Drifton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions fell victim to early miscues in the field, falling behind Luzerne County Community College in the first two innings of Hazleton's first action on the field. Six unearned runs aided the Trailblazers as they built their lead over the Lions, forcing them to play catch up the rest of the way. Hazleton pitching allowed just six hits through the first five innings of play before Luzerne tacked on five insurance runs in the final two frames to earn a 12-1 victory over the Lions.
A pair of Nittany Lion errors left runners at second and third to start off the inning. Troy Shurites drove in the opening run of the game on a single up the middle, then Dominic Sartini brought in the second score on a sacrifice fly to right field. Hazleton escaped more damage on a fine throw from sophomore Max Mott (Harrisburg, Pa.) who recorded a fly ball out in center field, then threw out Shurites at the plate to end the inning.
Luzerne put runners on with a one out base hit and a free pass, then advance both runners into scoring position on a sacrifice by Zach Kollar. Sophomore pitcher, Charlie Karchner induced an inning ending ground ball, but an infield miscue pushed the third Luzerne run across the plate. The Trailblazers would extend their lead to 4-0 on a wild pitch to the next batter.
With two outs in the third frame, freshman Austin Felter (Susquehanna, Pa.) singled to center field, then stole second base to get into scoring position. Sophomore Tyler Myers (Nanticoke, Pa.) followed with a base hit through the middle to plate the Nittany Lions a run and cut the lead to 4-1 in favor of the Trailblazers.
Luzerne adds three more runs to the scoreboard on four hits in the inning to expand their lead to 7-1 over Hazleton. Luzerne tacks on two runs from singles by Shurites and Austin Abild, then adds their third on a Hazleton wild pitch to the backstop.
Albid triples to lead off the inning, then Shurites steals second base after being hit by a pitch. With runners in scoring position, the Trailblazers tack on three insurance runs on three, RBI singles from Michael Bugonowicz, Mitchell Romanowski, and Nick Zarola. Romanowski would score on a passed ball, putting Luzerne up 11-1 through six innings of play.
A two out infield error from the Lions plates the final run of the ball game, extending Luzerne's advantage to 12-1.
Sophomore Charlie Karchner pitched three innings for Hazleton, allowing four unearned runs on two hits. Karchner struck out one batter while walking three to earn the decision in the Lions opener.
Tyler Myers and junior Aaron Glass (Shippensburg, Pa.) collected two hits each for Hazleton. Myers finished the day 2-3 at the plate with an RBI and two steals while Glass went 2-2 with a double and a walk.
Troy Shurites led the Luzerne attack with three singles, a pair of RBI, two steals and a run scored. Austin Abild scored four runs for the Trailblazers, swiping three steals while going 2-4 at the plate.
Michael Bugonowicz added a pair of hits and an RBI for Luzerne while throwing seven innings of one run ball from the hill. Bugonowicz struck out eight Nittany Lion hitters while allowing just six hits and one walk to earn the winning decision.
With their first game in the books, the Lions are eager and ready to get the season into full swing. Hazleton will take on Summit University in the next set of games on Tuesday, March 22. First pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m at the Drifton sports complex.