Myrtle Beach, S.C. - The Penn State Harrisburg men's baseball team started conference play on Saturday March 8th in the first leg of a baseball filled spring break. The Lions kept things close in the second nine innings against the Mary Washington Eagles; but gave up too many runs in the first nine and had to settle with a 0-2 start in Capital Athletic Conference play.
Harrisburg has been fighting through the rough winter and has been forced to travel south for any games so far this season. As they traveled to play against Mary Washington, it was already built up to be a difficult contest, add in the fact the men have only been outside twice and things looked even more difficult. The Lions started off the first game with Clint Hicks (State College, Pa. / State College) on the mound for his second start of the season. He got through the first inning with no real trouble, but in the bottom of the second, the Eagle's used four hits and an error to take an early 4-0 lead.
The Lions responded well in the top of the fifth when Tom Denniston (Harrisburg, Pa. / Bishop McDevitt) and Troy Taber (Park Ridge, N.J. / Park Ridge) both used SAC flies to bring in runners. This brought the game within three runs down 5-2. Unfortunately, Mary Washington answered in the bottom of both the fifth and sixth innings with two consecutive four run innings.
Freshman Alex Repa (Harrisburg, Pa. / Bishop McDevitt) came in for the final three innings on the mound and held the Eagle's at bay, but the damage was already done. Despite the Blue and White not giving up any runs in the final three innings and scoring one run in both the 7th and 9th innings, the Lions had to settle with a 13-4 loss in the first game.
In the second leg of the double header, Harrisburg was able to solidify their defense and kept things much tighter throughout. Will Chaney (Lancaster, Pa. / Lampeter-Strasburg) through a solid seven innings and allowed four runs before handing over the reins to Nate Packer (Waymart, Pa. / Western Wayne).
The game was much closer from the defensive side, but unfortunately Harrisburg was not able to get their bats going as a team. Freshman centerfielder Tom Denniston (Harrisburg, Pa. / Bishop McDevitt) did make his presence known in the second game, getting two hits and a walk. The Lions were not able to grab their first CAC victory of the year, but did keep things close in the second nine innings losing a tight battle 5-1.
They should be able to keep playing outside baseball as they take their Spring break trip to Myrtle Beach next week for four days of nothing baseball and nice weather.