AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Penn State Altoona baseball continued its weeklong competition in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational against Waynesburg University on Sunday, and the Lions suffered a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Yellow Jackets at Lake Myrtle Park.
After struggling at the plate in Saturday's losses, Penn State Altoona (1-5) started to find its offense on Sunday. But the Lions were ultimately let down by their pitching and defense, losing game one 11-9 and game two 4-3.
"Two more tough ones today. Unfortunately, we can't seem to get all aspects of our game clicking at the same time," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "Good teams find ways to win the close ones, and mediocre teams find ways to lose them. We have been playing like a mediocre team thus far, and we need to find a way to get over the hump."
After producing just six hits and one run in Saturday's doubleheader, Penn State Altoona finished game one against Waynesburg on Sunday with nine hits and nine runs.
Aidan Plants (Montoursville, PA/Montoursville) went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one run batted in. Matt Cody (Mecanhicsburg, PA/Mechanicsburg) was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored, and Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) was also 2-for-4 with a team-high four RBI. Jim Shomberg (Lansdale, PA/Methacton) was 1-for-3 with three RBI.
Zane Leister (Middleburg, PA/Midd-West) started on the mound in game one and pitched two innings while yielding six earned runs. Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) tossed four innings in relief, allowing three runs and taking the loss.
Waynesburg (2-0) jumped out to a big lead, holding a 7-0 advantage after the first two innings.
The Yellow Jackets plated the game's first run in the top of the first inning, when Vinny Monico scored on an error. Later in the inning, Brendan Kohan's two-run single made it 3-0.
In the second, Monico's two RBI triple tacked on a pair of runs to the Yellow Jackets' total. Justin Buberl followed with a run-scoring single, and he later scored on another Penn State Altoona error to give his team a seven-run lead.
The Lions answered with a four-run top of the third inning. RBI singles by Plants and Breon accounted for Penn State Altoona's first runs, and Plants later scored on a wild pitch. Shomberg's sacrifice fly to center made it 7-4.
Waynesburg responded in the bottom half of the third, when Monico hit into a fielder's choice that drew in two runs to give the Yellow Jackets a 9-4 lead.
A big hit from Breon in the top of the fourth helped Penn State Altoona cut its deficit to two. With two outs and the bases loaded, Breon doubled to score three runs and narrow Waynesburg's lead to 9-7.
The Lions proceeded to tie the game in the top of the sixth, when Shomberg's two-run single knotted the score 9-9.
But Waynesburg countered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth. Tyler Godwin's RBI single put the Yellow Jackets back on top, and Tyler Reis later scored on a wild pitch to make it 11-9.
The Lions took another tough loss in game two of the doubleheader, losing by one run in a 4-3 decision.
Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) had two of Penn State Altoona's five hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Oliver Dailey (Boalsburg, PA/Boalsburg) got the nod as the game two starting pitcher for the Lions, and he finished with a no decision after pitching 3 1/3 innings and allowing four hits, four walks, and two runs while striking out four batters. Tyler Manger (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) was saddled with the loss, pitching 3 2/3 innings in relief and allowing just three hits and a pair of unearned runs to go along with one strikeout.
Cumming's RBI single to left put the Lions on the board in the bottom of the first inning.
Waynesburg tied the game in the top of the second when Jonny Kutchman scored on a wild pitch, but Penn State Altoona reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Andrew Culp (Oxford, PA/Oxford) drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on Dylan Bates' (Towanda, PA/Towanda) single, and scored on an RBI groundout by Richard Carey (Milton, DE/Cape Henlopen).
The Yellow Jackets came back with a run in the top of the third when Tyler Reyes put down a bunt to score Reis, tying the game at two. Waynesburg grabbed a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth when Mitch Nordstrom scored on a Penn State Altoona error and Buberl added an RBI single to center.
Austin Anderson's (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) RBI groundout in the bottom of the sixth made it a one-run game, 4-3, but Penn State Altoona was unable to come up with the tying run.
After an off day tomorrow, the Lions return to action on Tuesday, March 6 with a pair of games at Chain of Lakes Park Stadium in Winter Haven, Fla. At 1:00 p.m., Penn State Altoona will take on John Carroll University for a single game, followed by another single game against Trine University at 4:30 p.m.