Lions Baseball Splits Saturday Doubleheader With Behrend

Photo (by Sierra Snigier): Penn State Altoona junior Austin Anderson takes a hack during the Lions' doubleheader against Penn State Behrend on Saturday.
Photo (by Sierra Snigier): Penn State Altoona junior Austin Anderson takes a hack during the Lions' doubleheader against Penn State Behrend on Saturday.

ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona baseball earned a split in Saturday afternoon's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference doubleheader against Penn State Behrend at Juniata Civic Baseball Field.

The Lions (8-16, 5-7 AMCC) pulled off a 4-3 come-from-behind win in game one before being handed a 21-8 loss in the nightcap.

"It was nice to get a big win over Behrend today. We played a great all-around game in game one," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "We are still struggling to put two complete games together in a doubleheader. However, the win was very important in our quest to get into the playoffs."

Game one was highlighted by strong pitching and defense from both teams. Penn State Altoona overcame a 3-0 deficit with a four-run bottom of the sixth to grab the comeback win.

Justin Virga (Port Jefferson Station, NY/Comsewogue) went 1-for-2 with a walk for the Lions, and he drove in the game-winning run. Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.

Jim Shomberg (Lansdale, PA/Methacton), Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona), Dylan Bates (Towanda, PA/Towanda), and Chris Michaelis (Albany, NY/Albany) each finished with one hit to account for the rest of the Lions' six hits.

George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) had a strong start on the mound and finished with a no decision. The left-hander pitched five innings, giving up three runs on three hits and four walks with one strikeout. Sawyer Kline (Bellwood, PA/Bellwood-Antis) got the win in relief to improve his season record to 2-1, pitching two scoreless, hitless innings with one walk and one strikeout.

Penn State Behrend (15-11, 6-4 AMCC) manufactured a run in the top of the third inning. Holden Stevanus walked, stole second and third, and scored on Mason McGuire's groundout to shortstop.

The visitors tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth on David Boehme's sacrifice fly to right and Ryan Hamm's sacrifice RBI bunt.

But Penn State Altoona rallied to score four runs in the bottom of the sixth, getting all four across with two outs. With the bases loaded, Breon's bouncer through the left side drove in two runs for the Lions. In the next at-bat, Michaelis reached on an error and Bates scored from third to tie the score 3-3. Virga's base hit to right in the next at-bat put the go-ahead run on the board for Penn State Altoona.

In game two, Behrend exploded for 21 runs on 24 hits to get a 13-run victory.

Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) went 2-for-2 for Penn State Altoona with a home run, two RBI, and a run scored. Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) was 2-for-4 with one run scored.

Cumming's RBI single to center in the bottom of the first gave Penn State Altoona a 1-0 lead.

But Behrend struck back for eight runs in the top of the second inning, including a two-run home run to left by Justin Foreman and a three-run homer to right by Boehme. The visitors made it 12-1 in the third on Scott Sada's grand slam, and they increased their advantage to 17-1 with a five-run top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jacobs hit his fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot to center field that made it 17-3.

After Foreman hit his second home run of the game, a solo homer in the top of the fifth, Penn State Altoona came back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth on a Richard Carey (Milton, DE/Cape Henlopen) RBI single to right and an infield error that allowed Bates to score.

The Lions picked up another run in the bottom of the seventh on Cameron Banjak-Corle's (Johnstown, PA/Conemaugh Township) RBI base hit down the right field line. After Behrend plated three runs in the top of the eighth, Penn State Altoona scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning when Matt Cody (Mechanicsburg, PA/Mechanicsburg) hit an RBI single to left and William Zdinak (Centennial, CO/Cherry Creek) scored on an outfield error during the play.

Penn State Altoona baseball gets right back at it tomorrow, Sunday, April 22, hosting non-conference opponent Frostburg State University for a single, nine-inning game at Juniata Civic Baseball Field. First pitch is expected at 2:00 p.m.