ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona baseball's offense continued to click on Tuesday afternoon, when the Lions won a pair of games over non-conference opponent Penn College at Stewart Athletic Field.
The doubleheader sweep is the fifth of the season for the Lions (17-9), who have now won four games in a row and six of their last seven. The team has also scored 10 or more runs in four straight games.
Additionally, with its 17th win of the season now under its belt, Penn State Altoona has already tied its win total from last season. The Lions still have 14 games remaining on their 2019 regular season schedule.
"Nice to get two more wins today. It was definitely a hitter-friendly day, and we were able to get some balls in the jet stream and hit some big flies," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "We won 17 games last season and hit that total on April 9 this year, so we are definitely improving as a team. Tomorrow will be a big test against conference perennial La Roche."
Game One: Penn State Altoona 10, Penn College 9
The Lions grabbed an early lead and never relinquished it, fending off the Wildcats throughout the game to stay on top.
Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) had a two-homer game for the Lions, tying for the most home runs hit in a single game in Penn State Altoona baseball program history. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs – increasing his season home run total to a team-high five – with three runs batted in, two runs scored, and one walk.
Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona), the reigning Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Player of the Week, went 2-for-2 with his fourth home run of the season, two RBI, two walks, and a run scored.
George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) started at pitcher and tossed 6 2/3 innings to improve his season record to 2-0. Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) got the game's final out to record his first save of the season.
Penn College staked out a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Brittan Kittle's RBI double down the right field line opened the scoring, and Alex Flicker and Richard Lennon followed with RBI singles. Connor Burke's sacrifice fly to center gave the visitors a four-run advantage.
Penn State Altoona used a pair of home runs to get two runs back in the bottom of the first, when solo shots to center field by Clouser and Cumming closed the gap to 4-2.
The Lions worked into the lead with a five-run bottom of the second. James Mays' (Dyer, IN/Lake Central) RBI groundout to shortstop and Breon's sac fly to right tied the score. Clouser followed with his second long ball of the day, a two-run shot over the right field fence that put the Lions ahead 6-4. Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) scored on a throwing error later in the inning to make it 7-4.
Penn College trimmed its deficit to one, scoring a run in both the third and fourth innings. Burke's groundout to third scored a run in the top of the third, and Samuel Zeigler led off the top of the fourth with a home run to left-center to cut Penn State Altoona's lead to 7-6.
The Lions used aggressive base running to get a run back in the bottom of the fourth. After a pick-off attempt to first base, Breon broke home from third and scored to make it 8-6.
Penn College made it a one-run game again, when Burke's RBI base hit up the middle in the top of the fifth cut his team's deficit to 8-7. But the Lions answered in the bottom half of the inning, when Cumming drew a bases loaded walk and Breon scored on a wild pitch to put the home team up 10-7.
The Wildcats threatened in the top of the ninth, getting two runs across and bringing the potential game-tying run to third base. Zeigler's RBI single through the left side and Alex Zelger's run-scoring base hit to right whittled the Lions' lead down to 10-9, but Penn State Altoona got a groundout to end the game and strand the would-be tying run at third.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 16, Penn College 7
The offense kept coming for the Lions, who pounded out a season-high 16 runs and 16 hits.
Penn State Altoona also took advantage of the running game, finishing a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases. The Lions' total of 10 stolen bases is the second-most in a game in team history, just one steal shy of tying the single game program record.
Cumming went 3-for-3 with a double, four RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base. Jordan McCall (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two stolen bases, and one RBI, and Jacobs went 3-for-5 with a double, three runs scored, and a stolen base.
Clouser hit his team-leading sixth home run of the season, going 1-for-3 with three RBI, three runs scored, a team-high three stolen bases, and one walk. Clouser's three total home runs hit in today's doubleheader represent the second-most homers hit by a Lions player in a doubleheader in program history.
Brandyn Schuchart (York, PA/Spring Grove) was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, one RBI, one walk, and one stolen base. Clayton Hain (Schaefferstown, PA/Eastern Lebanon County) was 1-for-1 with a triple, an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Stiuso finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored, two walks, two stolen bases, and one RBI.
On the mound, Hunter Goshorn (Carlisle, PA/Boiling Springs) recorded a trio of firsts, making his first collegiate start at pitcher, throwing his first complete game, and picking up his first win. In seven innings, he allowed five earned runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out four batters.
Penn College grabbed two runs in the top of the first on Jacob Carles' two-run homer to right-center. But Penn State Altoona evened the score in the bottom of the inning, when Cumming's sac fly to center brought one run across and a double steal led to Clouser swiping home.
Zeigler's RBI double to left-center put the Wildcats back on top in the second, but the visitors' lead was short-lived, as Penn State Altoona came back with a six-run bottom of the second. Clouser's third homer of the day, a two-run shot to right, put the Lions on top 4-3. Cumming's RBI single to shortstop and Stiuso's run-scoring base hit to right-center tacked two more runs on to the Lions' total, and Hain's RBI triple to left-center and Joey Brown's (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) RBI base hit to left made it 8-3.
In the bottom of the third, Clouser's RBI groundout and Cumming's RBI double increased Penn State Altoona's advantage to 10-3.
Penn College plated a run in the fourth on Ethan Ketterman's RBI single to left.
But the bats did not quiet for the Lions, who posted their second six-run inning of the game in the bottom half of the fifth. Cumming's RBI single through the left side got the scoring started in the frame, and Jacobs scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat. Later in the inning, Schuchart, McCall, and Andrew Culp (Oxford, PA/Oxford) added RBI singles, and Schuchart scored on a throwing error.
Penn College got a run in the top of the sixth when Jacob Courtley scored on a wild pitch, and they scored two more in the seventh on Rylan Whitmyer's two-run double.
Penn State Altoona baseball gets right back at it tomorrow, Wednesday, April 10, for a big AMCC doubleheader at home. The Lions host La Roche University for a twinbill at Stewart Athletic Field, with game one slated to get underway at 1:00 p.m.