Drums, Pa. - The Nittany Lions squared off with Wilson College on Sunday, competing at home for the first time in 2023. Despite some quality hitting and defense, the Nittany Lions were stymied by the Phoenix in both ends of the Sunday double-header, dropping the first game by the score of 6-5 followed by a 5-1 victory for Wilson in game two.
Game One - Penn State Hazleton 5, Wilson College 6 - Final, 7 Innings
Hazleton's first outing on their home field was very much up for grabs until the final out was recorded. Wilson sprung for four runs on five hits in the second frame, including a pair of doubles that drove in runs. Hazleton nearly escaped the inning with just two runs allowed but a pair of two-out hits turned a minor allowance into a big inning for the Phoenix who took a 4-0 lead early in the action. Hazleton chipped away with single runs scored in the second and third innings with RBI singles from freshman Hattie Flood (Blairs Mills, Pa.) and sophomore Taylor D'Attilio (Hammonton, Nj.) that got Hazleton back into the game but another two-out double by the Phoenix in the top of the fourth inning extended the lead back to three runs. Freshman Tiffany Brogan (Shickshinny, Pa.) led off the bottom half of the fourth with a single and an infield miscue by Wilson led to a pair of Hazleton runners on base with just one out. Wilson retired the next batter and nearly escaped the frame unscathed, but junior Linsey Fisk (Millville, Pa.) had other plans in mind, tagging the Wilson hurler for a three-run home run with two outs, tying the game at 5-5. The score remained tied all the way up to the seventh inning when the trend of two-out hits by the Phoenix came back to haunt the Nittany Lions. With two away and a runner at first, the Nittany Lions issued three straight free passes to Wilson hitters, allowing the go-ahead run to cross the plate and giving Hazleton just three outs to match the score. Wilson's pitching proceeded to strike out the side, dashing Hazleton's hopes for a comeback victory and set up Hazleton for a potential two-game sweep.
The Lions matched Wilson College with 12 hits from eight different batters in the ball game, led by Flood who went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI in the loss. Fisk and Brogan also tallied multiple hits in the game with Brogan finishing 2-for-2 with a run scored while Fisk went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and 3 runs driven in on the fourth inning home run. Brogan got the start in the circle for Hazleton, tossing four innings and allowing five earned runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts.
Game Two - Penn State Hazleton 1, Wilson College 5 - Final, 7 Innings
After the disappointing finish to game one, Hazleton struggled to bounce back offensively in the second outing of the day. Hazleton went hitless in game two for five innings, watching Wilson slowly but steadily build up a five run advantage over that stretch of play. Pitching and defense was solid all game for the Nittany Lions although Wilson consistently looped in hits over the Hazleton infield to tally ten base knocks off Hattie Flood who pitched seven solid innings for the Lions. Wilson struck for a pair of runs in the first frame but then struggled to produce much offense off Flood. The Phoenix extended their advantage with single runs scored in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames, needing eight hits to plate the three runs over that three inning stretch. Although Hazleton was very much still in the game mathematically, the Lion bats went down in order for five straight innings to start off game two, making a comeback seemingly a long shot against the Phoenix pitching staff. A sixth inning single by freshman Erin Field (Lewisburg, Pa.) broke up the no-hitter but failed to spark any significant rally for Hazleton. The Lions picked up two more hits to lead off the final inning, tallying a run on a fielder's choice late in the action but Wilson was quite content to trade a single score for an out at that stage of the game and retired the next hitter to close out the day with a 5-1 win in game two.
Flood pitched well in defeat, tossing all seven innings for the Nittany Lions but six walks aided the Wilson squad's efforts and led to the multi-run lead. Flood finished the game allowing five earned runs on 10 hits with one strikeout in the loss. Offensively, Hazleton mustered just three hits off the bats of Field, Flood and sophomore Ashley Wilson (East Stroudsburg, Pa.). Linsey Fisk registered the Lion's lone RBI in game two, driving in Flood from third base on a one-out fielders choice ground ball in the seventh.
Next up: Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives to take away from Sunday's games and the Lions were able to see the field and live pitching heading into the conference schedule. Hazleton will kick off conference play on Tuesday afternoon against Penn State Brandywine, traveling to Aston, Pa. to square off with the defending PSUAC champions in a 3:00 p.m. double-header at the Maplezone Sports Complex.