Myrtle Beach, SC - Despite getting runners into scoring position multiple times on Tuesday night, Mar. 5, Penn State Harrisburg failed to score runs until the team's final at bats. Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Lions fought hard and put up two runs late. Unfortunately it proved too little too late and the Blue & White dropped a 4-2 decision to Eastern in Myrtle Beach.
Lions Pitcher Derek Slagle (York Haven, Pa. / Red Land) got his first start of the season in today's match up against the Eagles. He started off strong only giving up two hits in the first three innings. Unfortunately in the top of the fourth an Eastern Home run over the left center field wall gave them a 2-0 lead.
Harrisburg kept up in the hitting column throughout the game. Colton Houseal (Maytown, Pa. / Donegal) started in the first inning with a solid double to right field. Houseal connected again in the fourth and Clayton Thrasher's single gave the lions two base runners. Unfortunately, in what became the trend of the game for Harrisburg, both runners were left on base to close the inning.
It remained a defensive battle up until the eighth inning. Eastern took advantage of their first batter reaching on Harrisburg's only error and two hits later had another two runs to add to their total. Harrisburg again matched the hit count in the eighth, with two hits that again did not amount to any runs.
Being down 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth, the Lions showed promise as they did not give up and put themselves in a position to make the dramatic last inning comeback. Brian Balshy (Palmyra, Pa. / Palmyra) started the inning off with a single, TJ Richartz (Lancaster, Pa. / Penn Manor) was walked, and Daniel Samick (Frederick, Md. / Frederick) took one for the team to get the bases loaded with no outs.
John Cataldo (Pine Grove, Pa. / Pine Grove) popped out to the catcher with the bases loaded for the first out, but Ross Baker (Hummelstown, Pa. /Lower Dauphin) earned an RBI with a deep fly ball sacrifice to right field to get the Lions on the board. With two men on and two outs Branden Rutt (Ephrata, Pa. / Ephrata), hoping for his third hit of the day, grounded out to third for the final out, leaving Harrisburg with a 4-2 loss.
The real trend of the night was the fact Harrisburg left nine men on base. Defensively we had only one error and the combination of pitching from Slagle and today's closer Ryan Pilgermayer (Pennsburg, Pa. / Quakertown) was solid. The team hit fairly well, just could not time them right to score enough runs for the win. Harrisburg is now 2-4 and has their final Spring Break game against Wilkes Wednesday morning.