New Kensington, Pa. - The no. 4 Lady Lions got back in the win column Saturday afternoon, taking a pair games on the first stop of their western Pennsylvania road swing at Penn State New Kensington. The bats broke out in the fifth frame of both contests as Hazleton scored a combined 21 runs in the innings, ultimately ending both games by way of the eight run rule. Sophomore Vanessa Michael (Bloomsburg, Pa.) found herself in the middle of the action, recording a career day at the plate with 10 RBI in the double-header.
Game 1: Penn State Hazleton 20, Penn State New Kensington 0
Michael led a 14 run fifth inning in which the Lady Lions garnered seven hits and nine free passes from New Kensington pitching. After driving in a pair of scores on two singles as Hazleton built a 6-0 lead through the first four innings, the sophomore found paydirt in the final inning. Michael knocked her second career grand slam in her first at-bat of the inning, and later cashed in two runners with single to total a season high eight RBI for one game.
Three other Lady Lion sluggers notched mult-hit games in what became a lopped sided affair. Freshman Kayla Wirth (Bethlehem, Pa.) hit three singles in four trips to the plate, adding two runs scored and an RBI. Sophomore Sara Stauffer (Mifflinburg, Pa.) doubled in two scores in the second inning and singled in a run in fifth, totaling three RBI and three runs scored, while freshman Moriah Lynn (Berwick, Pa.) finished 2-3 including a double, two runs scored and an RBI.
Sophomore Kayla Rhome (Marysville, Pa.) threw her fourth shutout of the season, a complete game for her ninth win of the season. Rhome struck out eight batters and did not allow any baserunners to advance past second base, giving up just three hits and two walks in the winning effort.
Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 12, Penn State New Kensington 4
Hazleton picked up from where they left off in game one, scoring five runs in the opening frame. Once again Michael was in the mix, smacking an RBI double and coming around to score on a double by Kayla Wirth. But the Lady Lions would find themselves in a tight ballgame as New Kensington responded with a four hit inning of their own. The home squad got to freshman Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) for three first inning runs to the cut the Hazleton lead to just two. Varela bounced back with a clean frame in the second, but New Kensington would cut the lead to just one with a solo home run in the third inning.
The home team shut down the potent Hazleton offense for the next three innings but once again, the fifth inning was kind to the Lady Lions. Hazleton registered five hits in the frame and were aided by three New Kensington fielding miscues, all with two outs in the inning. The result, a seven run inning to pull ahead and seal up the 12-4 victory.
Michael completed her career day, registering a double, two runs scored and two RBI going 2-4 at the plate in game two. Freshman Noelle Bergerstock (Muncy, Pa.) logged two singles in three trips to the dish, scoring twice on the basepaths. Kayla Wirth added a single and a double, scoring twice and driving in two runners, finishing her fine day at the plate with a combined 6-8 performance on Saturday.
Sam Varela settled in nicely after allowing four hits in the first inning to New Kensington. The freshman allowed just two hits from the second inning on, struck out three and walked no batters on the day, improving her record to 3-3 on the season.
Hazleton wraps up the western road trip when they visit Penn State Fayette on Sunday, April 18 at 12:00 p.m.