By: Matylda Zamudio
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – The Penn State Beaver men's baseball team split the day against PSUAC rival Penn State New Kensington in Saturday's road doubleheader.
The Lions were off to a good start after they pulled ahead 4-1 after putting up two runs apiece in the first two innings against New Kensington. But Beaver was quiet in the next two innings, which allowed New Kensington to take the lead away with a 5-4 advantage at the end of the fourth. After a quiet fifth and sixth inning for both teams, it all came down to the seventh, but things looked grime as Beaver collect two outs without putting up a run. Then, junior Justyn Francona (New Brighton) went up to bat, singled to the pitcher and stole second base to keep Beaver's hope alive. Freshman Jacob Beck (Beaver) then tripled to right field, sending Francona home to tie the game at 5-5. However, Penn State New Kensington didn't let the game go for another inning after earning one more run and handing the Lions a 6-5 loss in game one.
Francona led the offense for Beaver in game one after he racked up 3 RBIs and went 2 for 4 followed by junior Shelton Hilliard (Baden/Ambridge), who went 2 for 4 at bat.
Freshman Noah Rinker (Ellwood City/Lincoln) took the loss for Beaver in game one (L, 1-5) after he pitched a complete game, allowed 11 hits and struck out five of the 36 batters he faced.
The Lions came back with conviction and won game two 15-9.
While New Kensington struck first and landed on the board in the bottom of the first, the teams kept it close until a two-run inning in the top of the fifth, which started with junior Scott Hughes (Aliquippa/Central Valley) hitting a home-run to bring the score to 5-3, pushed Beaver ahead by three (6-3). Beaver then played its best inning of the game in the top of the sixth with Beck, Hillard and freshman Trey Luffy (Baldwin) batting-in a combined five runs to take an 11-4 lead. But New Kensington wasn't going down without a fight as the rivals mirrored Beaver's performance in the top of inning by putting up five runs of its own to cut the Lions' lead to two runs (11-9). But Beaver didn't fold and kept the offense attacking going with four runs in the top of the seventh. The Lions then sealed the deal after freshman Johnny Rowland (Wellsboro) struck out New Kensington's first batter followed by the next batter grounding out to Rowland, who then threw Hughes at second, who then get it to Beck at first, which forced the final two outs and gave the Lions a 15-9 win in game two.
Beck led the way for the Lions in game two, where he earned 5 RBIs and hit 2 for 4 at bat followed by Hughes, who went 4 for 4 with 1 RBI.
Freshman Kyle Redding (Gettysburg) was on the mound for game two and picked up the win after leaving Beaver with the lead. Redding, who pitched the first 5.0 innings, allowed seven hits and struck out one of the 26 batters he faced and was relieved by Rowland, who faced the final 11 batters in the final 2.0 innings he pitched.
After today's doubleheader against, Beaver sits at a 9-14 record for the season and is 2-7 in the conference.
Beaver will now face Penn State Greater Allegheny on the road on April 30. The game is slated for 3 p.m.