MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg pitcher Derek Slagle (York Haven, Pa. / Red Land) made history on Tuesday afternoon, Apr. 16 when he became the first player in school-history to throw a perfect game. The freshman gave up no runs, no hits and the Lions committed no errors en route to a 3-0 shutout victory over Penn College in the first game of a doubleheader.
Slagle entered the top of the seventh inning needing just three outs to achieve one of the rarest feats in all of sports. He took care of the first batter by fielding a Wildcat bunt and throwing the runner out at first base. He got the second batter to fly out to centerfield before snagging a hard hit ground ball laced back up the middle and throwing out the last batter.
Harrisburg followed up the historic win by topping Penn College again, this time 4-3 in the finale when sophomore right fielder Cody Henry (Halifax, Pa. / Halifax) gunned down the potential game-tying run in James Simasek at the plate to record the game's final out.
All three of the Lions' runs in the opener came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freshman Bryan Balshy (Palmyra, Pa. / Palmyra) walked to lead off the stanza and junior Ross Baker (Hummelstown, Pa. / Lower Dauphin) followed it up by lacing a double to right field. Henry doubled to left center and drove in both runners to give the home team a 2-0 advantage. The Blue & White added to its lead when Henry scored from third thanks an RBI groundout from freshman Garrett McCutcheon (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin).
Slagle handled the rest. The Lions' starter faced 21 batters and threw just 70 pitches, 51 of which were strikes. No Penn State Harrisburg pitcher had ever thrown a no-hitter before, let alone a perfect game. The Red Land grad is now the lone member of a very exclusive club.
"I feel good," said Slagle following his incredible feat. "When you feel good you pitch good. We went out there and got the job done."
Game number two didn't provide any history but it did provide some thrills. Harrisburg jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when sophomore Branden Rutt (Ephrata, Pa. / Ephrata) turned on a Wildcat pitch and launched a two-run home run over the right field fence. Rutt's bomb plated junior Colton Houseal (Maytown, Pa. / Donegal) and gave the home team an early advantage.
The Lions added another run in the bottom of the second when junior Dalton Trolinger (Carlisle, Pa. / Cumberland Valley) singled to right field. The Penn College outfielder was the victim of a bad hop that allowed the ball to roll by him all the way to the fence. Freshman Clay Thrasher (Hummelstown, Pa. / Lower Dauphin) scored from first base on the play.
Balshy picked up his team-leading 36th RBI of the season in the bottom of the third when he singled to center field and drove in Rutt to make it 4-0 Penn State Harrisburg.
Penn College got its first hit of the day in the top of the fourth. The Wildcats turned it into a run thanks to two more singles in the stanza, cutting the deficit to 4-1. The visitors followed it up with another run in the top of the sixth but Trolinger limited the damage when he threw out Travis Hendershot at home plate from center field to end the inning.
The Wildcats threatened again in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded and two away, Penn College's Zachary Weil singled to right field, plating Cody Buterbaugh from third. On the same play, Simasek was waved home from second base.
Henry made the throw. Rutt made the tag. Penn State Harrisburg got the win.
Rutt was 1-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Houseal was 2-3 and scored a run. Sophomore Hunter Rowe (Halifax, Pa. / Halifax) got the win on the mound, throwing four innings and giving up three hits and one run. Sophomore Tom Chaney (Lancaster, Pa. / Lampeter-Strasburg) got the save.
The pair of victories improved Penn State Harrisburg to 21-9 on the year. The team's win-total is already a program-record with seven games left to play and the Lions are currently riding a school-record 14-game win-streak.
Penn State Harrisburg is making some serious noise in 2013. If you didn't know, now you know.