MIDDLETOWN, Pa- In a game that saw a combined 23 runs scored, Penn State Harrisburg couldn't keep up with McDaniel's offensive firepower and fell to the Green Terror 15-8 on Friday, Mar. 23. The Lions fell behind the visitors in the top of the first inning but took the lead in the bottom of the stanza before relinquishing it for good in the top of the second.
McDaniel got on the board first when shortstop Marshall Betts' (Berlin, MD/Stephen Decatur) double drove-in Drew Phillips (Sherwood, MD/St. Michaels). The Terror followed it up with two more runs when Jimmy Najera (Fort Washington, MD/DeMatha) singled down the left field line, scoring Betts and James Chiorello (East Windsor, NJ/Lawrenceville Prep) and making it 3-0 early.
The Lions roared back during their first plate appearances of the afternoon. Back-to-back McDaniel errors helped score lead-off man Cody Henry (Halifax, PA/Halifax). Freshman Dan Samick (Frederick, MD/Frederick) singled and drove-in Dalton Trolinger (Carlisle, PA/Cumberland Valley) and Colton Houseal (Maytown, PA/Donegal) to tie the score at three. Catcher Matt Soden (Dover, NH/Dover) followed it up by singling and plating Jeff Bell (Kutztown, PA/Fleetwood Area) to give Penn State Harrisburg its only lead of the day. Freshman John Cataldo (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove) capped the big inning by driving-in Samick and giving his team a 5-3 advantage.
Unfortunately for the home team, that lead wouldn't last. Lions' ace Clint Hicks (State College, PA/State College) was hit in the side by a screaming line drive in the top of the second stanza and wasn't the same afterwards. The Terror took advantage of the blue and white's misfortune and put together a six-run inning, reclaiming the advantage 9-5. McDaniel got two more in the top of the third and it was evident that this game would have no shortage of offense.
Both teams' bats went quiet and an offensive lull ensued until the bottom of the fifth when Penn State Harrisburg picked up its sixth run of the contest. Freshman Isaac Polinsky (Orwigsburg, PA/Blue Mountain) led off the inning with a double and Samick singled to score him two batters later, cutting the deficit to a more manageable three runs. But the Lions squandered an ideal opportunity to draw even closer when they left the bases loaded to end the inning.
McDaniel ended its three-inning scoreless drought in the top of the seventh when a Najera sacrifice fly scored Chiorello. The Terror added another run when Joe Fiore's (Point Pleasant, NJ/Point Pleasant Beach) single plated catcher Chris Longo (Monroe, NY/Monroe Woodbury) and stretched it to 13-6.
The visitors weren't done.
The Terror picked up two more in the top of the eighth and put the game out of reach. The Lions scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth thanks to McDaniel's sloppy defense that resulted in three errors. But it was far from enough.
Soden and Trolinger each went 3-5 at the plate with Soden notching an RBI. Samick had a big day offensively, going 2-5 and driving-in a team-high three runs. Cataldo's lone RBI improved his team-leading total to 13 while Houseal's bunt single brought his Lion-best hit total to 19 on the year.
Hicks went just 1.1 innings and suffered his first loss of the season. He now sits at 3-1 on the spring. Mark Chimel (Middletown, PA/Middletown), Nick Stahl (Oxford, PA/Oxford) and John Robison (Harrisburg, PA/Susquehanna) all saw time on the mound in relief appearances. Robison looked strong in two innings of work as the senior allowed just one McDaniel hit.
The loss dropped Penn State Harrisburg to 4-14 on the year and extended its recent losing-streak to seven games.
The Lions will look to end their skid this weekend when they host an afternoon doubleheader with Penn State Altoona this Sunday, Mar. 25.