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Photo by Kirk Zembower
Photo by Kirk Zembower

Baseball Finishes Regular Season with Sweep of Medaille

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Penn State Altoona baseball team put the finishing touches on its 2022 regular season schedule with a sweep of Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Medaille College on Saturday afternoon at Buffalo Color Park.

Penn State Altoona (17-19, 8-8 AMCC) held on for a 9-6 victory in game one, then overcame a six-run deficit to win game two 11-7 over Medaille (1-20, 0-12 AMCC).

The Lions have clinched a berth to the AMCC Tournament as the number six seed in the six-team conference playoff. Penn State Altoona will travel next weekend to face the to-be-determined number three seed – either Alfred State College or Mount Aloysius College – in a best-of-three first round series. The date, start time, and opponent for that series will be announced when the final seeding of the AMCC Tournament field is set.

Game One: Penn State Altoona 9, Medaille 6

The Lions got out to a 7-0 lead and fended off a late comeback bid from Medaille to secure the victory in game one.

Tyreke Green (Altoona, PA/Altoona) went 2-for-2 with a triple, two runs scored, two walks, and one run batted in. Alex Hlivia (State College, PA/State College) was 2-for-3 with three runs scored, one RBI, and one walk, and Grayson McClain (Mount Union, PA/Mount Union) also went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, two walks, and one run scored. Richard Carey (Milton, DE/Cape Henlopen) recorded two RBI.

The Lions' offense was helped by success on the base paths, as Penn State Altoona went 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts to tie for the third-most stolen bases as a team in a single game in program history. Hlivia led the way with three stolen bases on his own, tying for the most in a game by an individual player in Lions history. Green, McClain, Garrett Alauzen (Pittsburgh, PA/Chartiers Valley), and Jake Hillard (State College, PA/State College) also had one steal apiece.

On the mound, Alex Kitko (Houtzdale, PA/Moshannon Valley) made the start and registered his third win of the season. The right-hander went 6 1/3 innings and surrendered four earned runs, scattering eight hits and walking two while recording three strikeouts. Cameron Dubbs (Palmyra, PA/Palmyra) posted a scoreless final 2/3 inning in relief to notch his first collegiate save.

After a scoreless first three innings of play, Penn State Altoona broke through for five runs in the top of the fourth. Run-scoring singles to right-center by Hlivia and McClain put the Lions on the board, and Carey followed with a sacrifice fly to right to make it 3-0. The next batter, Alauzen, reached on an error that allowed McClain and Green to both score, increasing Penn State Altoona's advantage to five.

In the top of the fifth, Green's RBI triple to right and McClain's RBI double down the right field line extended the Lions' lead to 7-0.

Medaille a pair in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two runners on, Josh Wolski singled to left, and an outfield error on the play allowed the Mavericks' first run of the day to come home. One batter later, Alfredo Apolte's sac fly to right lowered Penn State Altoona's lead to five, 7-2.

The Lions got a run back in the top of the sixth, when Hillard drew a one-out walk, stole second, moved up to third on a flyout, and scored on a passed ball. Another sac fly from Carey in the top of the seventh got Penn State Altoona's lead back to seven, 9-2.

Medaille made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, scoring four runs and bringing the tying run to the plate. Wolski's RBI single to left started the Mavericks' rally, and a two-run double to left-center from Derek Holtz narrowed Medaille's deficit to four. One batter later, Aponte scored on a Tyler Siwek groundout to bring the Mavericks one run closer. But, with two runners on and two outs in a 9-6 game, the Lions got a flyout to end the threat and preserve the game one victory.

Game Two: Penn State Altoona 11, Medaille 7

Medaille held a 7-1 lead through five innings, but Penn State Altoona pulled together to score 10 runs over the final four frames to post a comeback win.

Carey went 3-for-5 with a triple, two RBI, and two runs scored. Timothy Richard (Douglassville, PA/Daniel Boone) went 2-for-2 with two walks, an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base. McClain was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored, and Hillard finished 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored.

Eli Wiles (Kittanning, PA/Armstrong) started game two on the bump and finished with a no decision. The righty allowed just one hit while walking five, surrendered four earned runs, and struck out five batters. Sam Homan (Altoona, PA/Bishop Guilfoyle) pitched 4 2/3 innings in relief to notch his second win of the season, limiting Medaille to just three hits, two walks, and one unearned run while striking out three.

The Lions grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when McClain started the game off with a double down the left field line, moved up to third on a fly ball out, and scored on a wild pitch.

Medaille went up 2-1 in the bottom of the second, after Nolan Gallagher scored on Aponte's fielder's choice grounder and Wolski came home on a wild pitch.

The Mavericks proceeded to add five more runs to their total in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ean Pokorski's RBI single to center opened the scoring in the frame, and he later scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-1. Two batters after that, Siwek came home on a wild pitch, and Patrick Gavigan drove in a pair with his double down the left field line that increased the Medaille advantage to 7-1.

Penn State Altoona picked up a run in the top of the sixth, when Richard's RBI single to left-center brought the Lions to within five, 7-2. The visitors made it a three-run game in the top half of the seventh, as Carey's RBI single through the left side brought in one run, and McClain scored on an error to cut the Medaille lead to 7-4.

In the top of the eighth, Penn State Altoona capitalized on two Medaille errors to tie the game, and the Lions went on to take the lead during the inning. Richard led off with a triple, then scored when Corey Chamberlain (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) reached on an error in the next at-bat. Fred Guarino IV (Waynesboro, PA/Waynesboro) followed with a base hit to center, and an error on a Hlivia bunt allowed both Chamberlain and Guarino to score to knot the score at 7-7. Later in the inning, Carey's triple to left-center drove in the go-ahead run, and Alauzen's RBI single through the left side put Penn State Altoona up 9-7.

The Lions padded their lead by scoring twice more in the top of the ninth. Chamberlain's RBI triple to right-center got his team's run total to 10, and Green added an RBI single later in the frame to set the score at 11-7.

Penn State Altoona held Medaille off of the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth, securing the game two win and the doubleheader sweep.