Lady Lions slowed by Brandywine hurlers

Mary Kate Penczkowski winds up from the circle.
Mary Kate Penczkowski winds up from the circle.

Media, Pa. - After a split decision on Friday, Hazleton was poised to keep pace with top ranked Penn State Brandywine in the Penn State University Athletic Conference's eastern division, but Saturday proved to be a different day indeed. On their home turf, Brandywine pitching held Hazleton to just nine total hits in Saturday's double-header, taking both ends of the two game set by scores of 9-3 and 3-0. 

Game 1: Penn State Brandywine 9, Penn State Hazleton 3

Top Performers

Sophomore Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) continued to swing a hot bat, registering a pair hits that included a game tying, two RBI extra base hit in the third inning. But the sophomore's second appearance in the circle in as many days against the reigning PSUAC champs turned out much differently on Saturday. Varela allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits while striking out a pair to take the loss.

Sophomore Vanessa Michael (Bloomsburg, Pa.) added an RBI double to finish 1-for-3 while sophomore Shelby Jolliff (Dunkirk, Oh.) ended the game 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. 

Eight Brandywine hitters combined for the team's 10 knocks against Varela. Leading the group effort was Julie Foeldes who scored three times in a 2-for-2 performance while Arianna Segich, Maddie Malfara and Nikki Velez recorded two RBI a piece.

Entering the game in the fifth inning to earn the win for Brandywine was Katie DeStefano who shut-out the Lions in the final three frames, allowing just two base runners via the free pass.

Moments that Mattered

After spotting Brandywine a two run head start, Hazleton rallies in the top half of the third inning. Varela and Michael smash back to back doubles to claim a 3-2 lead.

Brandywine comes up with clutch two-out hits to claim the victory. Varela nearly dodges trouble, but a Velez double and home run by Segich plate four runs in the fourth inning and back to back singles by Megan Crisafulli and Maddie Malfara tack on a pair of insurance scores in the fifth frame.

Game 2: Penn State Brandywine 3, Penn State Hazleton 0

Top Performers

Freshman Mary Kate Penczkowski (Hanover, Pa.) allowed just four hits and two walks to Brandywine hitters, giving up just one earned run in the loss. 

Varela extends her hit streak to five games, collecting two of Hazleton's four hits in game two, including a double in the sixth inning.

Just as in the first matchup of the day, Katie DeStefano saves the day in relief work for Branywine. DeStefano entered in the fourth inning and allowed just two base runners in the final four frames to pick up the win.

Stephanie Harvey drives in two of Brandywine's three scores in a 1-for-1 effort at the plate while Julia Allman adds an RBI with a 1-for-3 performance.

Moments that Mattered

Harvey makes Hazleton pay for both of their defensive errors in Saturday's game two. The Lady Lions failed to execute in the second frame, allowing Harvey to tag a two-out go ahead RBI and then tacks on Brandywine's third score with sacrifice fly in the fourth inning which should have been the third out of the frame. 

Sam Varela sparked a potential rally in the top half of the sixth inning with a lead off double and reached third base with less than two outs, but DeStefano foiled Hazleton's best scoring opportunity of the game, inducing a pair of ground balls and a pop up to continue her string of zeros in the Hazleton box score.

Next up

Hazleton will look to bounce back on Monday when they return home for a two game set with Penn State Schuylkill. First pitch set for 2:00 p.m. in Drifton, Pa.