BRADFORD, Pa. – The Penn State Altoona baseball team opened its Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament first round best-of-three series at Pitt-Bradford with a split on Sunday afternoon at the Kessel Athletic Complex.
The fifth-seeded Lions (16-19) lost game one 9-3, but they stayed alive when they bounced back for a 17-9 victory in game two over fourth seed Pitt-Bradford (17-15). The teams will square off for the decisive game three tomorrow, Monday, May 7 at 11:00 a.m. in Bradford.
In game one, Penn State Altoona was unable to do enough with the bats to pull past Pitt-Bradford.
Jim Shomberg (Lansdale, PA/Methacton) had three of his team's nine hits, going 3-for-4 with two runs batted in. Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda) was 2-for-2 with his second home run of the season, a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
Pitt-Bradford scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first, when Tyler Hoops scored on Jay Clinger's fielder's choice groundout. Penn State Altoona tied the game 1-1 in the top of the third on Shomberg's RBI single to left, but the Panthers responded in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI single from Brody Wood to reclaim the lead.
Pitt-Bradford padded its lead in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, the Panthers got another RBI base hit from Wood and a two-run single by Jason Lucarelli. After a Bates solo homer got a run back for the Lions in the top of the sixth, Pitt-Bradford scored four in the bottom half on Wood's three-run triple down the right field line and Lucarelli's RBI single to right.
The Lions wrapped up the game's scoring in the top of the seventh, when Shomberg's RBI single through the left side made it 9-3.
In game two, Penn State Altoona's offense made up for its game one performance by plating 17 runs and totaling 18 hits.
Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) was 3-for-6 with four runs scored and a walk, while Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) went 3-for-6 with three RBI and two runs scored. Shomberg also hit 3-for-6 with a triple, three RBI, a run scored, and a walk
Bates finished 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and two walks. Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) was also 2-for-4 with two RBI, two runs scored, and two walks. Jacobs went 2-for-7 with a home run, a double, three RBI, and three runs scored.s
Jacob Plunket (Altoona, PA/Altoona) started on the mound and pitched three innings in a no decision. Tyler Manger (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) followed in relief and tossed the final six innings of the game, allowing only three runs to pick up his third win of the season.
The Lions jumped on Pitt-Bradford early, posting an eight-run top of the first inning. Clouser's two-run single through the right side opened the scoring, and Breon and Michaelis picked up RBIs with back-to-back bases loaded walks. Justin Virga (Port Jefferson Station, NY/Comsewogue) plated a run with his RBI groundout, and Jacobs followed that by hitting his team-leading fifth home run of the season, a three-run shot to center that put his team up 8-0.
Pitt-Bradford answered with three runs in the bottom of the first on Austin Parent's RBI double to left-center, Dalton Renn's RBI single through the left side, and Wood's run-scoring groundout to third.
Another RBI base hit through the right side by Clouser extended Penn State Altoona's lead to 9-3 in the top of the third.
The Panthers scored two in the bottom of the third on Parent's leadoff home run to left and Lucarelli's sacrifice fly to left, and they added another run in the fourth on Parent's RBI single up the middle to make it a 9-6 game.
But Penn State Altoona responded with three runs in the fifth. Shomberg's RBI triple to right sparked the inning, and Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) scored Shomberg with a grounder to shortstop. Breon's RBI bunt single later in the inning put the Lions up 12-6.
Pitt-Bradford scored two in the sixth on Parent's sac fly and Clinger's RBI single, and the home team picked up another run in the seventh on Hoops' RBI double down the left field line that cut Penn State Altoona's lead to 12-9.
But the Lions added some insurance in the top of the ninth. Stiuso and Virga drove in runs with a pair of RBI singles, and Virga later came around to score on an error. Shomberg's two-run single to center made it 17-9.