CUMBERLAND, Md. – Timely hitting and strong pitching propelled the Penn State Altoona baseball team to a 5-3 victory over non-conference opponent Frostburg State University on Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Field.
Penn State Altoona (6-6) scored all five of its runs in two-out situations, while the Lions were buoyed by effective pitching from the starter to the bullpen. The win is the team's sixth in its past seven games.
The victory also snaps a six-game losing streak to Frostburg (10-4), a strong regional non-conference opponent that is moving to the ranks of the NCAA Division II next year. The Lions' last win over Frostburg was April 26, 2012.
"Good team win for us over a really good Frostburg team," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "This was our first time being back on a baseball field since Florida, and although we didn't play our best today, we were able to carry the momentum that we built towards the end of our Florida trip. Jordan McCall swung it really well out of the nine hole, and once again, our pitchers threw great."
Aaron Sharp (Freeburg, PA/Midd-West) started on the mound and pitched six quality innings, en route to his first win of the 2019 season. The right-hander allowed just two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven batters.
The Lions' bullpen combined for three scoreless innings to help close the game out. Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) tossed 1 2/3 innings in relief of Sharp, allowing only one hit and striking out a pair. Tyler Manger (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) picked up his first save of the season by pitching the final 1 1/3 innings and allowing only two hits while recording two strikeouts.
At the plate, Penn State Altoona was led by Jordan McCall (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg), who finished 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs scored, one run batted in, and one walk. Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) was 3-for-5 with an RBI, and George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) went 1-for-3 with a double, three RBI, and a walk.
The Lions took advantage during two-out situations in the first two innings, getting three runs across to jump out to an early lead.
In the top of the first, the Lions set the table with two outs following a base hit by Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) and walk from Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona). Stiuso cashed in during the next at-bat, doubling to left-center to bring Jacobs and Cumming home. Penn State Altoona extended its lead to 3-0 in the second inning, when McCall doubled to left with two outs and scored on Breon's base hit to left.
Frostburg got on the board in the bottom of the third, narrowing the Lions' lead to one. A walk and a single started the frame for the Bobcats, and a throwing error moved both runners into scoring position. The next batter, Josh Clegg, singled to center to drive in both runs, making it 3-2.
Clegg helped the home team tie the game in the fifth, when his RBI single to center evened the score at 3-3.
But, in the top of the seventh inning, Penn State Altoona again came up big with two outs to reclaim the lead. With two down and Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) at first after his single, McCall doubled to left to drive in Anderson. McCall's third hit of the day put the Lions back in front, 4-3.
The Lions picked up an insurance run in the top of the ninth, when McCall led off with a walk and later scored on Stiuso's two-out, bases-loaded walk.
Penn State Altoona baseball gets back at it tomorrow, Wednesday, March 20, when the Lions will make the short trip to Huntingdon, Pa. to face non-conference opponent Juniata College in a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.