PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Fifth-seeded Penn State Altoona baseball suffered an 8-2 loss against top seed La Roche College on Thursday afternoon in the first day of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament championship rounds at John Arnold Sr. Memorial Field.
The Lions (17-20) led for half of the game, as Penn State Altoona built a 2-1 advantage through the opening four-and-a-half innings. But La Roche (32-8-1) took its first lead of the day when it put together a three-run fifth inning, and the Redhawks added four more runs to their lead in the later innings to grab a six-run victory.
"It was a well played game. Great pitching on both ends, but they got a few more timely hits than we did, and they were able to come out on top," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "I'm just happy that we didn't beat ourselves. They were the better team."
Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) started on the mound and took the loss, pitching six innings and striking out three batters. Jacob Plunket (Altoona, PA/Altoona) tossed two innings in relief, giving up no earned runs and striking out two.
Penn State Altoona capitalized with two outs in the top of the first inning. After the first two batters of the inning were set down, Shomberg doubled to center and Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) reached on a single to first base. Bates followed with an RBI single through the right side, scoring Shomberg to make it 1-0.
La Roche struck back for a run in the bottom of the first when Joe Professori tripled to right and scored on Shane Roebuck's groundout to shortstop.
But the Lions reclaimed the lead in the top of the second. Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) led off the frame by reaching on an error, and two outs later, he scored following a Richard Carey (Milton, DE/Cape Henlopen) base hit to put Penn State Altoona up 2-1.
The Lions were able to put up a zero in each of the next three innings, but La Roche broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Johnathan Melendez's two-run double to right gave the home team its first lead of the game, and Jonathan Spina's RBI fielder's choice grounder scored Melendez to make it 4-2.
The Redhawks tacked on three more runs in the seventh, using a pair of RBI triples from Melendez and Elmo Trickett and an RBI double by Roebuck to increase their lead to 7-2. Austin Hoffman's RBI single to right-center in the eighth made it 8-2.
Penn State Altoona baseball returns to action tomorrow, Friday, May 11 in an elimination game during day two of the AMCC Tournament championship rounds. The Lions will go up against third seed Penn State Behrend at 10:00 a.m., with the winner moving on to face either La Roche or Pitt-Greensburg later in the day and the loser being handed elimination.