Lions hold off late rally for win at Scranton

Ryan Wingerter awaits a play at third base.
Ryan Wingerter awaits a play at third base.

Dunmore, Pa. - The Nittany Lions clubbed their way to an 11-6 win at Penn State Scranton on Tuesday afternoon to boost their record to 3-5 on the season. Hazleton nabbed an early lead but it took some late scoring to hold off the home squad Penn State Scranton who scored six runs in the second half of the game. The Lions combined for 17 hits in the ball game, getting quality innings from sophomore Eric Nothstein (Palmerton, Pa.) and junior Brandon Hardiman (Hunlock Creek, Pa.) to seal up the win. 

Hazleton picked up six hits in the first two innings, getting run producing plate appearances from Hardiman and freshman Nick Ciszak (Kunkletown, Pa.) to go up 3-0 on Scranton. On the hill for Hazleton, Nothstein was electric early, retiring six batters via the strikeout in the first four innings on the hill on keeping zeros on the board for the Scranton squad. By the fifth inning, Hazleton caught another wave of offense, scoring three additional runs in a five-hit inning.  Four straight singles to lead off the inning resulted in a RBI for sophomore Mason Goida (Lansford, Pa.) followed by an RBI single off the bat of sophomore Ryan Wingerter (Dingmans Ferry, Pa.) and botched infield fly to plate the final two runs of the inning. 

Hardiman tacked on Hazleton's seventh score of the game with a sac fly in the sixth inning but the Scranton bats were about to heat up. Scranton collected six hits in their next three trips on offense resulting in six runs and chasing Nothstein from the ball game. But each time Scranton managed to get on the board, Hazleton responded with runs of their own. The Lions scored at least one run in the final four innings of the ball game, getting clutch hitting from junior Jacob Taschler and Nick Ciszak to keep Scranton at arms length and ensure the win. Filling in for Nothstein on the hill, Hardiman took over in the seventh inning and although the junior allowed two runs to cross the plate in the eighth inning, Hardiman kept a clean sheet in the final frame to close the door on Scranton's chances. 

Top Performers: The Lion's offense picked up their biggest scoring output of the season resulting in a banner day for several players. Leading the way with a 5-for-6 day at the plate was Ciszak, who added two RBI and a run scored in the win. Hardiman ended the day 3-for-6 with three RBI while Wingerter, Goida and sophomore James Conza added multiple hits to their resume. Nothstein finished the afternoon with four runs allowed on seven hits to pick up the win from the mound. The sophomore struck out eight batters while walking five before exiting the game in the seventh inning. 

Next up: Hazleton's next action on the diamond will come on April 20 when the Lions travel to Penn State Schuylkill for a nine inning contest.