HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Penn State Altoona baseball picked up one win and one loss on Wednesday afternoon at Langdon-Goodale Field, shutting out non-conference opponent Juniata College 3-0 in game one of the doubleheader before suffering an 8-7 walkoff loss to the Eagles in game two.
The Lions (7-7) were powered by exceptional pitching in their game one win. In game two, Penn State Altoona's bats heated up, as the team tied their season-high with 10 hits. But it was not enough, as Juniata (5-5) came back to win in the bottom of the seventh.
"We got another really well-pitched game from [Dylan] Bates in game one," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "Some of our bats are starting to come along a bit, but we are still waiting to click on all cylinders. It's upsetting to have given away game two, but our focus is now on Hilbert for our conference opener on Saturday."
Game One: Penn State Altoona 3, Juniata 0
The Lions continued their recent stretch of success on the mound, receiving a stellar pitching performance to lead the team to a shutout win. Penn State Altoona did just enough at the plate, using a pair of long balls to provide offense.
Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda) got the nod as the Lions' game one starting pitcher, and he proceeded to toss his first collegiate complete game and first collegiate shutout. In seven innings, the righty held Juniata scoreless on just two hits and two walks to pick up his first victory of the season. Bates struck out four batters.
Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) finished with two of Penn State Altoona's four hits, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run. Stephen Schanne (Mantua, NJ/Clearview Regional) was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his first collegiate home run.
The Lions and Eagles found themselves deadlocked in a scoreless game through five complete innings. Penn State Altoona's first hit of the day did not come until the top of the fourth, when a leadoff single to right-center by Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) led off the frame.
But a Juniata error in the top of the sixth opened the door for Penn State Altoona to get on the scoreboard. With two outs, Clayton Hain (Schaefferstown, PA/Eastern Lebanon County) reached on an infield error to keep the inning alive. The next batter, Schanne, hit his first career home run, a shot to center field that gave the Lions a 2-0 lead. Jacobs went back-to-back with Schanne, following with a homer to left that extended his team's advantage to 3-0.
Bates and his defense set down six straight Juniata batters, ending the game in drama-free fashion.
Game Two: Juniata 8, Penn State Altoona 7
The Lions found more success at the plate in game two, but Juniata outscored Penn State Altoona 4-1 in the last two innings to overcome a 6-3 deficit.
Grant King (Wingate, PA/Bald Eagle) was 2-for-4 with two doubles, one RBI, and one run scored for the Lions. Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) also went 2-for-4 with a stolen base, and Schanne was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) went 1-for-2 with two walks, one RBI, one run scored, and one stolen base. Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) was 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, and James Mays (Dyer, IN/Lake Central) was 1-for-2 with a pair of sacrifice bunts.
Hain got the start on the mound for Penn State Altoona and took a no decision, pitching three innings and allowing one run on three hits while recording four strikeouts. Hunter Goshorn (Carlisle, PA/Boiling Springs) pitched one inning in relief, and Austin Miller (Orbisonia, PA/Southern Huntingdon) tossed two innings after that. Jaryd Palmer (Northumberland, PA/Shikellamy) was saddled with the loss, pitching 2/3 inning.
Juniata got on the board first, scoring its first run of the day in the bottom of the second inning when Isaac Maclay led off with a double and scored on Jake Swank's triple to left field.
The Lions got back run back in the next half inning. King started the frame with a double down the left field line and later came home on Jacobs' RBI single through the left side to knot the score at 1-1. King put Penn State Altoona in front in the top of the fourth, when his RBI double to left made it 2-1.
The Eagles jumped back into the lead in the bottom of the fourth, when Sam Craig's base hit to right plated a pair of runs, giving the home team a 3-2 advantage.
Penn State Altoona answered with a four-run top of the fifth. Schanne led off with a base hit and later scored on Stiuso's RBI single through the right side. In the next at-bat, Cumming hit a two-run homer to left to put the Lions on top. Later in the inning, Joey Brown (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) scored on a Juniata error to give his team a 6-3 lead.
Juniata responded with a run in the bottom half of the fifth on Ryan McClain's sacrifice fly. In the sixth, Juniata tied the score 6-6 when Maclay drove in a run with his base hit up the middle and a throwing error allowed Adam Kipp to score.
The Lions worked back in front in the top of the seventh, when Breon's sac fly scored Luke Tama (Towanda, PA/Towanda) to make it 7-6.
But Juniata came back to win in the bottom of the seventh. Larry Corle's single up the middle brought the tying run home, and Kipp's sac fly to center scored Devyn Carper to give the Eagles a walkoff win.
Next up, Penn State Altoona baseball will play its first Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference games of the season on Saturday, March 23, when the Lions will travel to face Hilbert College in a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m. Those games are slated to be played at Niagara University's John P. Bobo Field.