PITTSBURGH, Pa. – No. 3 Penn State Altoona baseball's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament run came to an end on Saturday, when the Lions were blanked 6-0 by No. 1 seed La Roche University in the conference championship game.
La Roche (30-13) claims the AMCC title and earns the automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament. Meanwhile, Penn State Altoona (28-16) will await a possible berth into the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Tournament. The ECAC will announce its field on Monday, following the NCAA baseball selection show.
The Lions' AMCC Tournament performance represented the program's deepest run into the conference playoffs since the 2011 season, when Penn State Altoona won the league championship. The team's 28 wins this season and 12 AMCC victories are also the program's most since 2011.
"I'm proud of the guys this season. The senior class was part of a team just a few years ago that was 11-29, and the turnaround we've made in a short period of time has been remarkable," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "Now, we just wait and hope we get an ECAC bid and get an opportunity to bring home a championship."
At the conclusion of the championship game, three Lions were named to the AMCC's All-Tournament team: third baseman/pitcher Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda), outfielder Jordan McCall (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg), and outfielder Joey Brown (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River).
In five games at the plate during the AMCC Tournament, Bates hit a team-high .529 (9-for-17) with four runs scored, three runs batted in, three walks, and two doubles. On the mound, Bates pitched 6 1/3 innings while starting the conference championship game. McCall batted .333 (7-for-21) in six games with four runs scored, one double, one RBI, and one walk, and Brown hit .500 (5-for-10) with two RBI, two doubles, two stolen bases, a walk, and a run scored in three games.
In Saturday's game, Brown and Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) combined for four of the Lions' eight hits. Brown went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base, and Anderson was 2-for-4 with a double.
Bates started on the mound and took the loss, pitching 6 1/3 innings and surrendering five earned runs. Austin Miller (Orbisonia, PA/Southern Huntingdon) tossed a scoreless 1 2/3 innings in relief, allowing only two hits.
Penn State Altoona limited La Roche's damage for much of the game, but the Lions were unable to cash in on scoring chances, stranding 12 runners on base.
The Redhawks plated the game's first run in the bottom of the second, when Jonathan Melendez's sacrifice fly to right field made it 1-0. Dylan Urban's sac fly to right in the fourth doubled the home team's lead.
In the fifth, Shane Roebuck's two-out, two-run home run to left-center increased La Roche's lead to 4-0. The Redhawks tacked two more runs on to their total in the seventh, when Joe Proffesori's two-run single through the left side made it 6-0.