MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Penn State Harrisburg picked up its first win during its 2014 Myrtle Beach spring break trip in thrilling fashion thanks to the team's come-from-behind effort against Mt. St. Mary's (N.Y.) on Tuesday afternoon, Mar. 11. The Lions fell behind early before blazing the comeback trail and besting the Knights 6-5 in walk off fashion. Unfortunately the Blue & White struggled to keep the momentum rolling and dropped game two of the doubleheader 10-4.
Freshman Troy Taber (Park Ridge, N.J. / Park Ridge) turned in a strong outing on the mound in the second start of his collegiate career, picking up the complete game victory and allowing just two earned runs on seven hits while striking out three Mt. St. Mary's (N.Y.) batters.
The Knights jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Vinnie Carminati hit a solo home run to right center field in the top of the first inning. Mt. St. Mary's (N.Y.) added to its advantage by scoring three more in the top of the third, aided by a Penn State Harrisburg error.
Trailing 4-0 entering the bottom half of the stanza, the Lions cut the deficit in half. Junior John Cataldo (Pine Grove, Pa. / Pine Grove) reached base after being hit by a pitch. He advanced to second thanks to a balk and took third on a groundout by junior Jim Murphy (Drexel Hill, Pa. / Monsignor Bonner). Freshman Tom Denniston (Harrisburg, Pa. / Bishop McDevitt) drove in Cataldo by singling up the middle and took second base on a wild pitch moments later. Senior Travis Crammer (Cerritos, Calif. / Cerritos) followed it up with a single of his own, scoring Denniston in the process.
Taber settled in nicely and worked a 1-2-3 top of the fourth inning and kept the Knights off the board in the fifth and sixth stanzas.
Junior Jim Quinn (Thornton, Pa. / Garnet Valley) got the Blue & White offense rolling again in the bottom of the sixth when he homered down the left field line to draw the Lions to within one. Sophomore Eric Hoover (Hershey, Pa. / Hershey) kept things rolling by doubling to right center field one batter later and senior Colton Houseal (Maytown, Pa. / Donegal) moved him to third with a sacrifice fly. Sophomore Bryan Balshy (Palmyra, Pa. / Palmyra Area) blooped a single to right field, driving in Hoover and tying the game at four-apiece.
The Knights took advantage of a Blue & White error and scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh. But with another Mt. St. Mary's runner in scoring position, Cataldo made a tough play at third base to end the threat and the inning and keep the Lions within striking distance.
Freshman Logan Hall (Sunbury, Pa. / Shikellamy) worked a walk to lead off the bottom of the seventh and Murphy's bunt moved him along to second base. When the Knights' third baseman made an errant throw into centerfield on the play, Hall's aggressive base running paid off when he advanced to third due to the Mt. St. Mary's (N.Y.) mistake. Denniston walked to load the bases and Crammer singled to center field and drove in Hall to even the score at 5-5. Two batters later, Hoover hit a ground ball to the Knights' second baseman but he made no attempt to throw as Murphy was already crossing the plate and sealing the Lions' first victory in the state of South Carolina.
Hoover went 3-4 with an RBI and run scored while Crammer was 2-4 with two RBIs. Denniston was 1-3 with a run scored and a walk in addition to driving in a run. Hall went 1-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
The second contest again saw Mt. St. Mary's (N.Y.) jump out to an early lead when the Knights put up two runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Penn State Harrisburg cut into the deficit in the top of the second when Hall singled to left field, stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Knights' catcher. Freshman Tyler Smink (Harleysville, Pa. / North Penn) plated him thanks to a single to shallow left field.
Mt. St. Mary's (N.Y.) added another run in the home half of the stanza and got three more in the bottom of the third.
The Lions fought back when Denniston led off the top of the fifth with a walk and followed it up by swiping second base. A Cataldo groundout moved him to third and Crammer's RBI groundout scored him and drew the Blue & White to within four runs at 6-2.
Unfortunately, the Knights added two more runs in the bottom of the frame, increasing their advantage to 8-2.
Penn State Harrisburg answered back when Balshy singled to shallow right the top of the sixth stanza. The high point of the contest came next when sophomore Garrett McCutcheon (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin) turned on a first pitch fastball and cranked a home run over the left field wall. His two-RBI moonshot drew the Lions to within 8-4 but that's as far as they would come the rest of the way.
McCutcheon was 1-1 with the blast and two RBIs. Hall went 1-3 with a run scored while Balshy went 1-1 at the plate with a run scored.
In his first start of the year, sophomore Derek Slagle (York Haven, Pa. / Red Land) took the mound for Penn State Harrisburg and went three innings, giving up seven hits and five earned runs. Freshman Cody Dakin (Newport, N.C. / West Carteret ) went two innings on the bump, giving up one earned run on one hit and three walks while fellow freshman Josh Young (Greencastle, Pa. / Greencastle Antrim) pitched the sixth inning and allowed two runs on one hit.
Penn State Harrisburg finishes up its spring break outing in Myrtle Beach tomorrow when the Lions face Albertus Magnus in doubleheader action. First pitch is slated for 10 a.m.