Lions falter late to drop third straight to Brandywine

Sophomore Dan Gilligan at bat for the Nittany Lions
Sophomore Dan Gilligan at bat for the Nittany Lions

Media, Pa. - The Nittany Lions looked to stay in the hunt for a Penn State University Athletic Conference eastern division playoff berth as they completed their three game series with Brandywine. After dropping game one of  the double-header on Saturday by the score of 7-1, Hazleton bounced back for a 4-0 advantage in the final game. Hazleton clung to the lead until the final inning and was just two outs from the win, but stumbled late as Brandywine completed the comeback to steal a 5-4 win and sweep the season series.

Game 1: Penn State Brandywine 7, Penn State Hazleton 1

Top Performers

In a tough offensive outing for the Lions, Freshmen Adam Michalesko (Drums, Pa.), Greg Lyons (Millville, Pa.) and senior Aaron Glass (Shippensburg, Pa.) combine for Hazleton's three hit total. Glass drives in the lone score for the Lions with a two-out single in the fourth to finish 1-for-3.

Brandywine's John Gorgone, Adam Spitaletta and Brian Reynolds nab multi-hit games in the win. Spitaletta and Will Scott-Norris collect two RBI a piece to lead the offensive efforts.

Tyler Michaels earns the complete game victory for Brandywine, allowing one run on three hits and four walks, while striking out four batters in the win.

Moments that Mattered

Brandywine sets the pace early with a pair of two-out hits in the bottom half of the first. Reynolds singles to score the game's first run and Scott-Norris follows two batters later with a double to put Brandywine on top 3-0.

After allowing a lead off walk in the first, Michaels retires 11 straight Nittany Lions before running into trouble in the fourth. Glass connects for a two-out RBI single, but Michael's defense throws out the trail runner to limit the damage.

Brandywine strings four straight hits together in the sixth frame to plate three runs and expand the lead to its final score of 7-1.

Game 2: Penn State Brandywine 5, Penn State Hazleton 4

Top Performers

Senior Corey Ryba (McAdoo, Pa.) struck for RBI knocks in the first and third innings of game two, totaling three RBI in a 2-for-3 performance for Hazleton. 

Adam Michalesko finished 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and gave Hazleton the start they needed to have a chance to top the home team Brandywine. Michalesko tossed six and a third innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. The freshman struck out four but walked five and hit a batter as Brandywine completed the late comeback. 

Brandywine's heart of the order inflicted much of the damage in the final three innings of play. Spitaletta, Matt Masi and Reynolds combine for four of Brandywine's five hits, each coming up with clutch RBI's.

Chris Skahill earned the win for the home team in four innings of relief work. Skahill allowed just two hits, silencing the Halzeton offense down the stretch.

Moments the Mattered

Ryba makes Brandywine pay for a pair of errors in the first, smacking a two-out hit to drive in freshman Tanner Lawrence (Pinellas Park Fl.) and Wilson Guarnera (Camp Hill, Pa.) to give the Lions a quick 2-0 before taking the field.

Brandywine miscues come back to haunt the home team once more in the third frame and once again Ryba gets in on the action. The senior tags a double to left field, once again scoring Guarnera. With one out and runners at the corners, sophomore Daniel Gilligan (Charlton, Ma.) extends the Hazleton cushion to four runs with a sacrifice fly.

Skahill enters the game in the top of the fourth inning and cools off the Hazleton bats, facing just two batters over the minimum in the final four Hazleton at bats.

After manufacturing a run in the fifth, Brandywine mounts their comeback effort in the final two innings. Brandywine's first four hitters reach safely in the sixth inning to score their second run and the Lions trade a third run for a double play chance that helps them escape the inning with a 4-3 advantage. 

Michalesko retires the first hitter in the final inning but the defense fizzles as Brandywine gets two runners aboard courtesy of a hit batsman and an infield miscue. Spitaletta singles to knot the score at 4-4 and Hazleton elects to take the bat out of the power hitting Masi's hands, loading the bases with an intentional walk. Searching for a pitch to induce a game ending double-play, Michalesko fails to find the strike zone, issuing a game-ending walk and game=winning RBI to Brian Reynolds.

Next Up

The three game sweep leaves the Nittany Lions trailing in the playoff hunt by three games in the PSUAC east. With five games to play, Hazleton will look to start a run as they take on Penn State Schuylkill on Monday, April 17 in a home double-header. First pitch slated for 2:00 p.m. in Drifton, Pa.