AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Penn State Altoona baseball suffered a 15-5 loss to #9 Concordia University on Wednesday afternoon at Lake Myrtle Park in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
Penn State Altoona (2-7) played well against nationally-ranked Concordia for much of the game, but in similar fashion to yesterday's loss to Trine University, the Lions were done in when they allowed a big inning by the opposition. Penn State Altoona led 5-4 before giving up an eight-run fifth inning to Concordia.
"One bad inning again led to a lopsided score. We knocked out Concordia's ace early in the game and took an early 5-1 lead," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "Concordia is a team who was in the College World Series last year, and although we have come out on the wrong side of most games in Florida, we are hoping that playing this tough competition down here will make us better come conference time."
Jim Shomberg (Lansdale, PA/Methacton) led the way for the Lions' bats, going 2-for-3 with a double, two runs batted in, a run scored, and a walk. Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) was 1-for-3 with a triple.
Jacob Plunket (Altoona, PA/Altoona) made his first collegiate start on the mound, pitching four innings and taking a no decision. Hunter Johnson (Shippensburg, PA/Shippensburg) pitched one inning in relief and took the loss, and Nick Rosario (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) made his first appearance on the mound in 2 1/3 innings of relief work.
Shomberg's RBI double to right plated Penn State Altoona's first run in the top of the third inning, and Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) added an RBI single to left to make it 2-0.
Concordia (4-2) got on the board in the bottom of the third inning on Mitch Wilson's RBI groundout, but Penn State Altoona tacked three more runs on in the top half of the fourth. Justin Virga (Port Jefferson Station, NY/Comsewogue) plated a run with his RBI single to right and later came home on a wild pitch, and Shomberg's run-scoring base hit to center put the Lions up 5-1.
Concordia came back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to close the gap to one. Jose Mercado's RBI single made it 5-2, and Matt Fauth scored on a throwing error when Mercado stole second base. An RBI single up the middle by Andrew Massey cut the Lions' lead to 5-4.
The Cougars proceeded to break the game open in the fifth. Kevin Coppin's RBI single down the right field line tied the game, and Mercado was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to put Concordia up by one. Keegan Tyrell's sacrifice fly and Joe Silva's RBI single down the left field line preceded a Massey two-run double and a Brady Roberts two-run home run that put the Cougars up 12-5.
Silva's solo homer in the seventh made it 13-5, and he drove in another run in the eighth with his RBI single through the right side. Massey added a run-scoring single to left later in the eighth to give Concordia a 15-5 advantage.
Penn State Altoona baseball has another off day tomorrow, Thursday, March 8. The Lions will return to action on Friday, March 9 for a pair of games, as they will face the Rochester Institute of Technology at 2:30 p.m. before going up against another nationally-ranked team, #21 Wheaton College, at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be played at Lake Myrtle Park's Main Field.