Photo by John Diffenderfer
Palmyra , Pa. - The Blue and White men's baseball team finally got to host a home baseball game Saturday March 15th against the Southern Virginia Knights. It took a move to In the Net Sports Complex in Palmyra to find a field in a playable condition, but the men were eager to be back outside after going 2-5 this past week in Myrtle Beach.
Harrisburg started the first game by scoring two runs in the first inning to take a 2-1 lead early on thanks to a Brian Balshy (Palmyra, Pa/ Palmyra) single that drove in two. Starting pitcher Clint Hicks (State College, Pa. / State College) gave an impressive performance over the next five innings holding the Knights to just two earned runs. Unfortunately as he exited in the sixth with bases loaded, things went sour for the Lions.
SVU scored seven runs in the top of the sixth, to take their first lead of the game 7-3. John Cataldo (Pine Grove, Pa. / Pine Grove) responded immediately in the bottom of the inning with a deep shot over the Black Monster in left field for his first home run of his collegiate career.
Despite the team putting together 17 total hits, Cataldo's homer and Balshy doubling; team errors on the defensive side proved too costly as the Lions allowed six unearned runs in the 8-4 loss.
The Blue and White hoped to regroup in game two, but instead started out sluggish as if the memory of their recent loss was still on their minds. After allowing two runs in the second and third inning to go down four, a two shot homer in the top of the fifth put the Knights up six.
At this point, most teams would have just thrown in the towel, but the Lions put together a four run inning in the bottom of the sixth to get within two runs down 6-4.
Unfortunately the momentum was short lived as SVU responded back immediately, helped again by the Lions mistakes. The Knights broke away in the final three innings and even with Harrisburg working hard at each at bat, they could not find any real rhythm to put a dent in the lead. Logan Hall (Sunbury, Pa, Shikellamy) did go 2-3 and scored three runs. While Colton Houseal (Maytown, Pa. / Donegal) gave the Blue and White faithful a real treat when he hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, also over the Black Monster in left.
The Lions suffered another two losses today, but still have a lot of time to find their way. Last season they also started slow before a 16 game win streak led them toward an eventual NEAC championship.
Hopefully the men can get a win streak going Sunday March 16th, when they host Muhlenberg College at In the Nets Sports Complex in Palmyra. The single game starts at 2:00 p.m.