By: Matylda Zamudio
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. — In its first game back from spring training, the Penn State Beaver men's baseball team took down the Community College of Allegheny County, South Campus on Tuesday afternoon, after a 3-0 performance and white-hot pitching by junior Scott Hughes (Aliquippa/Central Valley) propelled the team to a 5-2 win for the day.
Hughes (W, 2-1) was on fire at the mound today: He pitched a complete game and recorded a season-high 14 strikeouts while giving up just seven hits in nine innings.
Leading the offense was Freshman Trey Luffy (Baldwin) who went 2 for 3 with 1 RBIs followed by Freshman Jacob Beck (Beaver), who was 2 for 4. Junior Justyn Francona (New Brighton) also had a notable performance with 2 RBIs.
The game went scoreless in first three innings, but Beaver let CCAC South land on the board first in the bottom of the fourth, after a runner scored with two outs. Still down 1-0, Beaver turned it on in the top sixth. With two outs and bases loaded, Beaver made it a tie game, after freshman Christian James (Mechanicsburg/Cumberland Valley) reached first on a walk, which got freshman Noah Rinker (Ellwood City/Lincoln) to second, junior Shelton Hilliard (Baden/Ambridge) to third, and freshman Jacob Beck (Beaver) made it straight to home plate (1-1). Luffy then singled in Hilliard for a second Beaver run and its first lead of the game (2-1).
CCAC South answered back in the bottom of the inning, scoring one run of its own to tie the game at 2-2. But Beaver came out swinging in the top of the eighth. Freshman Johnny Rowland (Wellsboro) bunted a sacrifice hit to CCAC South's pitcher to put Rinker on second followed by James, who was next at-bat, reaching on a walk. Luffy then also walked on his turn at-bat, loaded the bases for Beaver. Francona then doubled in James scored and Rinker to give Beaver back the lead at 4-2. The Lions caught the fiery offense going as Hughes singled in T. Luffy to tack on another run for Beaver before switching field positions (5-2). Hughes sealed the deal for Beaver in the bottom of the final two innings, as he struck out three-straight CCAC South batters in the eight as well as two in the ninth, allowing Beaver to hold on to its 5-2 lead and take home the road win.
After today's win against CCAC South, Beaver sits at a 3-5 record for the season.
Beaver will play its first home of the season against Kent State Tuscarawas in a doubleheader on Tuesday, Mar. 14. Game one is at 2 p.m. and game two is at 4 p.m.