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Lions Start AMCC Tournament With Split Versus Pitt-Bradford

Lions Start AMCC Tournament With Split Versus Pitt-Bradford





5/7/2017 — ALTOONA, Pa. - No. 4 Penn State Altoona baseball started its best-of-three series with No. 5 Pitt-Bradford on Sunday afternoon in the first round of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament, and the Lions lost game one 18-3 before bouncing back for a 12-8 victory in game two at Juniata Civic Baseball Field.

Penn State Altoona will host the decisive game three of the series tomorrow, Monday, May 8, with first pitch scheduled for 11:00 a.m. The winner will advance to the championship rounds of the AMCC Tournament, which will be May 11-14 at La Roche College.

The Lions (19-20) were handed a big loss in game one, as Pitt-Bradford (14-23) produced 18 runs on 18 hits.

"Game one was a tough one for us," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "But fortunately, we have experienced plenty of lopsided losses this year. Because of that, we were unfazed and didn't let it carry over into game two."

Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) led his team at the plate in game one, going 3-for-3 with a double, a run batted in, and two runs scored. Chase Clouser (Columbus, OH/Dublin Jerome) went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Aaron Sharp (Middleburg, PA/Midd-West) started on the mound and pitched three innings. Oliver Dailey (Boalsburg, PA/State College) and Bradley Lau (South Riding, VA/Freedom) each threw two innings in relief.

The Panthers wasted no time, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Dalton Renn's RBI double to left, Jay Clinger's two-run single up the middle, and Brody Wood's RBI hit to right-center accounted for the visitors' first inning runs.

In the bottom of the first, Penn State Altoona got on the board when Breon put down a bunt that allowed Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) to score from third.

Pitt-Bradford scored three more in the third inning, with two runs coming in on a throwing error before Tim Brown's RBI double down the left field line made it 7-1.

Clouser's RBI single in the bottom of the third got a run back for Penn State Altoona, but Pitt-Bradford came back with a five-run fourth. One run came home on a wild pitch before sacrifice flies from Clinger and Brown, along with RBI singles from Austin Parent and Samuel Dreistadt, gave the Panthers a 12-2 lead. Renn's RBI triple increased the visitors' advantage to 13-2 in the fifth.

Breon helped Penn State Altoona pick up a run in the bottom half of the fifth when he reached base on a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a throwing error.

In the top of the sixth, Pitt-Bradford plated three more runs on Tyler Hoops' RBI single through the right side, Brock Blovsky's run-scoring groundout, and Renn's sac fly. In the seventh, Hoops hit a two-run home run to right to give the visitors an 18-3 lead.

Game two was a different story, however. The Lions' bats awoke, and the offense was buoyed by effective pitching.

Chris Michaelis (Albany, NY/Albany) batted 4-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Nick Rosario (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) was 3-for-4 with a double, four RBI, and two runs scored. Clouser went 3-for-4 with a home run, double, two RBI, and three runs scored.

Mike Marley (Middletown, NJ/Red Bank Catholic) started on the bump for Penn State Altoona and pitched six innings to improve his season record to 3-5. Hunter Johnson (Shippensburg, PA/Shippensburg) followed with three shutout innings to record his first collegiate save, limiting Pitt-Bradford to just three hits and one walk while striking out one.

"We knew that Marley would give us a good start, and if we hit the baseball -- which we did -- we'd be in a position to force a third and final game," said Barnard. "Hunter Johnson has been great out of the bullpen all season long, as he notched the save."

Pitt-Bradford again scored first, putting three runs on the board in the top of the second inning. The Panthers used RBI singles from Brown and Blovsky to open the scoring, and Renn's RBI groundout to short made it 3-0.

But Penn State Altoona responded in the bottom of the second inning, scoring four runs with two outs to grab the lead and change the momentum. Jordan McCall (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) drove in the Lions' first run of the game with a base hit up the middle, and Rosario's RBI single to right cut further into the Panthers' lead. Anderson followed with an RBI hit to left to tie the game, and Aidan Plants (Montoursville, PA/Montoursville) put Penn State Altoona up 4-3 with an RBI single through the right side.

The Lions broke the game open with a six-run third. Clouser's two-run homer to right-center got things started. Later, Michaelis' RBI single to right, Rosario's two-run double to left-center, and Anderson's run-scoring groundout made it 10-3.

Pitt-Bradford and Penn State Altoona exchanged runs in the fourth. Blovsky's sac fly to right plated a run in the top half of the inning for the Panthers, but the Lions go that run back in the bottom half of the inning on Michaelis' RBI single to left-center.

Pitt-Bradford climbed back into the game in the sixth. Hoops hit his second home run of the day, a three-run shot to center, and Parent later brought home another run with his sac fly to center that narrowed the Lions' lead to 11-8.

Johnson and the Lions put up a zero in each of the final three innings to hold off Pitt-Bradford, and Penn State Altoona picked up an insurance run in the seventh on Rosario's RBI single through the left side.

After getting its first postseason win since 2011 today, Penn State Altoona will be hoping to advance to the next round of the AMCC Tournament with a victory tomorrow.

"Jared Dailey will get the ball in game three," said Barnard. "He has been arguably our best pitcher all season, so we will be going into the game with a lot of confidence."

Photo (by Joel Nelson): Penn State Altoona freshman outfielder Chase Clouser takes a swing at the plate during game two of Sunday's AMCC Tournament matchup against Pitt-Bradford at Juniata Civic Baseball Field.

TAGS: men's baseball