Cocoa Beach, FL - In a rematch from round 1 in last season's United States Collegiate Athletic Associaton National Tournament, Penn State Hazleton (3-6) faced off against Ave Maria University (15-15) in their final double-header of Spring Break action. The Lions fell to the NAIA opponent by a score of 9-1 in both contests. Game 1 was decided in five innings and game 2 in six.
Game 1: Ave Maria University 9, Penn State Hazleton 1 (Final - 5 Innings)
The Gyrenes jumped out to a early 3 run lead by the second inning on four hits and a walk. The Lady Lions cut the lead to two in the top half of the third inning on an RBI double by Sara Stauffer (Mifflinburg, PA), but that score proved to be all the Hazleton squad could muster in game 1. Ave Maria continued to tack on pairs of runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings bringing and early end to game 1 by a score of 9-1.
Sara Stauffer continued her fine play at the plate to lead Hazleton with two hits and one RBI. Briana Grunza (Carbondale, PA) finished the game going 2 for 3 with one double at the Plate. Brittani Esser's record fell to 1-1 on the mound for Hazleton surrendering 9 runs (7 earned) in just four innings pitched.
Cheyenne Benson and Marly Braddie both went 2 for 3 at the plate with 3 RBI's each to lead the Gyrene offense. Jessenia Gonzales shut down Hazleton from the mound, pitching four innings, surrending just 1 unearned run and striking out 4 in route to the win.
Game 2: Ave Maria University 9, Penn State Hazleton 1 (Final - 6 Innings)
Ave Maria picked up right where they left off in game 1, plating three runs on three hits in the first inning. The Gyrenes added one run in the third and cashed in on four hits in the fourth frame to score 3 runs and take a 7-0 lead. A single in the bottom half of the fourth inning by Andrea Quillman drove in Hazleton's only run of the afternoon. Miranda Dessecker clouted a 2-run homer for the Gyrenes to finish off the Lions in six innings by a score of 9-1.
The Lady Lions struggled to threaten in game reaching base only 4 times in the game. Brianna Grunza (Carbondale, PA) finished 1 for 3 at the plate with a double, while Brandi Grunza (Carbondale, PA) scored Hazleton's only run after reaching base on a dropped 3rd strike. Adrea Quillman finished 1 for 3 on the day with an RBI. Kayla Rhome (Marysville, PA) pitched three innings for Hazleton giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits and fanning 2 batters. Kayla Karchner (Hazleton, PA) pitched the final three innings in relief, surrendering 5 earned runs on 6 hits in the losing effort.
Victoria Thompson led the Gyrene offense going 2 for 3 at the plate with 1 RBI and 3 runs scored. Nikki Wooward went 2 for 3 at the plate with 2 RBI and Miranda Dessecker finished 1 for 2 with a 2-run homerun in the sixth inning. Hali Delashmet pitched for the win in game 2, throwing four strong innings of work, allowing one run on just one hit with nine strikeouts.
Up Next: Hazleton departs sunny Florida and returns to Pennsylvania to continue their regular season. If weather cooperates, Hazleton is next slated to face SUNY Canton on March 22 for a double-header on their home field.