Dunmore, Pa. - The Nittany Lions earned two much needed Penn State University Athletic Conference wins on Friday afternoon at Penn State Worthington Scranton. The Hazleton offense was impressive out of the gates, notching seven runs in the first two innings of game one. Then tacked on eight more runs in the final two innings to invoke the 10 run rule, beating Worthington Scranton by the final score of 15-4. Hazleton continued their offensive prowess scoring four runs to start off game two, but Worthington Scranton closed the gap and held the Lions to just two runs in the final six frames. After Hazleton allowed three Worthington Scranton scores in their first at bat, sophomore Michael Baez (Blakeslee, Pa.) took to the hill to throw five and a third innings of shutout baseball to holding the slim Nittany Lion advantage and bridging the gap to closer, freshman Dan Gilligan (Charlton, Ma.). Gilligan shut the door to give Hazleton a 6-3 victory in game two and the sweep over Worthington Scranton, boosting the Lions conference record back to .500 at 4-4.
Game 1: Penn State Hazleton 15, Penn State Worthington Scranton 4
Hazleton pressured the Worthington Scranton nearly the entire game to the tune of 11 hits and 13 baserunners via the walk or hit by pitch. The combination of freshman Austin Felter (Susquehanna, Pa), sophomore Tyler Myers (Nanticoke, Pa.) and senior Corey Ryba (McAdoo, Pa.) went a combined 8-9 from the plate to power the Hazleton offensive attack. Felter slashed three singles, scoring four times and swiping three bases from the lead off spot. Myers and Ryba cleaned up behind Felter. Myers finished 3-3 with two runs scored, two RBI and a stolen base while Ryba finished 2-3 with two runs scored, two RBI and a stolen base. Hazleton hurler sophomore Charles Karchner (Hazleton, Pa.) did not let the run support go to waste, tossing a complete game. Karchner had just one inning of trouble, allowing four runs but limited Worthington Scranton to just six hits and blanking his opponents in the other four innings at the plate.
Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 6, Penn State Worthington Scranton 3
Just as in game one, the Nittany Lions jumped out to an early lead, this time plating four runs before taking the field, but this Worthington Scranton responded chasing the Hazleton starting pitcher from the mound after just two thirds of an inning. Michael Baez entered and got the Lions out of their first inning jam and settled in to blank Worthington Scranton the following five innings of play. Baez's teammate added a pair of insurance runs, one in the third and one in the fourth, to give their pitcher some breathing room, but none was needed as the sophomore cruised to the seventh frame. Baez allowed just four hits in 5.1 innings pitched, surrendering no runs and striking out three batters. Having done his job, Baez led the way for Dan Gilligan to take the hill. Gilligan shut down the Worthington Scranton offense one last time, to earn his third save of the season.
Despite being outhit by Worthington Scranton in game two, the Lions made their five hits count, taking advantage of six free passes to put runs on the board. Dan Gilligan led the Hazleton offense going 1-2 with a walk, an RBI and a runs scored. Myers, Ryba and freshman Paul Jay Wiegand (Berwick, Pa.) each collected singles with Myers scoring twice, driven in by Ryba on one occasion. Charlie Karchner added an RBI, going 1-3 at the plate to round out the Hazleton offense.
The Lions get Saturday off to travel out west where Hazleton will look to move up the PSUAC standings. Hazleton will face Penn State Fayette on Sunday, April 17 for a 12:00 p.m. double-header.