READING, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg baseball remained undefeated in North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play thanks to a pair of dominant victories over Penn State Berks on Tuesday afternoon, March 30. The Lions left no doubt in a 21-6 game-one win before putting the finishing touches on the doubleheader sweep with a 13-5 decision in the second contest of the twin bill.
Penn State Harrisburg's offense got off to a slow start before erupting for 11 runs in the fourth inning and nine more in the fifth en route to a 15-run victory over Penn State Berks in the doubleheader opener. Casey Winters was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, while Chase Smith, Matt Parks, and Dallas Hite also registered three hits apiece.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the top of the fourth, the visitors quickly erased the early deficit behind 10 hits, including doubles from Winters and Parks, a walk, and and three Penn State Altoona errors. Smith, Winters, Parks, Hite, Bret Williams, Ben Closson, and Tyler Aug all drove in runs during the stanza. By the time the half inning was through, the Blue & White led 12-3.
After the home team got one back in the bottom of the fourth, Penn State Harrisburg answered right back with nine more runs on six hits, including a Robbie Skinner double, and five walks, ballooning the lead to 21-5 midway through the fifth.
Reliever Kevin Maiolo made quick work of Penn State Berks in the bottom of the fifth and sixth stanzas, facing six batters and retiring them all. He racked up three strikeouts and effectively ended any chance of a late rally for the home team.
Bret Williams hit two home runs, Chase Smith went 4-for-4 at the dish, and Penn State Harrisburg got a quality start from Hunter Merritt in completing the doubleheader sweep of Penn State Berks thanks to a 13-5 victory in the nightcap.
Williams' final two at-bats of the day were memorable ones that each resulted in homers – the first a 2-run shot and the second of the solo variety. With those two blasts, Williams reached the 50-home run mark for his career.
Smith got the scoring started in the top of the first when he stole home after leading off the game with a double and advancing to third base on a balk. The visitors broke the game open in the top of the third when they turned four hits and a Penn State Berks error into five more runs. Matt Isaac capped the half-inning's scoring with a bases-loaded double that plated Dallas Hite, Ben Closson, and Casey Winters.
The Blue & White tacked on another run in both the fourth and fifth frames, with Smith having a hand in both of them. Williams hit a 2-run shot in the seventh, Drew Bechtold and Matt Isaac scored on wild pitches in the eighth, and Williams put an exclamation point on the visitors' run total with a solo shot in the top of the ninth.
- Thanks to his pair of home runs in game two, Bret Williams became just the 16th player in Division III history to hit 50 career home runs.
- Chase Smith had a tremendous afternoon, going 7-for-8 at the plate across both games with a triple, three doubles, six runs scored, and three RBI. He added a stolen base for good measure.
- Casey Winters went 3-for-3 with a double, three RBI, three runs scored, and a pair of walks in the opener. He added another double in game two.
- Matt Parks was 3-for-5 in the first game with a double, three runs scored, and two RBI.
- Robbie Skinner finished 2-for-4 with a double, four runs scored, and three RBI in game one.
- Dallas Hite was 3-for-6 with two runs, a pair of RBI, and a stolen base in the first contest before finishing 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored in game two.
- Austin Kunkel picked up his second win of the season on the mound, throwing four innings and striking out seven in the opener.
- Hunter Merritt earned his first victory of the spring after getting the start in the second outing. He allowed just three hits and one run to go along with three strikeouts in five innings of work.
- As a group, the Lions had 11 extra-base hits in the nightcap, including two home runs, a triple, and eight doubles.
- Matt Isaac went 2-for-4 at the dish in game two with a pair of doubles, three RBI, and a run scored.
The Lions will look to keep rolling when they host Wells for another conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, April 3.