Well-Rounded Performance by Lions Leads to Sweep of Bearcats

Photo (courtesy of SVC Sports Information): Lions sophomore Zane Leister pitches during game two against St. Vincent on Monday at Bearcat Ballfield.
Photo (courtesy of SVC Sports Information): Lions sophomore Zane Leister pitches during game two against St. Vincent on Monday at Bearcat Ballfield.

LATROBE, Pa. – Led by exceptional offense and strong pitching, the Penn State Altoona baseball team cruised to a doubleheader sweep of non-conference opponent Saint Vincent College on Monday afternoon at Bearcat Ballfield.

Penn State Altoona (10-17) won 9-4 in game one before picking up a lopsided 16-3 victory in game two. The wins give the Lions their second doubleheader sweep of the season.

"For the first time all year, we played a complete doubleheader. Just about everyone who was on the trip contributed," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "We got great pitching, and offensively, we were able to put plenty of runs on the board. It was a big doubleheader sweep, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going down the conference home stretch."

Penn State Altoona found itself tied 4-4 with St. Vincent (12-16) through six innings of game one, but the Lions used a five-run seventh to jump ahead.

Chris Michaelis (Albany, NY/Albany) led Penn State Altoona at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, two runs batted in, and a run scored. Andrew Culp (Oxford, PA/Oxford) batted 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a walk, and Peter Jacobs (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) also went 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI, a walk and two runs scored. Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) finished 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.

Aaron Smith (Duncansville, PA/Hollidaysburg) made his first start of the season on the mound and had a strong outing for the Lions, pitching five innings and giving up just one earned run in a no decision. Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) followed in relief and tossed two scoreless innings in his first pitching appearance of the year, striking out two batters and allowing only one hit to record his first collegiate victory on the rubber.

Penn State Altoona got out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. After the Lions started the inning with a Jacobs walk and an Anderson double, Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) drove in both runners on his triple to center. Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) followed with a sacrifice fly to center in the next at-bat, plating Cumming to give his team a three-run lead.

St. Vincent scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth. One run came in on Brady Duricko's RBI single, and another scored on an error during the play to cut the Lions' lead to 3-2. The Bearcats tied the game 3-3 in the fifth on Stone Holtzman's RBI base hit to center.

The teams traded runs in the sixth inning. In the top half, Aidan Plants (Montoursville, PA/Montoursville) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moved up to second on Michaelis' single to right-center, advanced to third when Culp walked, and scored on a wild pitch to give Penn State Altoona a 4-3 lead. But the Lions' lead was short-lived, as St. Vincent knotted things up on Mike Hildebrand's RBI single to right-center in the bottom of the sixth.

But the Lions retook the lead for good when they got five runs across in the top of the seventh. Jacobs' RBI triple to center put Penn State Altoona back on top, and Anderson followed with an RBI single to left. Michaelis drove in two more runs on his double to left-center, and Culp's RBI double to left-center made it 9-4.

In game two, the Lions used more quality pitching and a steady dose of offense to win the game and clinch the doubleheader sweep.

Zane Leister (Middleburg, PA/Midd-West) got the start on the mound and earned his first collegiate win. In six innings, he surrendered just four hits, three walks, and no earned runs while striking out five batters. Brandyn Schuchart (Spring Grove, PA/Spring Grove) pitched a spotless seventh inning in relief.

At the plate, Anderson led the way with a 4-for-4 performance with two doubles, four runs scored, and one RBI. Richard Carey (Milton, DE/Cape Henlopen) was 3-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk.

Breon batted 3-for-5 with a double, four runs scored, and an RBI, and Jordan McCall (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) was also 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI. Jim Shomberg (Lansdale, PA/Methacton) finished 2-for-4 with a double, four RBI, and a run scored, and George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) was 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, and a walk.

Shomberg's RBI single to center in the top of the first got things started for Penn State Altoona, and Carey's run-scoring base hit to left in the second made it 2-0.

St. Vincent tied the game in the bottom of the second on James Borkowski's two-run single to right, but Penn State Altoona answered with two runs in the top of the third when Anderson scored on an infield error and McCall hit an RBI single to third.

The Lions plated three more runs in the fourth on Anderson's RBI double down the left field line and Shomberg's two-run double to right. The Bearcats picked up a run in the fifth on Eddie Kilkeary's sac fly, but Penn State Altoona came back with two more runs in the sixth on Shomberg's sac fly and Clouser's RBI groundout to second that increased their team's lead to 9-3.

Penn State Altoona had another big seventh inning, breaking the game open by scoring seven runs in the seventh. Carey walked and later scored on a wild pitch for the first run of the inning, and Breon's double to left drove in another run. Breon later scored on a fielding error, and Clouser's RBI single to right gave the Lions a 10-run lead. Stephen Schanne (Mantua, NJ/Clearview Regional) and McCall each hit RBI singles, and Sawyer Duffey (Waynesboro, PA/Waynesboro) picked up an RBI with his bases loaded walk that made it 16-3.

For its next games, Penn State Altoona baseball gets back to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference play on Wednesday, April 25 when it makes the short trip to Cresson, Pa. to take on nearby conference foe Mount Aloysius College in a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m.