AUBURNDALE, Fla. – In its last game of the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on Saturday morning, the Penn State Altoona baseball team broke out for a 17-6 victory over Penn State Abington at Lake Myrtle Park.
The Lions (3-9) put up a season-high 17 runs to snap a four-game skid. The team got strong performances from the bats, pitching, and defense.
"Today, we finally got all three aspects of our game working after sleepwalking through the first two innings of the 9:30 a.m. game. The bats came alive, and that's something we will rely on the rest of the season," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "It's nice to end the Florida trip strong, and I truly believe that our brutally tough Florida schedule will pay dividends for our team in the long run."
George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) went 2-for-3 with a grand slam, a double, a walk, two runs scored, and a season-high six runs batted in. Jim Shomberg (Lansdale, PA/Methacton) was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored.
Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) finished 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored, and Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) hit 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored.
Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) scored a career-high four runs and was hit by pitch three times, setting a new Penn State Altoona baseball record for the most times hit by a pitch in a single game.
Zane Leister (Middleburg, PA/Midd-West) was the Lions' starting pitcher and surrendered four runs in 1 1/3 innings, taking a no decision. Oliver Dailey (Boalsburg, PA/State College) tossed 2 2/3 innings in relief, giving up one hit, one run, and one walk while striking out one batter. Tyler Manger (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) recorded his first collegiate win, after throwing three innings and yielding only two hits, no earned runs, and no walks while striking out one.
Penn State Abington (5-6) started strong, plating four runs in the top of the first inning. Paul Woodley's sacrifice fly got Abington on the board. Another run came in on Julio Aira's RBI double to left, and Darren Aupperle's two-run single through the left side made it 4-0.
Penn State Altoona got a pair of runs across in the bottom of the second. With one out, Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda) reached base on a bunt single. Clouser followed with a double to right, putting two runners in scoring position. In the next at-bat, a wild pitch allowed Bates to score the Lions' first run of the day. During the following at-bat, Penn State Altoona executed a double steal, with Clouser swiping home plate to cut Abington's advantage to 4-2.
Aupperle's RBI double to left-center in the top of the third got one run back for Abington, but Penn State Altoona nabbed the lead with a four-run bottom of the fourth. Stiuso's double down the right field line drove in two runs, and he later scored on an error. Jacobs' two-out RBI double put the Lions in front, 6-5.
Penn State Altoona extended its lead in a big way, using a nine-run fifth inning to go up by 10 runs. Shomberg scored on a throwing error for his team's first run of the inning, and one batter later with the bases loaded, Stiuso hit a grand slam to left-center to make it 11-5. With two outs, the Lions tacked on four more runs with Breon's two-run single to left and Shomberg's two-run homer to center.
The Lions added two runs in the sixth, when Jordan McCall's (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) fielder's choice drew in Richard Carey (Milton, DE/Cape Henlopen), and an error on the play allowed Clouser to score.
Ryan McCarty's sac fly in the top of the seventh for Abington closed out the scoring for the game.
Penn State Altoona baseball now returns to Pennsylvania and will resume its 2018 schedule this Saturday, March 17. That day, the Lions will host non-conference opponent Keuka College for a single, nine-inning game at 3:00 p.m.