DuBois, Pa. - The Hazleton Nittany Lions were eliminated from contention on Tuesday night following a 10-1 defeat at the hands of Carlow University.
Carlow jumped out to a decisive lead in the first two innings of the ball game as Hazleton got off to a sluggish start defensively. Hazleton was plagued by three misplayed balls in the first inning alone, allowing the Celtics to plate fours runs in the opening frame on just two clean hits. The Lions regained their defensive composure to start off the second frame, getting two quick outs with one Celtic stuck at first base, but three consecutive hits by the Celtics spoiled Hazleton's chances for a clean inning, putting Carlow up 7-0 after two frames.
Hazleton came up empty with runners in scoring position in both the first and second innings however the Nittany Lions were poised for a big third inning on offense. Sophomore Jess Lepore (Telford, Pa.) led off the frame with a double in the right center gap and promptly came around to score on a single by freshman Macy Schnatter (East Stroudsburg, Pa.) to break the ice. A double by freshman Tori Rabuck (Tower City, Pa.) gave Hazleton runners at second and third with no outs but a line out to the third baseman turned into an easy double-play for the Celtics, squashing the Hazleton rally in the process. Carlow used that shift in momentum to tack on three insurance runs in the top of the fourth inning and it was smooth sailing for the Celtics after that as Hazleton would earn just one base hit in their final two trips on offense and ultimately fall to Carlow 10-1 in five innings.
The loss ends the season for the Nittany Lions who battled their way to a very successful season after a rocky 1-7 start to the year. Hazleton earned their way back to the PSUAC Championships for the first time since 2017 and a subsequent bid to the Small College World Series, thanks to a 13-5 run in the PSUAC. Seven Nittany Lions would be named to the PSUAC All-Conference squad along the way and three Hazleton players, including freshman Ashley Wilson (East Stroudsburg, Pa.), Tori Rabuck and sophomore Rebecca Baum (Stewartstown, Pa.) would earn their way onto the USCAA All-American squad to cap off the season and potentially propel the Lions to a big year in 2022-23.