanna win, to a final score of 8-7.

“Brian Wendig threw that game,” Bowers said. “We started out to a 7-1 lead.”

Susquehanna almost completed back-to-back blowouts after being blown out themselves, but Merchant Marine proved they had some fight left in them.

“In the fourth inning, we had two outs, bases were loaded, we had a fly ball to right field that was misplayed, and next thing you know it’s 7-5,” Bowers said. “Then, we had a ground ball that was misplayed, next thing you know it’s 7-7.”

But in the top half of the next inning, Ferlise hit a homerun that sealed the deal.

For Bowers, it was an impressive weekend as Susquehanna was able to bounce back from a loss and take a win in a close game.

“The biggest thing from this year’s team from last year’s team is how resilient we are,” Bowers said. “They battle.”

With St. John Fisher postponed indefinitely, Susquehanna’s next test will come March 23 when they take on Muhlenberg at home at 1 pm.