Lions Fall 5-3 to Clarkson in Florida Finale
FOUR CORNERS, Fla. – The Penn State Altoona baseball team ended its Florida trip with a loss on Saturday, taking a 5-3 defeat in seven innings at the hands of Clarkson University at Northeast Regional Park in the Lions' last game of its week in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
Clarkson (2-0) built leads of 3-1 through two and 5-1 through five innings, and the Golden Knights limited Penn State Altoona (3-8) to three runs on eight hits. The game was halted in the third when a line of heavy thunderstorms hit the area, and the teams waited through a nearly three-hour weather delay before returning to action.
Eli Wiles (Kittanning, PA/Armstrong) started on the bump for Penn State Altoona and tossed two innings, allowing four runs and ultimately taking the loss. After the weather delay, Alex Kitko (Houtzdale, PA/Moshannon Valley) took over the pitching duties and went five innings, allowing just five hits, one run, and one walk while striking out one batter.
Penn State Altoona found itself in an early hole again during Saturday's ballgame, as Clarkson scored the game's first three runs. Kent Wilson's RBI single up the middle in the top of the first got the Golden Knights on the board, and an RBI triple to right by Zachary Carpin and run-scoring single to left by Caleb Doyle increased Clarkson's lead to 3-0 in the second.
Penn State Altoona got a run across in the bottom of the second to cut their deficit to two. Hillard started the frame with a base hit up the middle, moved to second on Logan Margroum's (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) walk, and advanced to third when Phaly Moravek (Leesburg, VA/Tuscarora) put down a sacrifice bunt. Alauzen followed with a grounder that scored Hillard, making it 3-1.
In the top of the third, Mike Nee led off with a double to right, but play was abruptly stopped when nearby lightning strikes were detected. After a lengthy weather delay to allow the heavy thunderstorms to pass, the game was resumed around 1:00 p.m. – over four hours after the start time. Tommy Bianchi capitalized with Nee in scoring position, singling to right to put Clarkson's lead at 4-1.
Nee's RBI base hit through the right side in the fourth upped the Golden Knights' advantage to 5-1.
Penn State Altoona trimmed its deficit back to two in the bottom of the sixth. Alauzen's RBI double to right scored Moravek, and a Grayson McClain (Mount Union, PA/Mount Union) RBI single to center made it 5-3. But, with the bases loaded, the Lions were unable to do any further damage in the inning.
Penn State Altoona stranded two Clarkson runners in the top of the seventh to keep the score differential at two runs, but the Lions could not get anything going in the bottom half of the inning, falling by a 5-3 final score.
The teams were originally scheduled to play two seven-inning games on Saturday, but the second game of the doubleheader was cancelled after the long rain delay affected the day's game schedule at the fields.
Next up, Penn State Altoona will return to Pennsylvania to resume its schedule. The Lions' next games are set for this Wednesday, March 16, when the team heads to Latrobe to face non-conference opponent Saint Vincent College in a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m.