AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Penn State Altoona baseball started its week in the 2019 RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on Saturday at Lake Myrtle Park, with the Lions losing 8-1 and 6-5 to Coe College.
After a sluggish start to the day with a seven-run loss in game one, the Lions (0-4) bounced back in game two, but they were ultimately defeated by Coe (2-0) on a walkoff.
"Self-destruction killed us in game one. We weren't ready to pay. When you play a team of Coe's caliber, you can't have the errors – both physically and mentally – that we had," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "Although we were on the losing end of game two, we played much better. We just couldn't get the big play when we needed it. However, I believe that if we play like we did in the second game, we will win most games down here."
Game One: Coe 8, Penn State Altoona 1
The Lions' bats were quieted in game one, as the team was held to just one run on one hit.
Austin Miller (Orbisonia, PA/Southern Huntingdon) got the start on the mound for the Lions, going two innings and surrendering four earned runs to take the loss. Clayton Hain (Schaefferstown, PA/Eastern Lebanon County) made his first collegiate appearance, pitching three innings and yielding a pair of runs while striking out one. Jaryd Palmer (Northumberland, PA/Shikellamy) finished the game off, pitching the final two innings and allowing one run while recording one strikeout.
Coe scored in the top of the first inning when TJ Johnson led off with a triple to left-center and came home on Kevin DeLaney's sacrifice fly to left.
The Kohawks took advantage of a four-error inning by the Lions in the second. Nolan Arp reached on a throwing error, moved to second on an obstruction call at first base, advanced to third on a failed pickoff, and scored on a fielding error on a ground ball to make it 2-0.
Coe got three more runs across in the top half of the third. With the bases loaded, Jordan Kaplan was hit by a pitch and Riley LeGrand drew a walk to bring in a pair of runs. Jacob Burns' sac fly to right made it 5-0.
Penn State Altoona got on the board in the bottom of the third when Mays walked, moved to second on another walk, and scored on Clouser's double down the left field line.
But the Kohawks scored two more runs in the fifth on Daniel Berger's two-run homer to left, plus another in the sixth on Burns' RBI double to left-center.
Game Two: Coe 6, Penn State Altoona 5
The Lions played a better game in the second half of the doubleheader, but they were unable to overcome some key miscues.
George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) led Penn State Altoona at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI, and a run scored. Brandyn Schuchart (York, PA/Spring Grove) went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Aaron Sharp (Freeburg, PA/Midd-West) started at pitcher in game two and took a no decision, tossing 1 1/3 innings and surrendering three runs. Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) was saddled with the loss despite a strong performance out of the bullpen, tossing five innings and striking out six batters while allowing no earned runs.
Coe grabbed a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, when three runs came across on wild pitches. But the Lions tied the game in the top of the third inning when Jordan McCall (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) scored on a wild pitch and Stiuso drove two runs home with a triple to center.
An outfield error allowed two runs to score for the Kohawks in the bottom of the fourth, but the Lions answered again by plating runs in the top of the fifth when Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) came home on a wild pitch and Schuchart brought home Stiuso with an RBI single to left-center.
But Coe got the last word in the bottom of the seventh. After Burns led off the frame with a base hit, Cameron Frazier pinch ran and stole second, then scored on a throwing error to give the Kohawks the win.
Penn State Altoona baseball goes into its second day of competition in this week's RussMatt Central Florida Invitational tomorrow, Sunday, March 3. The Lions will face Waynesburg University in a doubleheader at Lake Myrtle Park's main field, with game one scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m.