ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona baseball resumed its Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference schedule on Tuesday afternoon, when the Lions split a doubleheader with conference foe Pitt-Bradford at Stewart Athletic Field.
The Lions (12-8, 3-1 AMCC) came out sluggish, suffering a 10-1 loss in game one. The home team bounced back, however, taking game two by a score of 10-4.
"We showed up flat today in game one. You can't do that against conference opponents and expect to walk away with a win," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "Fortunately, we rebounded in game two and were able to pick up a big doubleheader split. We are now 3-1 in conference after facing off against two teams projected ahead of us in the conference standings. We'll take that."
Game One: Pitt-Bradford 10, Penn State Altoona 1
Pitt-Bradford (9-9, 2-4 AMCC) grabbed an early lead and never looked back, as Penn State Altoona struggled to find a spark in its game during the first half of the doubleheader.
Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) had two of the Lions' four hits in the game, going 2-for-3 with a double. Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) was 1-for-2 with a walk, and Richard Carey (Milton, DE/Cape Henlopen) accounted for his team's other hit with a 1-for-3 performance.
Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) got the nod on the mound for Penn State Altoona, taking the loss after surrendering five earned runs over 2 2/3 innings. Jaryd Palmer (Northumberland, PA/Shikellamy) pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief, allowing one run while scattering seven hits and striking out two. Mitchell Carmody (Babylon, NY/Babylon) worked one inning, allowing one run on two hits with one strikeout.
Pitt-Bradford got three runs across in the top of the first inning. Jake McNabb drew a bases-loaded walk, and Matt Hair got another run home with his groundout to the pitcher. Samuel Dreistadt's RBI single to center gave the Panthers a 3-0 advantage.
Stephen Schanne (Mantua, NJ/Clearview Regional) helped the Lions get a run back in the bottom of the first, when his sacrifice fly to right field drove in a run to make it 3-1.
But Pitt-Bradford extended its lead with a five-run third inning. Hair's sac fly to right opened the scoring in the frame, and back-to-back two-run hits from Jason Lucarelli and Kevin Rehak upped the Panthers' lead to 8-1.
Rehak's RBI single to left in the sixth increased Pitt-Bradford's lead to 9-1, and Tyler Hoops scored on a wild pitch in the seventh to make it 10-1.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 10, Pitt-Bradford 4
The Lions turned the page on their game one loss with a better showing in game two, leading to a six-run victory.
Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) blasted his team-leading third home run of the season, going 3-for-5 with three runs batted in, two runs scored, and a stolen base. James Mays (Dyer, IN/Lake Central) also had a three-hit game, batting 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored.
Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) posted a game-high four RBI while hitting 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk. Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda) drew three walks, and Justin Virga (Port Jefferson Station, NY/Comsewogue) scored two runs and walked once.
Aaron Sharp (Freeburg, PA/Midd-West) gave Penn State Altoona a solid start on the mound, picking up his team-leading third win of the year to improve his record to 3-1. The right-hander pitched seven innings and limited Pitt-Bradford to two runs on three hits and one walk. Sharp also struck out five batters to reach the 100-strikeout mark for his collegiate career, the sixth-most strikeouts by a pitcher in Lions history.
Tyler Manger (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) finished off the game for the Lions, pitching the final two innings and allowing two runs on three hits with two strikeouts.
Penn State Altoona jumped on top of Pitt-Bradford early, thanks to back-to-back RBI singles through the right side of the infield by Schanne and George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's).
The Lions doubled their lead in the fourth inning by capitalizing on a pair of Pitt-Bradford mistakes. Virga and Mays reached on consecutive two-out errors by the Panthers, and Breon drove them both in with a two-run single to left.
Pitt-Bradford cut its deficit in half in the top of the sixth. After a single and a double put two runners in scoring position, Robert Sawicki got one across with his groundout to shortstop and Rehak scored on a wild pitch to trim the Lions' lead to 4-2.
But Penn State Altoona got both of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Clouser's RBI base hit gave the Lions a three-run cushion, and Breon scored on an error later in the inning to make it 6-2.
The Lions broke the game open with a four-run seventh inning. With two outs, Virga walked and Mays doubled to left-center. Breon followed with another two RBI base hit, before Clouser's two-run home run to right-center extended Penn State Altoona's lead to 10-2.
Austin Parent hit a two-run home run for Pitt-Bradford in the top of the eighth inning to close out the scoring.
Next up, the Lions will embark on a big AMCC road trip to New York this weekend. On Saturday, April 6, Penn State Altoona will face conference opponent Alfred State College in a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. On Sunday, April 7, the Lions will take on league foe Hilbert College in a twinbill starting at 1:15 p.m. at Niagara University.