Chambersburg, Pa. - Following two days of cancelations, the Nittany Lions continued non-conference play on Sunday with a trip to Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa. The Hazleton offense has yet to find it's groove and over the weekend that trend continued as Hazleton fell in both ends of the double-header against the Phoenix by scores of 10-2 and 11-4, dropping the Hazleton record to 1-9 on the season.
Game 1: Penn State Hazleton 2, Wilson College 10 - Final
The Lions got off to a rocky start allowing two unearned runs in the bottom half of the first inning and quickly got out of hand in the second frame. Wilson led off the bottom half of the second with seven straight hits including three doubles to tack on five runs before the Lions recorded their first out. Hazleton sophomore Dominic Yannuzzi (Hazleton, Pa.) stopped the skid to retire the next three batters, but a sac fly by Grant Astle to center field capped a monster six run inning for Wilson who took a commanding 8-0 lead through two innings.
Hazleton would go hit-less through four innings and enter the fifth trailing 9-0 when a pair of free passes gave Hazleton it's first runners in scoring position. The Lions got runners at second and third courtesy of a Phoenix wild pitch and with two away, senior Charles Karchner (West Hazleton, Pa.) broke up the no-hitter and the shut-out, striking a two RBI single to right field scoring freshmen Rafael Santos (Hazleton, Pa.) and Joan Vasquez (Hazleton, Pa.).
Karchner's knock was a positive sign although Hazleton would be held to just three hits in the 10-2 loss. Sophomore Colin Stauffer (Hazleton, Pa.) collected the Lions third and final base hit, a lead off triple to centerfield, but Wilson squashed the sixth inning rally. With runners at the corners, Wilson turned a sac fly into a double play with the assist by the right field to throw Stauffer out at the plate. On the mound, Dom Yannuzzi was hit with the loss for the Lions, surrendering seven earned runs on eight hits, seven of which came in the lopsided second frame. Freshman Nicholas Vital tossed three innings of relief work, giving up one run on three hits.
Game 2: Penn State Hazleton 4, Wilson College 11 - Final
Hazleton gained some momentum as game two began, converting a costly error by the Phoenix into a quick 2-0 lead. Once more, Karchner was in the mix, leading off the game with a single, reaching third on a wild pitch and a stolen base. Yanuzzi reached safely and following a swipe of second, both baserunners crossed the plate on a miscue by the second baseman to go on top.
Hazleton's lead would be short-lived however as the Lions returned the favor in the bottom half of the inning. Back to back hits to start the frame put Wilson on the board and back to back errors in the Lion infield plated the tying run and extended the inning. After leading off the inning with three straight hits, Wilson scored their final four runs of the inning without a base knock, taking a 5-2 advantage into the second inning.
The Lion went scoreless in their next two at-bats and in the process see the Phoenix take advantage of some shaky pitching to build a nine run cushion. Wilson collected three hits in the second frame to plate to extend their lead to 7-2 over Hazleton and tacked on four runs in the bottom of the third to blow the game open. Hazleton allowed just one hit in the third inning but issued four free passes and and three wild pitches to contribute to the Phoenix cause.
Colin Stauffer added two runs to the Hazleton side of the board in the coming innings but the Lions could only dent the nine run deficit they faced. Stauffer doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and knocked in Karchner with an RBI single in the fifth to cap the Lions scoring. Karchner and Stauffer combined for four of Hazleton's six hits in the game but Wilson struck out 14 Lion hitters to keep Hazleton at arms length through completion of the game.
Next up: Hazleton looks to bounce back after a difficult non-conference schedule and change their fortunes as the begin Penn State University Athletic Conference play. Hazleton will kick off the conference season with a make-up game on Tuesday, March 25 taking on Penn State Wilkes-Barre in a nine inning game at Hilldale Park in Plains, Pa. beginning at 1:00 p.m.