DuBOIS — The Penn State DuBois baseball team played its first official game at Showers Field Friday night since winning the USCAA national title on its home turf last May, and the Lions picked up right right where the left off.
DuBois rallied to beat Mercyhurst University-North East, 6-4, in the home opener before the the Saints responded with a 14-1, 5-inning victory in Game 2 on a chilly night in DuBois. That second game was a 2-1 contest in the Saints favor entering the fifth before Mercyhurst got to DuBois’ bullpen for 12 runs in the top of the fifth to end things early.
The doubleheader split put DuBois record at 5-5 on the season after the Lions went 4-4 on their trip south to Mrytle Beach, S.C., the first week of March. The opening-game loss was Mercyhurst-North East’s first of the season after going 7-0 on a trip to South Carolina themselves. The Saints are now 8-1.
The teams also split a doubleheader last year in DuBois’ home-opener.
Things weren’t looking good for a Lions victory in the opener as they trailed 3-0 after the top of the fourth and had managed mustered just one hit off Mercyhurst starter Jack Tumulty up to that point.
Conversely, the Saints had five hits through four innings, two of which were two-out home runs off DuBois starter Brandon Orsich. However, DuBois scored six times in its final three at-bats — two runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings — to get Orsich off the hook.
Adam Armstrong notched the win in relief, thanks in large part to a pair of clutch triples by Lions Clayton Butler and Joey DiPietro during the late-game rally. Armstrong allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings of work before Toner Corl, who started at shortstop, came took the mound with one out and two on in the seventh to earn the save.
“Merceyhurst NE is an extremely disciplined team,” said Penn State DuBois head coach Tom Calliari. “They were undefeated and our guys grinded at-bats and got the starter’s pitch count up so we could get to him later in the game.
“I thought the freshman Adam Armstrong did an outstanding job keeping the game manageable against a good team to give us a chance to comeback. Clayton Butler’s triple was huge for our comeback.”
Padraig O’Shaughnessy put the Saints on the board first when he belted a line-drive solo homer over the fence in center with two away in the top of the first. DuBois starter Brandon Orsich then retired nine of the next 11 batters he faced before the Saints put together a two-out rally in the fourth.
Nick Petrolla singled with two away before Robby Korff hammered a two-run shot to right-center to make it 3-0 Saints.
DuBois then started its comeback in the bottom of the fourth, and in the process got Orisch off the hook with a no-decision in his second start of the year.
Lion Zane Morgan led off the inning with a single to center and went first to third when Jesse Martin reached on an infield single that second baseman Peter Doula made a diving stop on in shallow left field.
Butler followed with a chopper to third that Morgan broke for home on. The Lion slid in head first on what appeared to be a close play at the plate. Saints catcher Korff thought he had the out, but the home plate umpire made no call as Morgan stood up.
As Korff checked on the runners, Morgan’s teammates yelled for him to step on the plate, which he did. That elicited a safe call from the umpire, who ruled Morgan avoided the tag with is initial slide but also missed touching home as he slid past it.
Martin scored two batters later when Brandon Gettig beat out an infield single of his won, pulling DuBois with a run at 3-2.
Mercyhurst threatened to score in the top of the fifth against reliever Thomas Plummer as Toula and Korey Shoupe drew walks around a strikeout. Calliari then went to lefty Armstrong to face O’Shaughnessy, who flew out to deep center field.
Toula tagged and went to third, but DuBois caught Shoupe too far off first on the relay in to the infield and got the Saint in a rundown. Toula, who had reached, third, headed for home, but Gettig tagged out Shoupe to end the rundown, and the inning, well before Toula had a chance to score.
DuBois went back to work in the bottom of the fifth as Vince McDowell and Martin each drew walks off Tumulty around a sac bunt by Morgan. The walk by Martin ended Tumulty’s day, with the Saints turning to lefty Brendan Hofacre to face Butler.
That move didn’t pay off for the Saints, as Butler ripped a two-run triple to right field to give DuBois its first lead at 4-3. Butler had three RBIs on the night.
Armstrong then tossed a 1-2-3 top of the sixth before the Lions added some key insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth against Hofacre.
Gettig jump-started the inning with a double down the first-base line past a diving O’Shaughnessy. Hofacre then struck out Thayne Morgan before Corle singled to right to plate Gettig.
DiPietro followed with a triple to the corner in right to score Corl to put the Lions up 6-3. Corl and Gettig each went 2-for-2 with a RBI and run scored.
Mercyhurst didn’t go quietly in the top of the seventh though.
Armstrong opened the inning with a strikeout, but Eric Fermier doubled to center while Toula blooped a single into right. That spelled the end for Armstrong, as Corle came in to close things out.
Things didn’t start well for the righty, as he hit Brandon Scheidemantle to load the bases with one out.
Shoupe followed with a hard grounder to the right side that Gettig made a diving stop on. The Lion was able to get a force out at second as Fermier scored to make it 6-4. Corle ended things there as he struck out O’Shaughnessy to end the game with runners on the corners.
Not counting the fall ball season, it was DuBois’ first win at Showers since beating The Apprentice School, 10-2, in the if-necessary national title game on May 17 of last year.
Calliari changed up his lineup in the night cap, and the Lions found themselves in another dog fight until Mercyhurst broke things open with a huge 12-run top of the fifth against a trio of DuBois relievers.
The Saints led 2-1 before their offensive explosion in what been a pitcher’s duel between Lion Austin Amacher and Saint Jacon Harsany.
Amacher was saddled with the loss despite allowing just two runs, one earned, on six hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. He struck out two and walked one.
Harsany was even better on the mound, as he have up one earned run on two hits in four innings to get the win. He struck out seven but did walk five. Alex Cardano struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth to finish off the win.
Trevor hanna and Isaac Stouffer has the lone hits in Game 2 for DuBois, while Jonathan Thomas knocked in the lone run.
The two teams play a doubleheader again today at Showers Field at 1 p.m.
“These games are about learning about each guy on our roster to give them an opportunity to prove themselves,” said Calliari. “We have two big ones (today) and player’s roles are starting to become more clear.
“It’s important for the team concept to give everyone an opportunity early to prove themselves and attain a role.”