Allentown, Pa. - Hazleton was back on the road on Tuesday with a brief break in Penn State University Athletic Conference play as they took on NCAA III opponent Cedar Crest College. The Falcons put a stop to the recent six game win streak by the Lady Lions, shutting down the Hazleton sticks in game one with a one-hit shut out victory over the Lady Lions. But the Hazleton bounced back in game two and despite being out-hit 15-12, the Lady Lions made their hits count, taking game two by the score of 8-7.
Game 1: Cedar Crest College 9, Penn State Hazleton 0 (Final, 5 Innings)
Cedar Crest jumped ahead early with eight runs on seven hits in the their first two at-bats including four extra-base hits off Hazleton's sophomore hurler Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) After an early double by freshman Breann Fetterman (Mountain Top, Pa.) the Hazleton offense was shut down, failing to give chase against a strong outing from Falcon pitcher Laura Rau. After giving up the first inning knock, Rau stymied the Hazleton bats, no-hitting the Lady Lions in the final four frames as Cedar Crest cruised to a 9-0 victory.
Rau helped her own cause, going 3-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Rau would complete the game in the circle to earn the win for the Falcons, tossing four and a third innings of shut-out softball.
Molly Schnaubelt finished 2-for-2 in game one, driving in a pair of Falcon runs and scoring twice in the victory. Rounding out the top efforts for Cedar Crest was Kaylee Martinez and Aimee Sarboukh. Martinez ended the game 1-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI while Sarboukh went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Moments that Mattered
With two outs and runners at the corners, Rau tags a double to centerfield, clearing the bases to give Cedar Crest the early 2-0 lead.
Trouble brews for Hazleton after the first two batters reach safely. Varela induces a ground out, but one batter later, Cedar Crest adds a pair of runs on a Lady Lion infield miscue. With two outs and two runners on base, the Falcons tag Varela for three straight doubles, scoring four and extending their advantage to 8-0.
Cedar Crest tacks on an insurance score with a sacrifice fly after the lead off hitter reaches base via an infield error, shuring up the five inning victory for the Falcons.
Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 8, Cedar Crest College 7
Hazleton would salvage a series split with heroics in game two. Both teams would trade runs in the first three innings, but the Lady Lions would surge ahead in the fourth frame with a five run inning. Hazleton would chip away with four singles to plate the go ahead run in the fifth, leaving the bases loaded for the hard-hitting Sam Varela. Seeking to rebound from a sub-par pitching effort in game one, Varela made good on that promise, tagging a grand slam to give her squad a five run cushion.
But the comfortable lead would be short-lived for Hazleton as the Falcons came to the plate in the fifth. After scoring a run on a Hazleton error, Molly Schnaubelt would bring the Falcons within one score on a three run home run off freshman Mary Kate Penczkowski (Hanover, Pa.).
Both teams would trade runs in the sixth and in their final at-bat of the game, Cedar Crest would mount a late rally attempt. Penczkowski would battle in the circle for Hazleton, but with two outs, Cedar Crest would earn their second hit of the inning to get the tying run in scoring position. One pitch away from tying the score, Kaylee Martiniez came to the plate with the game on the line. Martinez struck a hard knock to center field, but freshman Kiana Lukoskie (Trevorton, Pa.) saved the day with a miraculous catch in the outfield to end the game and get the Lady Lions back in the win column.
Varela led all hitters in game two going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI coming on the fourth inning grand slam. Freshman Sarah Coolbaugh (Harding, Pa.) drove in two Hazleton scores, finishing the game 1-for-4 while Sophomore Shelby Jolliff (Dunkirk, Oh.) and freshman Jerrika Chorba (Bloomsburg, Pa.) both added multi-hit efforts. Breann Fetterman scored three times and drove in one run in a 1-for-3 performance to round out the top hitters for the Lady Lions.
Mary Kate Penczkowski scattered 15 Falcon hits and navigated her way out of jams on several occasions to earn the complete game win for Hazleton. The freshman allowed six earned runs while striking out one and stranding 11 runners in the winning performance.
The Faclons were led by Molly Schnaubelt who finished 3-for-4 with four RBI, including the three run home run in the fifth. Kelly Reading scored three runs for Cedar Crest, going 4-for-5 at the plate while Brittney Bonser went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
Moments that Mattered
Freshman Erin Schmick (Macungie, Pa.) puts the Lady Lions on top first, smacking a double to right center to score Fetterman from second base. Coolbaugh follows with a productive out, giving Hazleton a 2-0 advantage.
Cedar Crest stacks three hits together in the third frame to knot the score at 2-2 on a Schnaubelt single to center field.
Bree Fetterman caps four singles by Hazleton to plate the go ahead run, paving the way for the grand slam by Varela that gives Hazleton a 7-2 margin of separation on the scoreboard.
Cedar Crest threatens to tie or take the lead when Schnaubelt brings the Falcons within one run on the three run blast with no outs in the inning. Penczkowksi battles to strand two additional runners, retiring the side with a 7-6 lead for Hazleton.
Coolbaugh makes the Falcons pay with an RBI single to left field following a pair of Cedar Crest fielding miscues, putting Hazleton up 8-6.
Four straight singles plate a seventh run for Cedar Crest but once more, Penczkowski escapes trouble. With one out and the bases loaded, sophomore Vanessa Michael (Bloomsburg, Pa.) throws out the tying run at the plate on ground ball fielder's choice and Penczkowski induces a fly out to retire the side.
Hazleton is back in action on Thursday and Friday for a battle between the top teams in the PSUAC eastern division. Hazleton will take on Penn State Brandywine in a four game set, beginning in Drifton, Pa. on Thursday at 2:00 p.m., before traveling to Brandywine on Friday.