NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Penn State Altoona baseball wrapped up its weekend New York road trip on Sunday afternoon, when it swept Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Hilbert College in a doubleheader at Niagara University's John P. Bobo Field.
The Lions (15-9, 6-2 AMCC) won game one 13-4, then grabbed game two by a final score of 15-5. It helped the team to a 3-1 record over the weekend, during which the squad split with Alfred State College on Saturday before Sunday's sweep of the Hawks (3-17, 1-7 AMCC).
"Two good wins today. Nice to see the bats starting to come around a bit," said Penn State Altoona head coach RJ Barnard. "Catcher [Cumming] had a huge game for us, and a big weekend overall. We were low on arms, and Zane [Leister] did a great job of keeping his pitch count down and going all nine. Overall, it was a good New York trip."
Game One: Penn State Altoona 13, Hilbert 4
Penn State Altoona overpowered Hilbert by scoring 13 runs on 12 hits, and the Lions got solid pitching and error-free defense along the way.
Catcher Cumming (Altoona, PA/Altoona) had a big game at the plate, going 2-for-4 with his third home run of the season – a grand slam – along with a double, a stolen base, two runs scored, and a game-high eight runs batted in. Cumming's total of eight RBI is tied for the most in a single game in Penn State Altoona baseball history.
Austin Anderson (Macungie, PA/Emmaus) led the Lions in hits, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored. Joey Brown (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) batted 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, and Hunter Breon (Boiling Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
Aaron Sharp (Freeburg, PA/Midd-West) started on the mound and tossed two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit while recording three strikeouts. Mitchell Carmody (Babylon, NY/Babylon) picked up his first collegiate win, tossing two innings and allowing three runs on four hits and three walks with a strikeout.
After Carmody, Jaryd Palmer (Northumberland, PA/Shikellamy) pitched one inning and yielded a run on three hits with one strikeout. Hunter Goshorn (Carlisle, PA/Boiling Springs) finished the game off, pitching two scoreless innings and allowing only one walk while striking out two batters.
Penn State Altoona grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Cumming drove in a run with his fielder's choice groundout.
Next, the Lions exploded for a seven-run top of the second inning. Anderson's double to left brought in one run, and Brown's RBI hit to right made it 3-0. The next batter, James Mays (Dyer, IN/Lake Central), singled to left to score Brown and give the Lions a 4-0 advantage. After a single and a walk loaded the bases, Cumming hit a grand slam to left to give Penn State Altoona an 8-0 lead.
Hilbert cut the lead in half by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth, then picking up another in the fifth to cut the Lions' advantage to 8-4.
But Penn State Altoona squashed any hopes of a Hilbert comeback by getting five more runs across in the sixth. After a single and two walks, Cumming cleared the bases with his double to left. Later in the inning, Anderson's RBI double and Brown's RBI single made it 13-4.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 15, Hilbert 5
The Lions' offense was again too much for Hilbert, as Penn State Altoona scored 15 runs on 11 hits.
Cumming went 3-for-4 with a double, four RBI, two runs scored, and two walks. With a total of 12 combined RBI in the doubleheader, Cumming set a Penn State Altoona baseball program record for the most RBI in a doubleheader in team history.
George Stiuso (Milford, NJ/Gill St. Bernard's) also had a three-hit game for the Lions, batting 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two RBI, one walk, and one stolen base.
Zane Leister (Middleburg, PA/Midd-West) improved his season record to 3-0 on the mound with an impressive complete game performance, his first of the year. In nine innings, the right-hander allowed just one earned run on six hits and five walks while striking out five batters.
The Lions again jumped out to an early lead when they got three runs across in the top of the first inning. RBI singles from Cumming and Stiuso preceded a run-scoring fielder's choice by Hain that gave Penn State Altoona a 3-0 advantage.
Hilbert worked into the lead with a four-run bottom of the second, but the Lions scored four runs in the sixth to get back on top. Tama's sacrifice fly to right tied the score, before Virga reached on an error and allowed Hain to come home, giving the Lions a 5-4 lead. Later in the frame, Cumming's two-run base hit to center made it 7-4.
Penn State Altoona followed that with three more runs in the top of the seventh. Hain's sacrifice bunt brought in one run, and Tama hit an RBI single to center to drive in another. Later, Tama scored on a passed ball to make it 10-4.
Hilbert plated a run in the bottom half of the seventh, but Penn State Altoona kept the offense coming in the eighth, when it scored five more runs to blow the game open. Cumming's RBI double to left started the scoring in the eighth, and Chase Clouser (Dublin, OH/Dublin Jerome) scored when Stephen Schanne (Mantua, NJ/Clearview Regional) reached on an error in the next at-bat. Stiuso's RBI infield single, Tama's run-scoring fielder's choice groundout, and Virga's sac fly to right made it 15-5.
Lions baseball returns home for back-to-back doubleheaders at Stewart Athletic Field this week. On Tuesday, April 9, Penn State Altoona will host non-conference opponent Penn College for a pair of games starting at 1:00 p.m. Then, on Wednesday, April 10, the Lions will host AMCC opponent La Roche College for a big doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m.