AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Penn State Altoona baseball ended its week in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on a high note, sweeping Gordon College by scores of 5-1 and 6-4 in Friday evening's doubleheader at Lake Myrtle Park.
The Lions (5-6) played their most complete baseball of the week, winning two games to finish with a 5-4 record during the Florida trip.
"Ended the Florida trip with a big sweep over Gordon. Our pitching staff was great today, as it was for much of the week," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "We have still yet to play our best baseball, and I am excited to see what happens when we get everything clicking. We are happy to be headed home with a 5-4 trip against some stiff competition."
Game One: Penn State Altoona 5, Gordon 1
Penn State Altoona got its evening off to a strong start with a well-rounded win over Gordon (0-4). The Lions displayed good pitching and defense, along with timely hitting.
Clayton Hain (Schaefferstown, PA/Eastern Lebanon County) started on the mound and pitched a complete game to record his first collegiate win. In seven innings, the right-hander limited Gordon to just one run on four hits and three walks. He finished with eight strikeouts.
Penn State Altoona broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning. Peter Jacobs' (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West) bases-loaded walk brought the Lions' first run home, and Catcher Cumming's (Altoona, PA/Altoona) sacrifice fly to right made it 2-0.
Gordon got on the board in the top of the fifth when Patrick Tevenan doubled in a run. But the Scots were denied a chance to tie the game on a single in the next at bat, when Jordan McCall (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg) threw out Tevenan at home for the final out of the inning.
The Lions added to their lead in the bottom half of the fifth. After three straight singles by Jacobs, Cumming, and Schanne loaded the bases, Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) drew a walk to score Jacobs. Virga followed with a two-run single to right, extending Penn State Altoona's lead to 5-1.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 6, Gordon 4
Penn State Altoona got more strong pitching, helping to lead the way as the Lions grinded out a two-run win.
Zane Leister (Middleburg, PA/Midd-West) got the start on the mound and pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts. George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) shined in his first pitching appearance of the season, tossing 3 1/3 perfect innings in relief with five strikeouts to pick up the victory.
Cumming went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and two runs scored, and Breon was 1-for-3 with two RBI and two walks. Jacobs batted 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs scored, and two stolen bases, and Brandyn Schuchart (York, PA/Spring Grove) and McCall also each finished with two walks.
Penn State Altoona put together a three-run top of the second inning when Cumming led off with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. Later in the inning, Breon and Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) drew back-to-back bases loaded walks to make it 3-0.
But a three-error bottom of the second helped Gordon tie the game, as miscues on a pair of sacrifice bunts and a dropped pop fly helped the Scots get a trio of runs across to even the score, 3-3.
Penn State Altoona jumped back in front in the top of the third inning, when Cumming led off the frame with an infield hit to shortstop and later came home on a wild pitch. But Gordon responded in the bottom of the fourth, when Daniel Quint doubled, stole third, and scored on Chris Leavitt's groundout.
The Lions reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth inning, however. After two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases, McCall took a base on balls to score Jacobs. In the next at bat, Breon dropped down an infield bunt single to second base to drive home Schuchart.
Stiuso and the Lions shut Gordon down the rest of the way, and the team departed Auburndale with a pair of wins under its belt on the day.
Penn State Altoona baseball will now travel back to Pennsylvania to resume its 2019 season schedule. The Lions' next game is a single, nine-inning contest at non-conference opponent Frostburg State University on Tuesday, March 19 at 3:00 p.m.