The IUP baseball team took on No. 8 Mercyhurst over the weekend in a home-and-home doubleheader series, with the Crimson Hawks earning a victory in the series’ final game.
With the weather washing out Friday’s scheduled competition, the teams had an extra day to prepare for Saturday’s doubleheader at Dougherty Field.
Game one displayed prolific pitching from starter Colin Claus (senior, health/physical education).
Claus pitched 6.2 innings, racking up seven strikeouts while allowing only four hits and three earned runs. Unfortunately, those three Mercyhurst runs combined with IUP’s inability to score themselves put a damper on Claus’ stellar day on the mound.
“I attribute the outing to being committed to the game plan,” Claus said regarding his outing Saturday. “I’ve faced some of those players before, and Ty Diehl and I were on the same page, resulting in a good day on the hill.”
The Lakers’ runs began in the third inning, when third baseman Jack Elliott doubled to right to bring home Domenic DeRenzo and Josh Surowiec. Mercyhurst picked up insurance runs in the final inning, when DeRenzo singled to bring home Dom Cecere.
Mercyhurst’s starting pitcher Christian Young went six innings and struck out eight Crimson Hawks, while Lucas Folmar shut the door to complete the combined shutout. That left the final score for game one 3-0 in favor of the Lakers.
Game two witnessed a Crimson Hawk rally late.
IUP jumped in front early in the first inning to a 1-0 lead after Markus Cestra (freshman, business management) singled to right, driving Chris Eisel (junior, pre-physical therapy) home.
However, Mercyhurst came right back as Matthew Gibson launched a solo home run to left field to bring the contest back to a stalemate.
After a few quick innings, the Lakers tallied two runs in the fourth from Domenic DeRenzo and Zach Mitchell. The Crimson Hawks posted one more run in the fifth but were denied the opportunity for a comeback.
The final score for game two: 3-2.
Head coach Anthony Rebyanski felt really pleased with Claus and Jeff Allen (senior, criminology), who started game two, despite the losses.
“With those two guys, it’s a blessing,” Rebyanski said. “They have a great mental approach, and either one of them could be considered an ace.”
Sunday brought not only a new week to the year, but also a new Crimson Hawks team as they were able to upset the Lakers in Erie in game two after dropping game one.
Cestra lead off the game with a home run, putting the Crimson Hawks ahead.
However, the Lakers went on a scoring streak as they posted five unanswered runs in the first inning. They would add on to their lead in the second, third and fourth innings. IUP showed signs of life as Chris Eisel launched a two-run home run to trim the deficit to seven.
The final two innings resulted in no runs for either team, leaving the final at 10-3 Mercyhurst.
Brian Albert (senior, criminology) was charged with the loss after giving up six earned runs in two innings of work.
Game two started with an Eisel home run, his second of the day. What followed was truly unrelentless.
IUP capitalized on Mercyhurst’s pitching and drove in six more runs in the first inning. Leaving Tyler Adams (junior, criminology), Mike Klingensmith (graduate, exercise science) and Nick Kuhn (redshirt sophomore, psychology) to get them through the rest of the game.
Adams would pick up the win after going two innings and Klingensmith with the hold after four innings.
Klingensmith said the game “was a great team win.”
“We will use this momentum going into next week and hopefully this feeling can lead to more wins,” he said.
IUP now sits with an 8-19 record and will face Lock Haven for a non-conference matchup at Dougherty Field Tuesday.