Not even a week removed from being swept by the California (Pa.) Vulcans, the IUP baseball team hit the field this past weekend for its second PSAC series against the UPJ Mountain Cats, with the Crimson Hawks taking the victory in the series’ final game.
All four games were played in Johnstown due to inclement weather. UPJ had home-field advantage Friday, while IUP would act as the home team Saturday.
Friday did not go in favor for the Crimson Hawks, as the Mountain Cats pounced early, putting up five runs in the first three innings of play. However, IUP collected its only two runs of the game after capitalizing on UPJ’s three errors.
That would be IUP’s only successful inning, dropping the series’ first game 5-2.
Luke Hollander (junior, marketing) collected a pair of hits while crossing home plate once in the first game.
The Friday matinee featured a more competitive contest as both teams took a 3-3 tie into the bottom of the fifth.
Jeff Allen (senior, criminology), IUP’s best pitcher so far this season, struck out seven Mountain Cats through six innings, and Ben Teplin (sophomore, business) went a perfect 3-for-3 in the hitting column.
What hindered a Crimson Hawk comeback was the amount of times that runners were left on base in scoring position.
This occurred twice in game two, which prevented four runs from scoring and a win.
UPJ capitalized on IUP in the sixth inning as Scott Thompson hit a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, leading to a 4-3 victory for UPJ.
As the Mountain Cats took Friday’s series, the Crimson Hawks sought retribution on Saturday. IUP acted as the home team at Johnstown’s historic Point Stadium.
In game three, UPJ started strong and gained a 2-1 lead through five innings played. Matt Swartz (redshirt senior, business administration) continued his dominance in the hitting column, as he went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in the seventh frame.
IUP ultimately came up short as UPJ tallied two runs in the seventh to put them over the Crimson Hawks 6-4.
The Crimson Hawks looked like a completely different team in the final game at Johnstown, taking a 3-2 win against the Mountain Cats.
After IUP loaded the bases in the seventh inning, catcher Austin Mueller (sophomore, business) delivered a go-ahead three-run double to put the Crimson Hawks ahead. Prior to this at-bat, IUP trailed 2-0 throughout the game.
Mueller finished the game with 2-4 at the plate, three RBIs and two walks.
Tyler Adams (junior, criminology) did not give up a single run through five innings of work. Additionally, he struck out eight batters, a season high, while only allowing five hits.
Mike Klingensmith (graduate, exercise science) came in for the final two frames to seal the victory for the Crimson Hawks, giving them their first conference win of the season.
“It’s good to end the series with a win,” Klingensmith said. “We need to build off that coming into next weekend and play relaxed, ‘non-pressure’ baseball like I know this team can.”
The Crimson Hawks also participated in a scrimmage Monday, which was unscored, at Altoona’s Peoples Natural Gas Field against members of the Altoona Curve, Pittsburgh’s minor league affiliate at the AA level. Curve manager Michael Ryan is an Indiana native, and the scrimmage finally went on this year after being postponed in the two years prior.
Next up for IUP is a pair of games Tuesday against the Walsh Cavaliers at Dougherty Field.
IUP will enter the home doubleheader with a 7-14 record overall, a 1-7 record in the PSAC.
The Cavaliers will enter the game with an 11-12 record while riding a four-game winning streak. One game that was part of this streak was their 24-1 victory against Ohio Valley last Friday.
IUP looks to ride the wave of momentum and not only end Walsh’s winning streak, but also start their own before jumping back into conference play.