MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - Penn State Harrisburg put on a show at the plate in the team's doubleheader sweep of Baptist Bible on Wednesday, Mar. 28. The Lions downed the Defenders 6-1 in the first game before scoring a season-high 15 runs in a stellar outing in the afternoon's final contest. Freshman pitcher Hunter Rowe (Halifax, PA/Halifax) picked up his second win of the year in game number one while senior Mark Chimel (Middletown, PA/Middletown) got the victory in the second matchup.
The blue and white found themselves behind early in the opener when Baptist Bible's Dan Reed (Acton, ME/Sanford) scored on a wild pitch in the top of the third inning.
The Lions answered back and tied things up at one in the bottom of the stanza when sophomore left fielder Dalton Trolinger (Carlisle, PA/Cumberland Valley) scored thanks to Jeff Bell's (Kutztown, PA/Fleetwood Area) sacrifice fly.
Penn State Harrisburg broke the game open in the fifth. Senior center fielder TJ Houseal (Maytown, PA/Donegal) walked to lead off the inning and Trolinger moved him along with a single. Sophomore right fielder Colton Houseal (Maytown, PA/Donegal) scored them both with a double. Designated hitter Isaac Polinsky (Orwigsburg, PA/Blue Mountain) followed it up with a single that plated Houseal and gave his team a 4-1 advantage.
The Lions picked up two insurance runs in the sixth. A single by junior second baseman Dean Kanganis (Mechanicsburg, PA/Cumberland Valley) scored freshman catcher Matt Soden (Dover, NH/Dover) and Colton Houseal picked up his third RBI of the game when his sacrifice fly brought in Kanganis.
Rowe was stellar on the mound. The frosh gave up just five hits, three walks and surrendered no earned runs. He also struck out four batters in his six innings of work. Senior closer John Robison (Harrisburg, PA/Susquehanna) was strong in the seventh. In a non-save situation, the Harrisburg native worked a 1-2-3 inning and recorded two strikeouts to seal the win for the home team.
The blue and white stayed hot in the second game and jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first stanza. TJ Houseal singled and worked his way to third thanks to a stolen base and wild pitch. Freshman outfielder Cody Henry (Halifax, PA/Halifax) walked and Trolinger scored Houseal with an RBI single. Henry scored on an error and freshman third baseman Dan Samick (Frederick, MD/Frederick) plated Trolinger when he singled a few batters later. Sophomore first baseman Cole Nye (Newmanstown, PA/Eastern Lebanon) kept things rolling when he drove-in Samick with a single of his own.
The Defenders got on the board in the top of the second but the Lions answered right back in the bottom half of the inning when Henry's single drove in TJ Houseal and sophomore second baseman Matt Ebersole (Elizabethtown, PA/Lower Dauphin) to make it 6-1.
Penn State Harrisburg got another run in the third but really blew things open when the hosts picked up three more in the fourth. Samick laced a double that scored Trolinger and Nye picked up two more RBIs when his single plated Samick and freshman catcher Branden Rutt (Ephrata, PA/Ephrata).
Baptist Bible showed some life in the top of the fifth when the Defenders picked up four runs and cut the deficit to 10-5.
But when the visitors couldn't add to their total in the sixth, the Lions slammed the door shut on any comeback effort by scoring five more runs in their final at-bats. Freshman left fielder Mike Woolfenden (York, PA/West York), Samick, Rutt, freshman shortstop John Cataldo (Pine Grove, PA/Pine Grove) and Ebersole crossed the plate in the bottom half of the inning. Nye, Cataldo, TJ Houseal and Henry all notched RBIs.
TJ Houseal went 3-5 from the plate and scored two runs while Henry was 2-3 with a run scored and three RBIs. Nye went 2-4 and racked up a game-high four RBIs. Samick went 3-4 with two RBIs and four runs scored.
Chimel went five innings on the mound and gave up six hits and four earned runs to go along with his four strikeouts. Junior reliever Derek Ward (Dallas, GA/East Paulding) and Samick pitched an inning apiece with neither man surrendering a run and the latter giving up just one hit.
The pair of impressive victories halted the Lions' recent losing-streak and improved their overall record to 6-16 on the year.
Penn State Harrisburg is next in action this Sunday, Apr. 1. The Lions travel to SUNYIT for their North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) opener.