Lions sweep USCAA opponent St. Joseph's (VT)

Lions sweep USCAA opponent St. Joseph's (VT)

Schuylkill Haven, PA - Penn State Hazleton (5-6) took to the road to find friendly field conditions on Thursday and face off against United State Collegiate Athletic Association opponent St. Joseph's of Vermont. The Lady Lions managed a sweep in the afternoon double-header. Game 1 ended early by the score of 8-0 in five innings, while game 2 finished in walk-off fashion in favor of Hazleton by the score of 5-4 in seven innings.

Game 1: Penn State Hazleton 8, St. Joseph's (VT) 0 (Final, 5 Innings)

Bottom 1: Sara Stauffer led off the Lions afternoon with a double to right field and advanced to 3rd base on ground ball single through infield by Brianna Grunza. Andrea Quillman cashed in both runners on a single to up the middle leading to a quick 2-0 advantage.

Bottom 2: After 2 quick outs, the Lady Lions strung 5 consecutive hits together to expand their lead to 6-0. Sara Stauffer once again began the assault with her second double, followed by singles off the bat of Kaitlyn Kaluzny (RBI) and Brianna Grunza. Once more Andi Quillman drove in a pair of runners, this time with a towering triple to right center field. Erin Dougherty capped off the inning with a double to right field, scoring Quillman, and giving Hazleton a 6-0 lead.

Bottom 4: Stauffer continued her fine day with line drive single to center, and Kaitlyn Kaluzny reached on a hit by pitch. This time Brianna Grunza caused some damage of her own, scorching a double to left, driving in the pair of runners and extending theHazleton lead to 8-0, but was thrown at attempting to reach third base, ending the Hazleton threat in the fourth inning.

All things went according to plan in game one for the Lady Lions. Hazleton's Kayla Rhome pitched a gem in game one, allowing just 2 base runners in her five inning outing. Rhome pitched to contact leading to 7 ground ball outs, 6 in the air, along with 2 strikeouts. Sara Stauffer finished game 1 going 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored. Brianna Grunza also went a perfect 3 for 3 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI, while Andi Quilllman drove in 4 runs on 2 hits in the winning effort.

The Fighting Saints struggled to produce at the plate in game 1. Karlee Moore garnered St. Joseph's only hit in the contest, going 1 for 2 in game 1.

Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 5, St. Joseph's (VT) 4 (Final, 7 Innings)

Bottom 2: Brandi Grunza led off the second inning with a double to right field and scored on a triple to right center field by Kayla Rhome. A pair of walks by Tina Beiland and Britani Esser loaded the bases for Hazleton, but the Lions were unable to score until a patient Brianna Grunza managed a walk to score Beiland from third, giving the Lions a 2-0 edge.

Top 5: The Fighting Saints cut the lead to one with 3 hits in the fifth inning. Jenna Crowley singled to center and was advanced on a sacrifice by Alana Todd. Emily Johnson advanced the runner on an infield single and Allison Hinton beat out a ground ball to score Crowley from 3rd, bringing the score to 2-1.

Top 6: St. Joseph's Karlee Moore reached base on a hit by pitch to lead off the inning and reached third base on a passed ball and wild pitch. An errant throw from Hazleton scored Moore as the Saints continued to rally in the 6th. A free pass Krysta Konderwich left runners on first and second and the Saints were content to sacrifice an out to advance the runners. The Lions mishandled the bunt, scoring the runner from second base. Testing the defense, Jenna Crowley laid down another sacrifice, giving the Saints a 4-2 lead but ending the threat in the 6th.

Bottom 6: Hazleton rallied after 2 quick outs in the 6th with a walk by Britani Esser and a double by Sara Stauffer to threaten the 2 run lead. A mishandled fly ball to right field by Kaitlyn Kaluzny scored the pair, knotting the game at 4-4 through six innings.

Bottom 7: A leadoff walk by Erin Dougherty started the inning and quickly stole 2nd base to reach scoring position. A single off the bat of Kayla Rhome advanced the runner with one out, leaving the Lions just 60 feet from the victory. Hazleton's Kayla Karchner, who entered in the 7th defensively smoked a single through the right side of the infield giving Hazleton the walk-off 5-4 victory.

A tightly contested Game 2 saw Hazleton scatter 8 hits against the Fighting Saints. The Lions were led offensively by Brianna Grunza who went 2 for 3 with an RBI and Kayla Rhome's 2 for 4 performance with a triple and RBI. Sara Stauffer pitched well for the Lions, surrending just one run on four hits in 5 innings. Kayla Rhome benefitted from the comeback to get her second win on the day, this time in relief.

The Fighting Saints were led by Jenna Crowley, who went 1 for 1 in Game 2 with a run scored and an RBI while pitching 6 innings, allowing 5 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits. Sabrina Akrouk went 2 for 3 with two singles in the losing effort.

Next Up: Hazleton gets three days of rest over the weekend and then travels to Penn State Brandywine on Monday for their first taste of conference play.