MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – The Lions showed what kind of potential this year's team possesses when they took nationally ranked Christopher Newport to the limit on Thursday, Mar. 8, before falling by the slimmest of margins (8-7) to the number three team in the nation. Penn State Harrisburg bounced back the very next day and split a doubleheader with Arcadia in Myrtle Beach, SC. The blue and white took down the Knights 7-4 in game one before dropping an 11-0 decision in the night cap.
TJ Houseal (Maytown, PA/Donegal) did his job as the Lions' lead-off man by getting on base to start the first game. The senior center fielder drew a walk and proceeded to steal second base two pitches later. Sophomores Dalton Trolinger (Carlisle, PA/Cumberland Valley) and Colton Houseal (Maytown, PA/Donegal) connected with back-to-back singles, with Trolinger's scoring the eldest Houseal to put the first run of the contest on the board. Clean-up man Isaac Polinsky (Owigsburg, PA/Blue Mountain) laid down a picture perfect sacrifice bunt that moved the runners and Jeff Bell's (Kutztown, PA/Fleetwood Area) sac fly to right field extended the lead to 2-0.
Penn State Harrisburg added another run in the top of the third thanks to some smart base running by the oldest Houseal. The Donegal grad reached base on an error, stole his second bag of the afternoon, advanced to third on a wild pitch and plated on a balk by Arcadia pitcher Tyler Guentter (Hatfield, PA/North Penn).
Lions' pithcer Clint Hicks (State College, PA/State College) was solid on the mound in his third start of the year. The freshman allowed just two hits and one walk through the game's first three innings. He pitched 5.2 innings, surrendering eight hits, two runs and one walk to go along with his three strikeouts.
The Knights finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Kyle Jackson (West Berlin, NJ/Paul VI) and Mike McElhatton (Haddon Heights, NJ/Camden Catholic) laced back-to-back doubles. Arcadia got another run in the sixth when Taylor Schon's (Scotch Plains, NJ/Scotch-Plains Fanwood) single plated Patrick Kwiatkowski (Bensalem, PA/Archbishop Ryan).
The blue and white responded in the top of the seventh. After loading the bases, freshman John Cataldo (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove) and junior Dean Kanganis (Mechanicsburg, PA/Cumberland Valley) crossed the plate following another Guentter wild pitch. The Lions weren't done. With the bases full once again, freshman Daniel Samick (Frederick, MD/Frederick) drove a single back up the middle that scored TJ Houseal and Trolinger to make it 7-2.
The Knights put two more on the board in the bottom of the seventh but it was not enough as freshman reliever Cody Henry (Halifax, PA/Halifax) picked up the four-out save, his first of the young season.
Sloppy play and a lack of offense kept the Lions from picking up the clean sweep. Four Penn State Harrisburg errors led to 11 Arcadia runs in game two, only one of which was earned. The bats went cold as well as the blue and white could only muster one hit.
The win in game one improved Hicks to 3-0 on the year while TJ Houseal's three runs scored and two stolen bases improved his team-leading totals to ten and eight in those respective categories.
Penn State Harrisburg finished its Myrtle Beach spring break trip with a 2-4 record, bringing the team's overall record to 3-7. The Lions will now return to Middletown to prepare for their home opener against Penn College on Wednesday, Mar. 14.