By: Matylda Zamudio
MONACA, Pa. — The Penn State Beaver men's baseball team racked up two wins on its home field against Butler County Community College in Tuesday's doubleheader.
In game one, BCCC landed on the board first after scoring two runs in the top of the first (2-0). But the Lions immediately evened the score with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning, the last of which came after junior Justyn Francona (New Brighton) advanced to third on a wild pitch, which propelled freshman Christian James (Mechanicsburg/Cumberland Valley) to score and tie the game at 2-2. Beaver's defense stepped up big time in the next three innings and managed to force out BCCC's first three batters in each inning, while the offense put up one run per inning to put Beaver up 5-2 to wrap the fourth. BCCC then got the Lion's lead down to two runs in the fifth, while Beaver went scoreless (5-3).
Tension started to rise in the top of the sixth when BCCC tied the game after two of its runners made to home plate (5-5). At the bottom of the sixth, sophomore Stefan Romaniuk (Alpha/Notre Dame) hit a sacrifice fly to center field, which moved freshman Johnny Rowland (Wellsboro) to second base and freshman Trey Luffy (Baldwin) to third base followed by James making it to first on a walk. Freshman Jacob Beck (Beaver), who was next at-bat, also walked to advance Luffy home (6-5) followed by Rowland scoring on a Francona walk (7-5). Beaver's offense stayed hot as Hughes also hit a sacrifice fly to center field, advancing Francona to second, Beck to third, and allowed James to score Beaver's third run of the inning (8-5). With two outs, the Lions' offense wasn't done yet, as Redding reached first base on an error by BCCC's centerfielder, driving Francona and Beck to home base and ended the inning with a 10-5 advantage. After collecting its first out, BCCC got its bases loaded and on the next play, the batter flew out to Romaniuk with a second out but advanced its runner to score (10-6). With a BCCC runner on first base, the next batter reached first on a fielder's choice, but Beaver then sealed the victory when James throw the ball to Hughes to force the third out (10-6).
Freshman Noah Rinker (Ellwood City/Lincoln) picked up his first win on the mound today (W, 1-4). Rinker pitched a complete game and gave up 11 hits in seven innings. He also tallied up four strikeouts from the 35 batters he faced.
Junior Scott Hughes (Aliquippa/Central Valley) led the offense in game one, where he went 2 for 3 and had 2 RBIs followed by Francona, who went 1 for 2 with 2 RBIs.
Beaver got off to a good start in game two. In his first appearance on the mound this season, Rowland struck out three BCCC batters in the top of the first, halting BCCC from scoring. Then in the bottom of the inning, Beck drove in Romaniuk to get the Lions on the board first (1-0). The second and third went scoreless for both teams, but BCCC got itself on the board in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 1-1. But the bottom of the fourth, four Beaver batters combined for five runs to thrust the Lions ahead by five (6-1) followed by the defense holding BCCC to zero runs at the top of the fifth. The Lions then took their turn at-bat and added on five runs on the strength of a 2 RBI double by Romaniuk and a 2 RBI single by James.
James led the offense in game two, where he went 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs, followed by Romaniuk, who hit 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs.
Rowland (W, 1-0) pitched a complete game and only allowing six hits in five innings and struck out six of the 22 batters he faced, earning his first win of the season.
After today's wins against BCCC, Beaver sits at a 7-7 record for the season. Beaver will be back in action for Friday's road game against Penn State Mont Alto on Mar. 22. The game is slated for 2 p.m.