Panthers Secure Home Playoff Series With Split Against Penn State-Altoona

Photo Credit: Conner Gilbert, Penn State-Altoona Athletics
Photo Credit: Conner Gilbert, Penn State-Altoona Athletics

CRESSON, Pa. – Needing just one win in a doubleheader against Penn State-Altoona to break a tie with the Lions and host the first round of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championship Tournament, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team took care of business, winning game one.

The Panthers finish the season 10-8 in AMCC action and earn the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament. Pitt-Bradford will host Penn State-Altoona Sunday for the first round of the conference playoffs.

"The guys took care of what they needed to finish the season," Head Coach Zach Foster said. "They played very well in game one and Andrzejewski continued to throw the ball well. It was good to see some of our young guys in game two as well. Now time to get ready for the playoffs."

Jay Clinger popped a three-run home run and drove in four total runs while Austin Parent homered twice to power the Panthers' offense to a 10-6 win.

Alex Andrzejewski picked up the win on the mound in game one, tossing six of the seven total innings while striking out three.

With the AMCC Tournament First Round fate already decided after game one, the two teams put on a slugfest in game two, with the Lions coming out on top, 24-12.

Joshua Zelinski and Tyler Hoops hammered their first homers of the seasons. Zelinski drove in a total of four runs to aid the Panthers' 12-run effort.

Highlighting the Panthers' 17-hit performance in game two was four hits from Zelinski, three apiece from Hoops and Parent, and two each from Brody Wood, Colin Buckwalter and Robert Sawicki.

The contests were originally scheduled for Pitt-Bradford home games but were played on the campus of Mount Aloysius due to incoming weather in the Bradford area.

Game One: Pitt-Bradford 10, Penn State-Altoona 6

The Panther offense got started early as Pitt-Bradford took a 2-0 lead on an RBI single from Clinger.

Sawyer Packard scored on the hit, and Dalton Renn came into score as the ball was bobbled by the Altoona outfielder.

Pitt-Bradford kept the offense rolling into the second.

Hoops sent home Jason Lucarelli with a double and later scored on a Packard groundout.

Parent capped the scoring for the inning with his first solo shot of the day and the Panthers took a 5-0 lead into the third.

After clean third and fourth innings, Altoona put up a three-spot in fifth and cut the Panther lead to 5-3.

But Pitt-Bradford got the runs back – and then some – in the bottom of the fifth.

Clinger delivered the big blow, a three-run homer.

Packard came into score on a wild pitch in the inning and the Panthers took a 9-3 lead into the sixth.

Altoona got two back in the sixth but Parent knocked his second homer of the game in the bottom half.

A run in the seventh for the Lions would not be enough as the Panthers held on for the 10-6 win.

Benjamin Hayes came on in relief of Andrzejewski and got the final three outs to secure the win.

Parent scored three times while Packard scored twice in the contest.

Game Two: Penn State-Altoona 24, Pitt-Bradford 12

The two teams put up a clean first inning but Altoona scored first with an RBI single in the second.

Pitt-Bradford tied it up in the bottom half, though, as Buckwalter scored on a double from Zelinski.

Altoona took a 4-1 lead with a three-spot in the third and later doubled its run total with four runs in the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Zelinski and Hoops homered to account for four more Panther runs, cutting the Altoona lead to 8-5.

But Altoona answered with five runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth and took a 15-5 advantage.

Pitt-Bradford got two back as Zelinski singled home Robert Sawicki and later scored on a knock from Nick Blovsky.

Altoona rallied for six runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth to go up 24-7.

In the eighth, Packard sent home Sawicki with a sacrifice fly and Parent sent home Cole Tippens with a single.

A two-run single to center from Wood brought the score to 24-11 into the final inning.

Kyle O'Donnell came onto pitch for the Panthers and delivered a blemish-free, 1-2-3 inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Buckwalter scored on a wild pitch to cap the scoring for the day.

Dalton Renn started for the Panthers on the mound and went 4.2 innings before turning the ball over to Sam Gwiazdinski, who went 1.1 innings. Tom Easton, Drake Renn and O'Donnell threw an inning each.

Pitt-Bradford will host No. 5 Penn State-Altoona for the first round of the AMCC Playoffs Sunday at the Kessel Athletic Complex starting at 1 p.m. Game three of the best-of-three format will be played Monday if necessary.