Panthers, Altoona Split AMCC First Round Contests, Force Decisive Game Three Monday

Photo by Wade Aiken
Photo by Wade Aiken

BRADFORD, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team split the two Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference First Round games with Penn State-Altoona at the Kessel Athletic Complex Sunday, forcing a decisive game three to be played Monday morning.

Each team picked up a win in the best-of-three formatted First Round, therefore the winner of Monday's 11 a.m. third game will advance to the Championship Round hosted by No. 1 La Roche.

"Game one went very well with Boyer getting back to form," Head Coach Zach Foster said. "Brody Wood had a huge bases-clearing triple to give us some breathing room. Game two, we had too many free passes from our pitchers and some errors killed us. I'm excited to see how the guys bounce back in a make or break game tomorrow."

Brody Wood came through with three big hits to power the Panthers in game one, knocking a pair of RBI singles before breaking the game open with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing triple in the sixth. The senior finished with 3-for-3 with five RBIs and two runs scored.

Also aiding the Panther offense in game one was a three-RBI performance from Jason Lucarelli.

The Panthers got seven strong innings from Ryan Boyer on the mound in game one, earning his fourth complete game of the season.

In game two, Penn State-Altoona rallied for eight runs in the top of the first and maintained the lead throughout the rest of the contest, forcing the day's split and the decisive game three.

Austin Parent hammered his eighth home run of the season in game two, tying the Pitt-Bradford single-season home run record. As part of his four-RBI performance, he also knocked a double and a single.

Tyler Hoops and Jay Clinger also had three hits apiece in game two.

Monday's game three will be a nine-inning contest and begin at 11 a.m.

Game One: Pitt-Bradford 9, Penn State-Altoona 3

Pitt-Bradford jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Hoops led off the inning with a walk and later came home on an RBI from Clinger.

Altoona tied it in the top of the third as a leadoff single came into score on a knock to left.

But Wood gave the Panthers the lead once again as he knocked home Dalton Renn with a single to left.

Boyer and the Panther defense escaped a jam in the fourth. With runners on the corners and two outs, Boyer knocked down a hard-hit ball back to him on the mound and flipped to first for the third out, stranding the tying run at third.

The Panthers capitalized in the fifth with three runs. 

Wood once again sent home Renn with a single, and Lucarelli scored Wood and Clinger with a single, putting the Panthers ahead 5-1.

Penn State-Altoona got one back in the sixth with a solo homer, but the Panthers broke the game open in the bottom half due in large part to Wood's big hit.

With Clinger, Renn and Parent aboard, Wood sent one deep down the line in right that landed just fair, clearing the bases and ending up at third for a triple.

Lucarelli then singled to right to score Wood and the Panthers took a 9-2 lead into the final frame.

An RBI single in the top of the seventh gave Altoona its third run of the game, but Boyer induced a fly out to center to end the game and give the Panthers the 9-3 win.

Game Two: Penn State-Altoona 17, Pitt-Bradford 9

Altoona's offense erupted for eight runs in the top of the first, the big hit coming on a three-run home run.

But the Panthers answered for three runs in the bottom half, as Parent doubled home Hoops, Renn sent home Parent with a single and Wood scored Renn with a fielder's choice.

Later down 9-3 in the third, Parent knocked a solo shot down the line in left and Lucarelli scored Renn on a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 9-5.

In the fourth, Sawyer Packard roped a double off the wall in left and scored on an RBi single from Parent, pulling to within three.

Altoona added three in the top of the fifth to take a 12-6 lead, but the Panthers got two back in the bottom of the sixth as Parent scored Joshua Zelinski with a sacrifice fly and Clinger scored Hoops with a single to center.

Pitt-Bradford added one more in the seventh as Hoops sent home Tim Brown with a double to deep left, cutting the Altoona lead to 12-9.

After a quiet eighth, Altoona rallied for five runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach and take a 17-9 lead.

The Panthers were sent down in order in the ninth and Altoona held on to force game three.

Andrew Bacha started on the mound and pitched the first 4.1 innings, surrendering 11 earned runs and nine hits.

Benjamin Hayes came on in relief, throwing 4.1 innings, giving up two earned runs and walking a pair. Sam Gwiazdinski pitched the final out necessary for the Panthers, retiring the lone batter he faced.

Monday's game three between No. 4 Pitt-Bradford and No. 5 Penn State-Altoona will also be played at the Kessel Athletic Complex on the campus of Pitt-Bradford.