Phoenixville, Pa. - Penn State Hazleton moved to 4-1 for the season following a two game sweep at the University of Valley Forge (1-12) on Thursday evening. The Lions starting pitching and hitting was on point resulting in a pair of lopsided wins. Hazleton's starting pitching combined for eight innings of five hit baseball, allowing just two runs and one walk while striking out 11 batters, a positive sign as the season kicks into full swing. In addition to some fine throwing from the hill, the Nittany Lion offense offered ample support, totaling 45 scores on 38 hits in the two game set.
Game 1: Penn State Hazleton 19, University of Valley Forge 3
Hazleton touched up the Patriot pitching for 11 early runs in the contest, giving sophomore Charles Karchner (Hazleton, Pa.) a comfortable cushion to work with in his first action on the mound in 2016. Karchner cruised through his first two innings of work before being touched up for a pair of runs in the third inning. The Nittany Lions would add eight runs in the final four at bats, putting the game well out reach while their relief pitching cleaned up the final nine outs to earn Karchner his first win with a final score of 19-3.
Hazleton put six runs on the board before taking the field, aided by seven walks as the Patriot hurler failed to find the strike zone. Junior Aaron Glass (Shippensburg, Pa.) managed the only hit in the frame for the Nittany Lions, driving in sophomore Tyler Myers (Naticoke, Pa.), but a pair of productive outs combined with a trio of bases loaded walks led to the six run lead and early control of the game.
Three more walks in the early portion of the second inning chased the Patriot pitcher from the game and allowed the Lions to cash in on a another big inning. With one run already in, freshman Joseph Bissol (Washingotn Crossing, Pa.) tripled with runners on the corners, then came home on an error by the Patriot outfield. A two out RBI single from freshman Dan Gilligan (Charlton, Ma.) capped a five run inning for the Lions who took an 11-0 advantage through two innings.
The Patriots pick up three, two-out hits and walk off Karchner to tally their first runs of the day, cutting the Hazleton lead to 11-2. Shelton Gray drove in the the first run on a single with two aboard, followed by an RBI double from Ryon McGinness. Karchner would strand two baserunners to escape further damage.
Hazleton adds two runs on a sacrifice fly from Tyler Myers followed by another RBI single from Dan Gilligan. Hazleton pushes their lead back to 11 with a score of 13-2 through four innings.
A pair of walks and a single from senior Richard Hobbs (Central Islip, Ny.) loads the bases for Hazleton to start off the frame. Singles from Bissol and freshman Austin Felter drive in a pair of runs, then bases loaded walks to Myers and Glass add two more Hazleton runs. The Lions push the score to 17-2 on four hits in the frame.
Two free passes to Patriot hitters put a runner in scoring position to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. A single from Waldo Odens Jr. brings in the runner from second to cut the score to 17-3 in favor of Hazleton.
Karchner picks up the win for Hazleton pitching four innings of two run ball, allowing five hits while striking out eight Patriots.
Austin Felter led Hazleton with two hits, two RBI and four runs scored. Three other Nittany Lion bats added two RBI performances including Aaron Glass, Joe Bissol, and Dan Gilligan.
The Patriots were led by Ryon McGinness who went 2-4 with an RBI in the loss.
Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 26, University of Valley Forge 8 (Final 6 Innings, darkness)
The Nittany Lions collect 19 hits in game two, including a 12 run third inning to put the game away early. Freshman Eric Varner (Berwick, Pa.) tossed four innings of no-hit ball for the Lions before exiting with the game well in hand. With Varner out, Valley Forge chipped away at the Lion's relievers, but the Patriots were unable to mount the comeback necessary to overcome the hefty deficit. Hazleton would comfortably hold on with a 26-8 victory after the game was called due to darkness.
Hazleton picks up an early run on an infield error by the Patriots, then singles from Glass and sophomore Max Mott drive in two additional runs. With two outs and the base loaded, Eric Varner singles to drive in two runners, putting Hazleton up 5-0.
The Nittany Lions blow the game open with a 12 run inning. Hazleton worked four free passes and seven hits in crooked frame. Freshman Austin Felter (Susquehanna, Pa.) and Tyler Myers each picked up two, RBI singles as Hazleton sent 17 batters to the box in the third. Rich Hobbs and sophomore Charles Ziegmont (Tallahassee, Fl.) drove in two runners each, first with a double from Hobbs, followed by the two RBI single from the Ziegmont. By innings end, Hazleton commanded a 17-0 advantage.
A pair of singles from Hobbs and Varner add two Hazleton runs, extending the Lions lead to 19-0.
Hazleton hot offense continued, this time notching seven runs off Patriot pitching. The Lions pick up six hits in the frame, including RBI singles from Glass and Varner, capping the Hazleton scoring at 26.
A free pass and a hit by pitch with the bases loads plates two run for Valley Forge. An error in the Lions infield adds the third Patriots score and a bases loaded groundout caps the inning for Valley Forge with the score 26-4 through five innings.
Once again Hazleton fills the bases and Valley Forge takes advantage. The Patriots score on an infield error, then plate two runs on bases loaded walks. A single from Jared Spiro scores the eighth run for Valley Forge before Hazleton gets out of the inning. With the sun setting and a commanding lead for the Lions, the game is called for darkness after six.
Austin Felter, Aaron Glass and Rich Hobbs each collect three hit games in the victory. Felter scores three runs while driving in two runners. Glass goes 3-5 at the plate with a run scored and three RBI, while Hobbs goes 3-4 with three runs scored and a game high four RBI.
Varner earns the win for Hazleton on the mound, tossing four no-hit innings and striking out three Patriots at the plate.
Jared Spiro led the Patriot squad with two of their three hits in game two. Spiro went 2-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
Hazleton remains on the road for a double-header on Tuesday, March 29th. The Lions will travel to Central Penn College looking to continue the current win streak.