WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg baseball opened North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play with a pair of convincing victories over Penn College on Saturday afternoon, March 27. The Lions jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 14-7 win in the opener and followed it up by blowing open a close game in the sixth inning of a 12-2 victory in the second contest of the twin bill.
Penn State Harrisburg (5-1, 2-0 NEAC) racked up 11 hits, including four doubles, and took advantage of a pair of Penn College errors in a 14-7 win in game one. Bret Williams and Matt Parks drove in three runs apiece, while Chase Smith and Maddux Ryan added two RBI each.
Ryan got the scoring started in the top of the first with an RBI single that plated Parks and Ben Closson and Casey Winters followed it up with a 2-out single to center field that brought Ryan across. The Wildcats (0-1, 0-1 NEAC) got one back in the bottom of the frame but a bases-loaded walk by Parks scored Robbie Skinner in the top of the second and pushed the advantage back to three runs.
The Lions created some breathing room when third-inning RBI doubles from Smith and Parks stretched the visitors' lead to 8-1. Penn College responded, however, when Shane Price hit a grand slam in the bottom of the stanza and kept the Wildcats within striking distance after three innings.
The momentum swung back in favor of the Blue & White in the fourth when Ryan plated an unearned run and a Skinner sacrifice fly brought Winters across. They kept things going in the fifth when a Ryan sac fly scored Williams to make it 11-5 before Williams broke the game wide open in the top of the sixth with a bases-clearing double to right field that drove in three more runs.
Penn College tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh but any real comeback bid proved far too little too late.
The Lions used a monster sixth inning to blow open a close game en route to 12-2 victory in the nightcap that secured the sweep of Penn College and improved them to 2-0 in conference play. Starting pitcher Zach Gettys went six innings and earned his first win of the young season, while designated hitter Matt Isaac impressed at the plate, going 4-for-4 with three RBI.
Each team plated a run in the opening frame, with Ben Closson's sac fly scoring Chase Smith in the top half before a passed ball allowed the Wildcats' Jake Wagner to come across and tie things up in the bottom of the stanza.
Penn State Harrisburg reclaimed the lead in the top of the second when an Isaac sacrifice fly to right field plated Casey Winters. Chase Smith followed it up with RBI single to left field that drove in Dallas Hite for good measure.
Gettys retired Penn College in order in both the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, and the Blue & White bats roared to life in the top of the sixth to the tune of nine runs on four hits, four walks, and a pair of hit by pitches. The crooked number put things out of reach for the home team and allowed relievers Brad Richards and Chris Brindle to make quick work of the Wildcats in the final three frames.
- Penn State Harrisburg racked up 21 total hits across two games on Saturday.
- Matt Parks was a combined 5-for-7 with a pair of doubles, five RBI, and two walks.
- In two games, Bret Williams drove in four runs and scored three more to go along with a double and four walks.
- Chase Smith finished a combined 3-for-6 with a double, four RBI, four runs scored, and three walks.
- The Lions were disciplined at the plate as evidenced by their combined 19 walks on the day.
- With his game-two victory, starter Zach Gettys is now third all-time in career wins with 11. He struck out 10 batters in the nightcap.
- Starting pitcher Drew Harshbarger improved to 2-0 on the season after picking up the victory in game one.
- As a group, Blue & White pitchers struck out 22 batters across both contests.
- Saturday's opener was Penn State Harrisburg's first official NEAC outing since winning the NEAC Championship in May of 2013.
The Lions continue conference play when they travel to Penn State Berks for another NEAC doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon, March 30.