GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Heading into its game with Penn State Harrisburg on Monday afternoon, Apr. 14, Gettysburg had won 21-straight baseball games. The Bullets' impressive streak earned them votes in d3baseball.com's latest top 25 poll. The Blue & White? Well, they simply didn't care. The visiting Lions put on their best offensive show of the season and took the nation's 29th-ranked program to the absolute limit before narrowly falling 17-14.
Sophomore Bryan Balshy (Palmyra, Pa. / Palmyra Area) came to life in a big way and went 3-5 from the plate with a three-run bomb, a double and a game-high five RBIs. Senior Travis Crammer (Cerritos, Calif. / Cerritos) was also strong as he went 2-4 with a double and four RBIs.
Penn State Harrisburg exploded out of the gate and scored seven runs before the Bullets knew what hit them. The Lions posted three in the first and four in the second. In the opening stanza, a Colton Houseal (Maytown, Pa. / Donegal) single through the left side to score Crammer, a Balshy groundout to second base plated freshman Eric Hoover (Hershey, Pa. / Hershey) and fellow frosh Tom Denniston (Harrisburg, Pa. / Bishop McDevitt) singled to center field, driving in Houseal in the process.
The home team responded with one run in the bottom of the first but the Lions picked up right where they left off in the top of the second. After freshman Logan Hall (Sunbury, Pa. / Shikellamy) reached base and advanced to second on an error and stole third, Crammer singled to left to bring him in. Following a Hoover single, Balshy ripped a 1-0 fastball over the fence in left center and upped the Lions' advantage to 7-1 heading into the third frame.
Three Blue & White errors led to two more Gettysburg runs in the second but the visitors answered back with another run in the top of the fourth. Hall led off the inning with a bunt single to third base before stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error. Crammer notched his second RBI of the afternoon by lining out to left field and plating Hall.
The Bullets' offense finally game to life in the bottom of the fifth when they used six hits, including two doubles, to put six runs on the board and claim their first lead of the outing at 9-8.
After Gettysburg added to its advantage with four more runs in the bottom of the sixth, Penn State Harrisburg got back in the scoring act in the top of the seventh inning. Balshy drove in his fifth run of the day when his single through the left side scored Hoover. Denniston's fielder's choice was good enough to bring home Houseal and cut the deficit to 13-10.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the Bullets increased their advantage to 17-10 thanks to a frame that included a two-run homer. The Lions refused to go quietly, however, and made a late push in the top of the ninth. Balshy led off with a double to left center before advancing to third base on a wild pitch. Sophomore Garrett McCutcheon (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin) walked and junior Jim Quinn (Thornton, Pa. / Garnet Valley) drove them both in with a double of his own. After junior John Cataldo (Pine Grove, Pa. / Pine Grove) walked, Crammer laced the third double of the inning and drove in Cataldo to bring the Lions to within three runs.
That was as close as the Blue & White would get but in defeat the Lions showed a great deal of heart and resolve that had been missing for the better part of the spring. Against one of the best teams in the country, Penn State Harrisburg never backed down and made the Bullets work extremely hard to escape with a victory and keep their recent hot-streak going.
Hoover was 3-4 with three runs scored while Hall, Crammer, Houseal and Balshy all crossed the plate twice. Denniston and Quinn finished the day with two RBIs apiece.
After a fine outing against Gettysburg on Monday afternoon, the Lions will look to parlay that momentum into a victory in their next outing on Wednesday afternoon, Apr. 16 when they host Albright in another single game non-conference matchup. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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