ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona baseball finished its regular season strong, sweeping Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Medaille College on Saturday afternoon at Stewart Athletic Field.
With their last regular season games now behind them, the Lions (24-14, 12-6 AMCC) will await the conclusion of the regular season for other teams in the conference to see which seed they will obtain in the upcoming AMCC Tournament. Penn State Altoona finishes its regular season with the most overall wins (24) and AMCC wins (12) since the 2011 squad that went 29-12 overall and 14-3 in the conference.
Saturday's doubleheader also took on special significance for Penn State Altoona, as it marked the team's Senior Day. The Lions recognized their four senior players: infielder Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus), third baseman/pitcher Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda), outfielder James Mays (Dyer, IN/Lake Central), and catcher William Zdinak (Centennial, CO/Cherry Creek).
"Nice way to end the regular season. All four seniors contributed in one way or another today," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "We will enjoy the wins, but we know the most important part of our season is still yet to come. I'm very proud of the success we had throughout the regular season, and I'm excited to see if we have a playoff run left in the tank."
Game One: Penn State Altoona 8, Medaille 4
The Lions played a solid game all-around, scoring eight runs on 11 hits, getting effective pitching, and playing error-free defense.
Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, three runs batted in, three runs scored, and one stolen base.
George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) was 2-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI, and one run scored. Zdinak also had a multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-3.
Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) started on the rubber and pitched five innings, securing the win to improve to 3-4 this season. He yielded four runs on eight hits and just one walk while striking out a pair. Clayton Hain (Schaefferstown, PA/Eastern Lebanon County) pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to record his second save of the season.
Medaille put a run on the board in the top of the first inning on Dominick Teoli's RBI single through the left side.
But Penn State Altoona responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, getting RBI doubles from Stiuso, Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona), and Andrew Culp (Oxford, PA/Oxford) to go ahead 3-1.
Medaille narrowed its deficit to 3-2 in the third on Christian Crowe's two-out RBI single to left made it a one-run game.
The Lions got two runs in the fourth to provide a little breathing room, as Breon's two-run homer to left-center increased the home team's advantage to 5-2. The home run was Breon's third of the season.
The Mavericks trimmed the Lions' lead to one again, getting a run in the top halves of the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Medaille got a solo home run from Teoli. In the sixth, the visitors used Andrew Parks' pinch-hit RBI double to left to make it 5-4.
But Penn State Altoona answered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to help put the game out of reach. Breon's RBI base hit up the middle and Stiuso's two-run double to center extended the Lions' lead to 8-4.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 15, Medaille 5
After battling through a close game for much of the contest, the Lions used a big, seven-run seventh inning to break the game open and pull away. Penn State Altoona finished with 17 hits and totaled 15 runs.
Three Lion batters finished with three hits apiece.
Jordan McCall (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) was 3-for-5 with his first collegiate home run, two doubles, five RBI, and two runs scored. Breon finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored, two RBI, and two stolen bases. Richard Carey (Milton, DE/Cape Henlopen) was 3-for-5 with an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base.
Cumming was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two walks. Anderson batted 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk, and Stiuso was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, a run, a walk, and a stolen base.
Aaron Sharp (Freeburg, PA/Midd-West) started at pitcher and finished with a no decision. In four innings, he surrendered four runs on five hits and four walks while striking out a pair. Bates tossed four innings in relief to register his third win of the season, going four innings and allowing no earned runs on three walks and two hits while striking out one batter. Tyler Manger (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) pitched a scoreless ninth inning with one strikeout and allowing two hits.
Medaille got on the board first, when Patrick Gavigan's RBI single to left gave the Mavericks a 1-0 advantage in the top of the second inning.
But Penn State Altoona responded with four runs in the bottom of the second. McCall's two-run double down the left field line put the Lions in front, and Anderson scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1. Carey's RBI single to center upped the lead to 4-1.
Medaille scored four runs in its next three innings to grab the lead. Paul Barker's two-run double to right-center in the third made it a one-run game, and Stephen Kemp scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to tie the score. Gavigan's RBI base hit to right in the top of the fifth put the visitors up, 5-4.
Penn State Altoona came back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to reclaim its lead, and the Lions never looked back from there. Breon's RBI single to left and Stiuso's RBI base hit through the right side plated a pair, and Stiuso scored on a wild pitch later in the inning to put his team ahead 7-5.
Brandyn Schuchart (York, PA/Spring Grove) added a run to the Lions' total in the seventh, hitting a sacrifice fly to right field to score Breon and extend the home squad's lead to 8-5.
Penn State Altoona blew the game open in the eighth, batting around and scoring seven runs in the frame. McCall led off with a home run to left-center, and later, Carey scored on a wild pitch before Breon's RBI single through the left side drove in another run. Breon later stole home during a double steal, and another wild pitch allowed Cumming to score. In McCall's second plate appearance of the inning, he hit a two-run double to right-center to give his team a 15-5 advantage.