DuBois, Pa. - The Hazleton Nittany Lions drummed up five runs in five innings of work on Monday morning, but that was not enough to keep pace with the hard-hitting lineup of Miami-Hamilton. The Harriers, racked up 15 hits against Hazleton pitching, ending the game in the bottom of the 5th frame on a grand slam to top Hazleton 15-5 in the opening game of the USCAA Small College World Series.
Hazleton got off to a great start in this one, using a pair of doubles by sophomores Jess Lepore (Telford, Pa.) and Linsey Fisk (Millville, Pa.) to get on the board first. Lepore came in to score the game's first run on an error by the Harriers and Fisk drove in freshman Macy Schnatter (East Stroudsburg, Pa.) on a ball off the left field fence to go ahead 2-0. Fisk went on to swipe home on a run-down at second base, giving the Lions an early 3-0 cushion. But Hazleton's lead would be short-lived as the Harriers would bat a round in their first plate appearances. After two walks started the inning, Miami hitters reeled off five straight hits to go up 4-3 and a ground ball out pushed the score to 5-3. Miamia would add two more hits in the inning to score a sixth run and chase Hazleton senior Cassidy Lentz (Germansville, Pa.) from the ball game.
Things would quiet down until the bottom of the third frame when the Harrier bats began to click again and the home team tacked on three runs on three hits and an error to take a 9-3 advantage over Hazleton. The Lions managed just one hit from the second inning until the fifth frame when Schnatter broke to ice with her first hit of the game. Freshman Tori Rabuck (Tower City, Pa.) followed with a line drive over the center field wall for her third home run of the season, trimming the lead to 9-5 in favor of Miami but the Harriers weren't done swinging. Miami quickly erased the Hazleton rally with three straight hits to lead off the inning and a pair of free passes. With the score at 11-5 and no outs in the inning, Miami's Annabel Thies drove a line drive over the right center field wall, clearing the bases with a game-ending grand slam.
With game one in the books, Hazleton will need to win to advance in the tournament from this point on. The Lions will resume play on Tuesday morning, facing off with Central Maine Community College at 10:00 a.m. at Heindl Field in DuBois, Pa.