Lions drop series opener with Brandywine

Charlie Karchner makes a throw from shortstop.
Charlie Karchner makes a throw from shortstop.

Media, Pa. - The Nittany Lions fell in the series opener against Penn State Brandywine on Thursday night, falling by the score of 9-4 at the Maplezone Sports Complex. Hazleton put the first two runs on the board but fell victim to a six run burst by the home team in the bottom half of the inning and failed to rally down the stretch. 

Hazleton got runners at the corners with two outs in the fourth inning and converted a double-steal to pick up the game's first score. A clutch single by sophomore Josh Malkemes (Mountain Top, Pa.) drove in sophomore Dominic Yannuzzi to put the Lions up 2-0 but the middle innings would not be kind to the Hazleton pitching staff. 

Yannuzzi started the game off strong, putting up blanks in the first three frames until an error sparked a big fourth inning for Brandywine. The home team took advantage of the miscue, two walks and a hit batsman while stringing together three hits to tally six runs off Yannuzzi and chase the sophomore from the game. An RBI single in the fifth inning led to two more Brandywine scores and a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning extended the lead to 9-2 in favor of the home squad. Brandywine picked up seven of their ten total hits in the middle three innings and limited Hazleton to just two scores down the stretch to earn the win.

Hazleton cut into the deficit with single scores in the seventh and eighth innings although never crept back into contention in this one. Sophomore Colin Stauffer continued to be locked in at the plate, leading Hazleton with a 3-for-4 demonstration at the dish, scoring two of the Lions four scores. Malkemes finished 1-for-3 with the RBI single in the fourth inning while senior Charles Karchner ended the game 1-for-5 with an RBI single in the seventh inning. 

Yannuzzi allowed just two hits while cruising through the first three innings until exiting in the fourth. Overall the sophomore allowed four earned on five hits and two walks en route to the loss.

Next up: The Lions will look to bounce back and try to pull off the series victory when play resumes over the weekend. Hazleton will host Brandywine for a pair of seven inning games on Sunday, April 7 at 12:00 p.m. in Drifton, Pa.