DRIFTON, Pa. - Penn State Hazleton picked up their first two wins of the season while sweeping visiting Summit University on Tuesday afternoon in a baseball doubleheader at the Drifton Sports Complex.
Pitching and defense improved dramatically over the Lions' performance just three days ago as four pitchers combined to allow just four runs over 14 innings to their NCAA Division III foe. Freshman Joseph Bissol (Washington Crossing, Pa.) picked up the first win of his career in game one, as Hazleton picked up a walk-off 3-2 victory.
The bats broke out in game two's fourth inning as the Lions plated four runs to grab a 4-1 lead, one they wouldn't relinquish, ultimately earning a 6-2 decision.
Game 1: Penn State Hazleton 3, Summit University 2
Hazleton put up picket fences in the first, fourth and seventh innings, never trailing throughout the first game on a sunny, but windy and cool day. Freshman Austin Felter (Susquehanna, Pa.) and senior Richard Hobbs (Central Islip, NY) each picked up two hits for the Lions.
But Hobbs had the big hit of the day, a perfectly placed, walk-off suicide squeeze that the Defenders had no play on, giving the Lions their first win of the season.
Felter singled and stole second, then advanced to third on a groundout. Senior Aaron Glass (Shippensburg, Pa.) then hit a fly ball to left, deep enough for Felter to tag and score for a 1-0 lead.
Kopnik singled for Summit and advances to third by swiping both second and third. Chupick follows with a double to make it 1-1. Bissol works out of trouble to keep the score tied through 3 1/2 innings.
Hazleton answers to make it 2-1 as freshman Daniel Gilligan (Charlton, Ma.) walks, steals second and is eventually brought home on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Charles Karchner (Hazleton, Pa.).
The Defenders tie it once again as Kopnik is once again in on the action. His two out single plates Feliciano, but Kopnik is left stranded.
Karchner opens with a lead-off single to right field, then advances on a wild pitch during sophomore Max Mott's (Harrisburg, Pa.) at-bat. Mott then bunts, and the Defenders attempt to get Karchner at third is not in time. With second base left unoccupied during the play, Mott not only is safe at first but he beats the shortstop in a foot race to second to give Hazleton runners at second and third with nobody out.
In steps Hobbs, who lays down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt with Karchner barreling down the third base line. The Defenders had no play as Hazleton walked off for a 3-2 win in game one.
Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 6, Summit University 2
Glass led the way with two hits and a run scored as Hazleton came from behind to pick up the win in game two. A four run outburst in the fourth gave the Lions a lead they wouldn't relinquish as Mott and Hobbs added to their days with two RBIs each in the nightcap.
Gilligan picked up his first career win, giving up one run in four innings while striking out two. Felter picked up a three-inning save, giving up only one run on two hits while striking out four.
Summit got on the board first in game two, as Kopnik continued to be a tough out for Hazleton. After reaching on a lead-off single, Kopnik was driven in by Rodriguez to make it 1-0.
After three hitless innings, Hazleton finally got some momentum going in the fourth. Glass, Gilligan and Karchner all singled with one out to load the bases. Freshman Eric Varner (Berwick, Pa.) drew a walk to bring in a run and tie the score at 1-1.
Mott followed with a RBI groundout to second, and Hobbs added to the lead with a two-out, two RBI single to give Hazleton a 4-1 advantage.
Summit bounced back with a run in the sixth, cutting their deficit to two, and a great throw from Gilligan kept the Lions ahead by two.
With runners on second and third and two outs, Mitchell singled to right for the Defenders to bring home a run. Hurlburt, who started on second, was waved home but Gilligans throw was on target and Glass applied the tag to keep Hazleton's lead at 4-2.
Hazleton added some insurance runs in the sixth, stretching their lead to 6-2. Karchner reached on an error and stole second. Freshman Ivan Leger (Philadelphia, Pa.) singled and stole second, and Karchner scored on a subsequent error by Summit. Mott followed with a single to plate Leger and give the Lions a four-run cushion.
With the sweep, Hazleton gets into the win column and gets ready to face their second straight NCAA Division III opponent in the University of Valley Forge. The Lions will travel to Phoenixville, Pa. to take on the Patriots in a single, nine inning affair on Thursday, March 24th. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.