WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Penn State Altoona baseball grabbed the first win of its 2018 Florida trip on Tuesday while also taking a loss, as the Lions defeated John Carroll University 13-11 before falling 22-6 to Trine University at Chain of Lakes Park Stadium.
Against John Carroll, Penn State Altoona used a steady effort at the plate to grind out the victory. In the loss to Trine, the Lions fell apart late in the game.
"Two more tough teams today. It was nice to get in the win column, and the bats are finally starting to wake up," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "We played 14 innings of really good baseball today. Unfortunately, the last four were disastrous and it doesn't show how well we played for much of the day. We have our work cut out for us tomorrow with #9 Concordia, and we will have to bring our 'A' game if we want a shot."
In its first game of the day, Penn State Altoona (2-6) generated 13 runs while pounding out 16 hits to snap a five-game losing streak.
Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) and Jim Shomberg (Lansdale, PA/Methacton) had identical stat lines to lead the Lions at the plate, as both players finished 3-for-6 with a double, two runs batted in, and two runs scored.
Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) was 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda) batted 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Matt Cody (Mechanicsburg, PA/Mechanicsburg) finished with a team-high three RBI and scored two runs.
Breon started on the mound, pitching 4 2/3 innings in a no decision. Hunter Johnson (Shippensburg, PA/Shippensburg) tossed one inning in relief, and Bradley Lau (Reston, VA/Freedom) followed Johnson by pitching two innings and grabbing his first win of the season on the rubber. Tyler Manger (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) added 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to record his first collegiate save.
Penn State Altoona grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Cumming's RBI single to left. After John Carroll (5-2) scored a run in the bottom of the second and bottom of the third inning to take the lead, the Lions plated five in the top of the fourth to go ahead 6-2.
In that five-run fourth, Bates' sacrifice fly to right field brought in the tying run. After an error allowed Cumming to score, Justin Virga's (Port Jefferson Station, NY/Comsewogue) drove in another run with his RBI single to left. Aidan Plants' (Mountoursville, PA/Montoursville) fielder's choice drew in the Lions' fifth run of the game, and Breon's RBI hit to left made it 6-2.
After three John Carroll runs in the bottom half of the fourth narrowed Penn State Altoona's lead to 6-5, the Lions got one back in the top of the fifth on Cody's sac fly.
John Carroll scored three in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead, but the Lions reclaimed it with two in their half of the sixth inning. Shomberg's run-scoring double tied the score, and Cumming's RBI base hit put Penn State Altoona back in front, 9-8.
Again, John Carroll battled back and tied the score with a run in the bottom half of the sixth. But Penn State Altoona went ahead for good with a three-run seventh inning when Jacobs scored on an error, Cody came home on Austin Anderson's (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) sac bunt, and Shomberg contributed an RBI single.
Cody's RBI single in the eighth added a run to the Lions' total, putting his team up 13-9. Penn State Altoona surrendered two runs in the bottom of the eighth, but they hung on for their first win in Florida of the year.
In game two, the Lions were battling a solid Trine (3-1) squad through the first six innings, as Penn State Altoona trailed 5-3. But the wheels came off, and Trine put up 17 runs in the final three innings to finish the game with a lopsided win.
Breon was 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored, Cumming was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, and Jacobs was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) was the game's starting pitcher for the Lions, and he tossed 6 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs while striking out seven batters. He was saddled with the loss.
Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) tossed 1 1/3 innings in relief, and Aaron Smith (Duncansville, PA/Hollidaysburg) pitched 1/3 innings. Brandyn Schuchart (Spring Grove, PA/Spring Grove) made his collegiate debut on the mound in relief, and Lau pitched one inning while allowing no earned runs.
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Penn State Altoona tied the game on Shomberg's RBI single up the middle and Cumming's RBI double to right-center.
The Lions grabbed a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth on Jacobs' run-scoring base hit up the middle.
But Trine went ahead 5-3 in the top of the sixth, when Kevin O'Malley doubled in a run, Nick Ricci followed with an RBI triple, and later in the inning, Ricci scored on an error. Trine went on to score two more runs in the seventh, four in the eighth, and 11 in the ninth to beat Penn State Altoona 22-6.
The Lions face one of their biggest tests of the Florida trip tomorrow, Wednesday, March 7, when the team will take on nationally-ranked #9 Concordia University (Ill.) at Lake Myrtle Park for a game beginning at 1:00 p.m.