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Illinois College Sweeps Lions in Friday Doubleheader

Illinois College Sweeps Lions in Friday Doubleheader

FOUR CORNERS, Fla. – The Penn State Altoona baseball team was swept in its doubleheader against Illinois College on Friday in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational at Northeast Regional Park.

Penn State Altoona (3-7) squandered a five-run lead in game one, and Illinois (4-5) came back to defeat the Lions 11-7 in nine innings. In game two, Penn State Altoona got strong pitching and defense but was unable to come up with the big hit, falling 3-1.

Game One: Illinois College 11, Penn State Altoona 7 (Final/9 innings)

Penn State Altoona led 6-1 after four innings, but the Lions could not hold that lead, as Illinois put together a five-run top of the seventh to tie the score. The game advanced into extra innings, where the Blueboys scored five in the top of the ninth and went on to win by four runs.

Alex Hlivia (State College, PA/State College) went 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, two runs batted in, two runs scored, one walk, and one stolen base. Corey Chamberlain (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, and Jake Hillard (State College, PA/State College) went 2-for-5 with a home run, a double, three RBI, and a run scored.

Tristin Lockett (Mifflin County, PA/Mifflin County) was the Lions' starting pitcher, and he finished with a no decision after going 6 2/3 innings and surrendering six runs while striking out nine batters. Collin Hickey (Downingtown, PA/Downingtown East) pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief, and Cole Brechbill (Hagerstown, MD/North Hagerstown) pitched one scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

After Illinois grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Tyler Blum's two-out RBI single to center, the Lions evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom half of the inning. Grayson McClain (Mount Union, PA/Mount Union) led off with a walk, moved up to third on Hlivia's double, and scored when Chamberlain delivered an RBI single to left.

Hlivia's RBI single to left in the second and Hillard's leadoff homer to left in the third put Penn State Altoona in front, 3-1. The Lions padded their lead by getting three runs across in the fourth, using another RBI single from Hlivia and a two-run double from Hillard to extend their advantage to 6-1.

But Illinois rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh, scoring four of them with two outs. Caleb Uselton's RBI single to center with one out made it 6-2, before two-out run-scoring singles from Peyton Phillips, Peyton Abbott, and James Marcinkowski totaled four more runs for the Blueboys to tie the score 6-6.

The tie score remained until the ninth, when Illinois put together another five-run frame. Marcinkowski's two-run triple to right put the Blueboys into the lead, and a Cullen McBride RBI single made it 9-6. An RBI fielder's choice grounder from Connor Hennemann brought another run home, and an infield error later allowed Hennemann to score to make it 11-6.

Anthony Iannizzi (Leesburg, VA/Heritage) drove in a run in the bottom of the ninth with his RBI single to right that cut the Illinois lead to 11-7, but the Lions stranded the bases loaded to end the game.

Game Two: Illinois College 3, Penn State Altoona 1

The Lions got a solid start on the pitching mound, holding the Blueboys to three runs on six hits. But Illinois College limited Penn State Altoona to just one run on six hits, and the Lions could not capitalize with runners on base, stranding 10 for the game.

Kyle Glass (Imler, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) tossed a complete game for Penn State Altoona, going six innings and yielding three runs on six hits and a walk. The right-hander also struck out four batters.

Hlivia was 2-for-2 continued to hit well after his game one performance, going 2-for-2 with a double, a triple, and two walks. Garrett Alauzen (Pittsburgh, PA/Chartiers Valley) was also 2-for-2 with a run scored, a walk, and a stolen base.

Illinois scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second on an RBI groundout to second by Henneman.

Penn State Altoona knotted the score at 1-1 in the top of the third. Alauzen reached base with one out after his single to left, and he moved into scoring position by stealing second. McClain's two-out base hit to right plated Alauzen, evening the game score at one run apiece.

But Illinois reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the inning on Blum's sacrifice fly to right, and McBride led off the bottom of the fourth with a home run to left to make it 3-1.

Penn State Altoona baseball heads into the final day of its Florida trip tomorrow, Saturday, March 12, going up against Clarkson University for a doubleheader of two seven-inning games at Northeast Regional Park's field #4. Game one start time has been shifted to 8:45 a.m. to accomodate the games in light of impending inclement weather.