ALTOONA, Pa. – The Pitt-Bradford baseball team and Penn State Altoona split the first two games of their AMCC opening round best-of-three series Sunday. The teams will meet Monday at 11 a.m. with a trip to the conference championship round on the line.
Pitt-Bradford rolled to an 18-3 victory in game one, and Penn State Altoona returned the favor in game two, outslugging the Panthers, 12-8.
The Panther lineup staked game one starter Justin Beimel to a four-run lead, and the senior right-hander responded with one of his best outings of the year. He went distance, allowing three runs, two earned, on nine hits while walking two and striking out four. It was his third win of the season and the second in his last three starts.
Dalton Renn opened the scoring with a RBI double in the first, Jay Clinger followed with a two-run base hit, and Brody Wood's RBI single made it 4-0. The lead would stretch the lead to 7-1 in the third on an error and Tim Brown's RBI extra base hit. A five-run fourth inning pushed the advantage to 13-2, and the Panthers never looked back.
Pitt-Bradford totaled 18 hits, led by Tyler Hoops, Clinger and Brown. Hoops went 3-5, connecting for his first career home run in the seventh, a two-run shot to right field. He finished with three RBIs and scored four times. Clinger tallied three hits and three RBIs, and Brown added three hits and drove in a pair of runs.
Pitt-Bradford jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game two, but the Lions scored 10 runs between the second and third innings to pull away.
After a scoreless first inning, the Panthers broke through in the second behind RBI singles from Brown and Brock Blovsky. Renn's groundout in the next at bat produced another run to make it 3-0. Panther starter Ryan Northcott retired two of the first three hitters in the Lions' half of the second, but Penn State Altoona would record five straight base hits to score four two-out runs.
Northcott failed to record an out in the third, as the first five hitters reached base. The big blow came on Chase Clouser's two-run home run to right centerfield. The teams traded runs in the fourth, and Hoops slugged his second long-ball of the day, this one of the three-run variety, in the sixth inning. Austin Parents RBI sacrifice fly four batters later trimmed the deficit to 11-8.
Penn State Altoona's Hunter Johnson would slam the door, though, tossing three scoreless innings in relief to thwart the Panthers' bid at a late-inning rally.
Northcott was charged for nine runs on nine hits and two walks. Matthew Hogue yielded three runs in four innings, and Nate Renick pitched a scoreless final two innings. The Lions outhit the Panthers 18-13.
Hoops, Blovsky, and Renn combined to go 8-13 with six RBIs at the top of Pitt-Bradford lineup, and Brown collected three more hits and drove in two runs.
The Panthers stand 14-23 on the season and will turn to sophomore Ryan Boyer in the game three. The right-hander carries a team-leading 3.33 ERA into Monday's matchup and will be opposed by Penn State Altoona senior, Jared Dailey, who is 6-2 on the season with a 5.79 ERA.