Hazleton drops home opener to Wilkes-Barre 4-1

Drifton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions took their home field for the first time on Monday afternoon, squaring off with Penn State Wilkes-Barre in their fourth Penn State University Athletic Conference matchup of the season. Hazleton sophomore Daniel Gilligan (Charlton, Ma.) and freshman Adam Michalesko combined to toss a solid game for Hazleton but could not match the effort from Wilkes-Barre starter John Fagotti. Fagotti held the Nittany Lions to just five hits in the ballgame, allowing one unearned run as Wilkes-Barre snuck past Hazleton with a 4-1 victory. 

A three run, sixth inning for Wilkes-Barre proved to be the difference in a game where runs came at a premium. Four of Wilkes-Barre's eight hits in the game came in the fateful sixth frame as the visitors expanded their one run advantage into a four run cushion. Gilligan struck out the fourth batter of the inning to have a chance to escape the frame unblemished, but back to back, two-out singles by Alexander Klinger and David Staskiel with the bases loaded, produced the trio of runs and chased Gilligan from the game. 

Hazleton seemed to figure out Fagotti in the middle innings, tacking on a run in the bottom half of the sixth and threating in the seventh frame, but a tough luck baserunning error shut-down the rally. Senior Corey Ryba led off the seventh with one of his two singles in the game, then advanced to scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Ryba was lifted from second base for more speed and with one out in the inning, sophomore Joseph Bissol fired a line drive to the gap in left field. Charging from centerfield was Wilkes-Barre's Michael Delaney who appeared to snag the Bissol drive, sending the Hazleton runner back to second base. But the ball squirted to the turf from Delaney's mit and the centerfielder quickly fired back to the infield to catch the Hazleton runner and squash the rally. Fagotti would sit down seven of the final eight Hazleton hitters to pick up the complete game win for Wilkes-Barre by the final score of 4-1.

Top Performers

Eric Adamczyk and Francis Brodi both had multi-hit games for the visitors, Adamczyk going 2-for-5 with a run scored and Brodi offering a 2-for-3 outing. David Staskiel finished 1-for-2 with two RBI, a run scored and two walks while RJ Kenzakoski finished 1-for-4 with an RBI.

John Fagotti finished the outing for a complete game win, tossing nine innings of one run ball. Fagotti allowed zero earned runs on five hits, striking out nine Nittany Lions in the winning effort.

Hazleton was led by Corey Ryba who went 2-for-4 and Wilson Guarnera who scored the Lions lone tally with his double in the sixth inning.

Dan Gilligan threw 5.2 innings on Monday, allowing four runs on seven hits. Gilligan walked four and struck out six in the loss. Freshman Adam Michalesko tossed 3.1 innings of relief work, blanking Wilkes-Barre in the final innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five hitters. 

Top 5th

David Staskiel earns a one out walk and comes around to score all the way from first base on a double to the left field corner by RJ Kenzakoski to notch the first score of the game, a 1-0 lead for Wilkes-Barre.

Top 6th

Wilkes-Barre gets back to back singles with one out and loads the bases after a two-out walk to Michael Delaney. Alexander Kliner singles to right field to plate one score and Staskiel follows with a two RBI single to center, pushing Wilkes-Barre's advantage to 4-0.

Bottom 6th

Guarnera leads off the frame with a double to left field. The freshman advances to third base on a groundout and comes in to score from third on a passed ball, cutting the Wilkes-Barre lead to 4-1.

Next Up

Hazleton wraps up a four game set in the PSUAC but comes up winless over that stretch. Hazleton is slated to Central Penn College on Wednesday, April 5 in a non-conference double-header beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Drifton, Pa.