By: Matylda Zamudio
MONACA, Pa. — The Penn State Beaver men's baseball team split the day against PSUAC rival Penn State Mont Alto in Saturday's home doubleheader.
The game started off scoreless until the second inning, when Mont Alto scored one run against the Lions in the second (1-0). The third reciprocated the outcome of inning one, with both teams unable to add a run to their side of the board (1-0). At the top of the fourth Mont Alto scored a second run after its batter reached first on a fielder's choice, which advanced its runner on third to home plate (2-0) while the Lions' batters remained quiet for the rest of the game, which resulted in Beaver taking a 2-0 loss in game one.
Justyn Francona (New Brighton) led the offense in game one, where he went 2 for 3 at bat.
Junior Scott Hughes (Aliquippa/Central Valley), who pitched a complete game, took the loss in game one. Hughes allowed eight runs and stuck out five of the 33 batters he faced.
While the latter portion of the doubleheader featured another low-scoring game, the outcome was much better for the Lions after a seventh-inning comeback gave them their first conference win of the season. On the first out of the first inning, Francona facilitated Beaver's scoring after he drove Romaniuk straight home to put Beaver first on the board 1-0. The next two innings were quiet for both teams, but Mont Alto took the lead away in the top of the fourth after its runners took two runs against the Lions (2-1). After two more scoreless innings, the Lion's fate would be determined in the seventh and final inning. The defense showed up big time in the top of the inning, which included Francona striking out Mont Alto's first two batters followed by Noah Rinker (Ellwood City/Lincoln) forcing a third out at third base to end the rival's turn. At the bottom of the seventh, freshman Christian James (Mechanicsburg/Cumberland Valley) bunted the ball and get to first and then advanced to second on a wild pitch, which also advanced freshman Johnny Rowland (Wellsboro) and prompted freshman Johnny Rowland (Wellsboro) to tie the game at 2-2. Beaver sealed the win after Francona hit the walk-off single for Beaver (3-2).
Francona led the offense in game two, where he went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs, followed by Romaniuk, who hit 1 for 2 and scored two runs in the game.
Francona (W, 3-0) was also at the mound for Beaver in game two and earned his third win this season. Francona pitched a complete game, only allowed six hits over seven innings and struck out nine of the 28 batters he faced.
After today's doubleheader, Beaver sits at an 8-8 record for the season and is 1-1 in the conference.
Beaver will now face Mont Alto on its home-field for Sunday's road game on Mar. 24. The game is slated for 3 p.m.