BRADFORD, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team had its playoff run cut short as Penn State-Altoona came out on top in the decisive Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference First Round game three Monday, 17-5.
After the two teams split Sunday to force a decisive third game in the best-of-three format, Penn State-Altoona advanced to the AMCC Championship Round hosted at No. 1 La Roche later this week.
Nate Renick came through with his best outing of the season, giving the Panthers 6.1 strong innings on the mound while striking out four and holding Altoona to four runs for much of his outing. He also held the Lions to just two hits through the first four innings of the contest.
Down 6-1 in the seventh inning, Austin Parent stepped up and slugged a three-run homer that landed to the right of the scoreboard in left center field, bringing the team to within two runs and becoming the new Pitt-Bradford single-season home run leader in the process.
Walks by the Panther bullpen in the closing innings helped the Lions rally for 13 runs in the final three innings to widen the gap.
Both starting pitchers worked 1-2-3 first innings, and Renick worked a hitless second as well.
A fielder's choice off the bat of Brody Wood put runners on the corners with one away.
Joshua Zelinski came through, driving a single through the right side to score Renn and give Pitt-Bradford a 1-0 lead.
Pitt-Bradford threatened in the third as Parent was hit by a pitch with one away.
A Renn flyout brought Clinger to the dish looking to score Parent and double the Panther lead.
The senior drove one deep toward the foul line in right, but the right fielder made diving catch fully extended and picked the ball just before it touched the ground to rob a potential Panther run.
Altoona tied it in the fourth as a leadoff walk came home on an infield single, and later took a 4-1 lead with three runs in the top of the fifth, the big hit a two-run home run.
Pitt-Bradford was once again in position for a rally, but for the second-straight inning, the Altoona defense put a halt to the threat.
Three walks loaded the bases for the Panthers with one away, chasing the Altoona starting pitcher from the contest.
Renn stepped in looking to cut into the Lions' lead.
He knocked a hard ground ball up the middle, and the Altoona shortstop made a diving stop, filpped to the second baseman for the out at second then onto first for the inning-ending double play.
Both teams went quiet in the sixth until the Lions extended their lead with a pair in the top of the seventh.
But they would be erased -- and then some -- by Parent's three-run shot in the bottom half.
Hoops singled and Sawyer Packard was hit by a pitch, setting the stage for the three-run blow.
With the score now 6-4 in favor of the Lions, the Panther bullpen combined for six walks in the eighth with a pair of RBI doubles thrown in, and Altoona extended its lead to 13-4.
The Lions capitalized on six more walks by Panther pitching in the ninth and took a 17-4 lead into the bottom half.
With two away, Parent worked a walk to extend the game, and Renn stepped in and knocked a single to center.
Clinger then worked a walk and Parent later scored on a wild pitch.
But the one run would be all the Panthers would get as Penn State-Altoona held on for the win and advanced to the Championship Round.
Renn worked two base hits while Hoops, Parent, Clinger, Wood, Zelinski and Jason Lucarelli had a hit apiece to make up the Panthers' eight-hit effort.
The Panthers put together one of the best seasons in recent program history. Pitt-Bradford captured 17 wins, their most since 2014, and 10 AMCC wins, the program's most since 2010. The Panthers earned the fourth spot in the AMCC Playoffs, hosting the First Round.
For seniors Jay Clinger, Tim Brown, Dalton Renn and Brody Wood, Monday's game was the final of their storied four-year careers. The 2018 senior class helped the baseball program to 56 total wins and 31 victories against AMCC opponents during their time as Panthers.