CRESSON, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg baseball split a pair of non-conference doubleheader contests with Mt. Aloysius on Tuesday afternoon, March 23. The Lions did enough to secure a 3-1 victory in the first outing before a wave of late-game scoring allowed the Mounties to spoil the potential sweep with a 15-4 win in the nightcap.
Starting pitcher Austin Kunkel impressed in the opener, striking out six batters and allowing just one hit and a pair of walks in five innings of work en route to earning his first win of the season.
Penn State Harrisburg got on the board first when a wild pitch allowed Ben Closson to come across in the top of the second after sparking started with a two-out single to right field. The Blue & White created some breathing room when a Chase Smith single drove in Matt Parks in the top of the fifth frame. Ryan McSorley tacked on another run before the end of the stanza with a single to left center that plated Smith.
Mt. Aloysius broke its scoring drought after a double and single two batters later brought a run across in the bottom of the sixth. The home team threatened again in the final frame but reliever Tyler Jackson was able to work out of trouble and earn the save when he stranded a pair of runners in the bottom of the seventh.
Miscues and unearned runs turned a potential two-game sweep into Penn State Harrisburg's first loss of the young season, with a tie game in the seventh inning being blown open by the Mounties during their final two at-bats.
Mt. Aloysius used three hits, along with a Blue & White error and balk to score four runs take the lead in the bottom of the seventh before turning three hits, four walks, a passed ball, a wild pitch, and an error into seven more runs in the in the bottom of the eighth to put things out of reach.
Bret Williams got the game's scoring started by driving in Julian Belardo in the top of the third but the home team responded with three runs across the next two innings. Williams got Penn State Harrisburg's 3-run fifth inning started with an RBI single that plated Chase Smith and Matt Parks and a Ben Closson single brought Williams home two at-bats later.
In the bottom of the fifth, a lead-off hit-by-pitch put the tying run on first for the Mounties and a 1-out sacrifice fly following a double was enough to tie things up heading into the contest's second half.
- Austin Kunkel's game-one victory was the fourth of his career.
- Tyler Jackson's save in the opener was the sixth of his career.
- Ryan McSorley was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the first outing.
- Williams and Closson each drove in a pair of runs on the day.
- Williams and Smith each swiped two bases on the day.
- Williams walked three times in the opener, including once intentionally.
- Penn State Harrisburg pitching was tagged for five doubles across both games.
- Miscues allowed Mt. Aloysius to plate six unearned runs in the nightcap.
- The Lions did not manage an extra-base hit in either game.
The Lions are set to open conference play when they compete in their first North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) game in eight years. They head to Penn College for a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, March 27. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.