ERIE, Pa. – Penn State Altoona baseball earned an important split on Sunday afternoon, when the Lions picked a win and a loss in a doubleheader at Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Penn State Behrend.
Penn State Altoona (20-13, 9-5 AMCC) lost game one 11-6, but the Lions bounced back for a 16-10 win in game two to salvage the split.
"Two hard-fought games," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "It was big to come up to Erie and get a doubleheader split. We must finish this last week of the regular season strong."
With 20 overall wins now this season, Penn State Altoona baseball has recorded its most overall victories in a season since 2011. In that year, the Lions posted a 29-win season while winning the AMCC championship and advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Game One: Penn State Behrend 11, Penn State Altoona 6
A pair of four-run innings by Behrend (19-10, 8-4 AMCC) sunk the Lions in the first game of the doubleheader.
Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) finished with a team-high two runs batted in for the Lions. George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) went 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Joey Brown (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) drew a team-best three walks and went 1-for-1 with an RBI.
Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) started on the mound and took the loss, going five innings and yielding four earned runs. Tyler Manger (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) pitched one inning in relief, surrendering four runs.
Behrend scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first when Zack Bowen's RBI single to left gave the home team a 1-0 advantage. Penn State Altoona struck back quickly, using Anderson's sacrifice fly to center in the top of the second to tie the score at 1-1.
Behrend retook the lead in the bottom of the second on Joshua Wagner's RBI single to third.
The home team increased its lead to 6-1 in the third inning. Back-to-back RBI hits from John Brittner and Scott Sada made it 4-1. A wild pitch and an error got two more runs across for Behrend in the frame.
Penn State Altoona used a four-run inning of its own to close the gap to one run, plating four runs in the top of the fifth to cut Behrend's lead to 6-5. Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) hit an RBI single to center, ahead of bases-loaded walks from Anderson and Brown that scored two more runs. Jordan McCall's (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) RBI base hit up the middle made it a one-run game.
After Behrend got a run back on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth, Penn State Altoona worked its deficit back to one run in the top half of the sixth on Stiuso's sac fly to center.
But Behrend responded with another four-run inning in the bottom of the sixth. RBI doubles from Mason McGuire, Justin Foreman, and Ryan Weaver, along with a run-scoring single from Bowen, increased the home team's lead to 11-6.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 16, Penn State Behrend 10
Penn State Altoona overcame its loss in the first game by posting a big game offensively in the second half of the twinbill, scoring 16 runs on 19 hits.
Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) led the way for the Lion bats, going 4-for-5 with a double, three RBI, and three runs scored. Justin Virga (Port Jefferson Station, NY/Comsewogue) was 3-for-4 with a double, four runs scored, an RBI, and a walk.
Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) was 3-for-6 with a double, four RBI, and two runs. Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) finished 3-for-6 with a double and two RBI. McCall batted 2-for-4 with three runs scored, an RBI, and a walk.
Aaron Sharp (Freeburg, PA/Midd-West) got the start on the mound, pitching four innings and allowing seven runs in a no decision. Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda) tossed five innings in relief to record his second win of the season, allowing three runs.
Breon's two-run double to left-center in the top of the second put the Lions on the board, and Clouser's RBI double down the right field line made it 3-0 in that same inning.
In the third, Stiuso's run-scoring double down the right field line plated another run. Jacobs' RBI single up the middle increased Penn State Altoona's advantage to 5-0.
After Behrend rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fourth, Penn State Altoona responded with a four-run top of the fifth. Virga drew a bases-loaded walk to break the tie, and McCall's RBI single to left made it 7-5. Breon added an RBI single, and Virga scored on a ground ball double play to make it 9-5.
Behrend countered with two runs in the fifth, then jumped ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning to grab 10-9 advantage.
But Penn State Altoona answered quickly again with a big inning to retake the lead. Clouser's run-scoring base hit to right tied the score 10-10, and McCall scored on a balk call to put the Lions up by one. Jacobs singled in a run with a base hit to left, and Clouser scored on an error to make it 13-10.
The Lions added three insurance runs in the top half of the eighth. Clouser's two-run single to center increased Penn State Altoona's lead to 15-10, and an outfield error allowed Clouser to score following Jacobs' double to make it 16-10.
Next up, Penn State Altoona baseball gets back into non-conference play when it travels to face Lancaster Bible College in a single, nine-inning game on Tuesday, April 23 at 3:30 p.m.