Titusville, Fl. - On the final day of softball action in the south, Penn State Hazleton finished strong, earning a split decision against NCAA Division III Iowa Wesleyan University. The Lady Lion bats remained cold in game one, but roared back to life in the finale, offering their hurler some much needed run support to leave Florida on a high note.
Game 1: Iowa Wesleyan University 3, Penn State Hazleton 0
Sophomore Kayla Rhome (Marysville, Pa.) blanked Iowa Wesleyan for four innings before surrendering a pair of home runs in the fifth inning. The Tigers three run burst was all the scoring they would need as Hazleton continued to struggle at the plate. The Lady Lions served up just two hits and four total base runners, falling in game one by a score of 3-0.
Summer Johnson led off the inning with a high fly ball over the left-center field wall to initiate the scoring. Rhome induced a pair of groundouts but allowed a single in the process when Kennedy Vinchattle came to the plate and lined a two run homer over the left field wall to put the Tigers on top 3-0.
Samantha Mcllwain pitched a brilliant game for the Tigers, striking out 12 Lady Lions in seven innings of work, allowing just two hits and two walks to Hazleton.
Vinchattle went 2-3 at the dish with the two run homer to lead Tiger hitting. Summer Johnson added the solo home run while teammate Michaela Brewer went 2-3 with a run scored.
Kayla Rhome threw five scoreless innings, but surrendered three runs in the fifth frame. Rhome struck out four batters while allowing six total hits and one walk.
Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 9, Iowa Wesleyan 2
Sara Stuaffer served up seven strong innings of five hit ball while Hazleton's bats began to heat up in the final game of the week. The Lady Lions scored in each of the six innings they came to the plate, tacking on run after run until sophomore Vanessa Michael (Bloomsburg, Pa.) broke the game open in the fifth inning with a three run blast that all but sealed the victory for Hazleton. The Lions would add an insurance run in the sixth for Stuaffer as she picked up her first win of the season.
Iowa Wesleyan loads the bases with one out on a pair of singles and hit batsman. Hannah Mixer singled to bring in the games first run putting the Tigers up 1-0.
Moriah Lynn hits a solo home run to knot the score at 1-1 through the first inning of play.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Kaluzny (Wilkes Barre, Pa.) singled to lead off the inning, then advanced to second base on a groundout. With two outs, Vanessa Michael hits a line drive to the outfield, scoring Kaluzny and giving Hazleton a 2-1 advantage, but is thrown out advancing to second base to end the inning.
Moriah Lynn reaches base on a fielders choice and advances to third base on a single from sophomore Britani Esser (Willingboro, Nj.). Freshman Kayla Wirth (Bethlehem, Pa.) drives in Lynn from third to tack on a third Lady Lion run giving them a 3-1 lead after three innings.
Stuaffer gets the first two Tigers out but an infield error extends the inning for Iowa Wesleyan. A misplayed fly ball by Hazleton in the outfield allows a second Tiger run cutting the lead to 3-2 in favor of Hazleton.
A pair of Tiger errors following singles from sophomore Brandi Grunza (Carbondale, Pa.) and Vanessa Michael allow a fourth Lady Lion run to cross the plate. Hazleton regains the two run advantage 4-2 after four innings.
Two Lady Lions singles and a groundout leaves runners at second and third for freshman Haley Trasacco (Hamden, Ct.). Trasacco singles to score Kaluzny and with runners on the corners and one out, Vanessa Michael blasts a three run homer to cap a four run inning, giving Hazleton an 8-2 lead over the Tigers.
Hazleton adds an insurance run on a wild pitch to cap the score at 9-2.
Hannah Mixer goes 2-3 at the plate with an RBI to lead Iowa Wesleyan hitters.
Sara Stuaffer earns the win for Hazleton, tossing seven innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and striking out four.
Vanessa Michael adds her third home run of the week, picking up four RBI in the game and a run scored in a 3-3 effort at the dish. Kayla Wirth goes 3/4 at the plate with a pair of RBI. Brandi Grunza picks up two hits in three trips to the plate with a pair of runs scored. Moriah Lynn goes deep for the first time in 2016 and Haley Trasacco picks up an RBI single in a pinch hit effort.
The Lady Lions wrap up their Florida tour with a win, finishing the trip with a 2-6 record in the sunshine state. Despite the losses, Hazleton allowed more than three runs just once all week, a credit to the Lady Lion pitching and defense while facing a myriad of NCAA and NAIA teams down south. When the squad returns home, they'll hit the road once again to face Cairn University for a double-header on Friday, March 18 at 3:00 p.m.