Penn College, Penn State Berks to Play for NEAC Championship Sunday

Penn College, Penn State Berks to Play for NEAC Championship Sunday

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Teams battled through a steady drizzle on Saturday at Bucknell University’s Depew Field to complete game four and five, leaving Penn College and Penn State Berks to play for the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship Sunday morning.  

Game 4: Penn State Berks 9, Penn State Abington 8 (11 innings)

Boxscore / Recap (Courtesy of Penn State Berks)

Game four began Friday evening with Penn State Abington scoring two runs in the first before Penn State Berks put runs on the board in the third and the fifth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Penn State Abington tied the game in the bottom of the sixth before the game was halted due to darkness. Play resumed Saturday morning with Penn State Berks quickly adding three runs in the top of the seventh. Abington got a run back in the bottom half of the inning but Berks responded with another one in the eighth to make it a 7-4 game.

That score would hold until the bottom of the ninth when Abington rallied for three runs to send the game to extra innings. After a scoreless 10th, Berks senior Troy Salerno (Pottstown, Pa.) led off the 11th with a triple into the right field corner before coming home on a sacrifice fly by Cory Fox (Boyertown, Pa.). Berks added another run on an RBI single by Zach Reis (Womelsdorf, Pa.) to take a 9-7 lead.

Abington came within one in the bottom half of the inning on a two-out RBI single by Stevie Stevenson (Westampton, N.J.) but left two men aboard when Brett Guaglionona (Abington, Pa.) struck out looking to end the ballgame.

Stevenson and Christopher Hartman (Philadelphia, Pa.) each drove home two RBIs, while Dante Milillo (Philadelphia, Pa.) went 3-for-5 for Abington.

Berks sophomore Dalton Hughes (Boyertown, Pa.) went 3-for-6 with two runs scored amidst a balanced offense that had five players with an RBI in the win.

Tyler Comport (Boyertown, Pa.) went six innings on Friday, allowing one earned run and six walks with three strikeouts for Berks before the game was halted. Mitch Renninger (Boyertown, Pa.) pitched the last five innings to earn the win with four earned runs on seven hits while striking out three.

Cesar Loya (Philadelphia, Pa.) got the start for Abington, allowing one earned run and six hits through the first six innings on Friday. Greg Mugnier (Abington, Pa.) tossed two innings of relief on Saturday while Nick Hopely (Croydon, Pa.) allowed two runs on five hits in three innings in the loss.

Game 5: Penn College 10, Penn State Abington 9

Boxscore / Recap (Courtesy of Penn College)

Penn State Abington struck first on an RBI single by Austin Mikula (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the bottom of the first, but an Abington error led to four unearned runs for Penn College in the top of the second to give the Wildcats a 4-1 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Abington turned the tables and took advantage of miscues by the Wildcats to score twice and get within a run. Penn College responded with a run in the top of the fourth before the Nittany Lions tied it up at 5-5  with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.

The Wildcats used a five-run fifth inning to take a commanding lead in the elimination game. Abington scored one in the sixth to make it 10-6, which would hold until the bottom of the ninth. Showing resiliency throughout the tournament, the Nittany Lions loaded the bases before a balk forced a run home and bring Abington within three. With two on and one out, Julio Aria (Miami, Fla.) sent a two-run single to center to make it a one-run ballgame. Despite continued pressure from the Nittany Lions, Devon Sanders (Bloomsburg, Pa.) was able to settle down and get the last two outs to secure Penn College’s spot in the championship game.

Aria led the Nittany Lions with three RBIs, while Mikula and Hartman added three hits apiece. NEAC Rookie of the Year Ben Flicker (Topton, Pa.) led the Wildcats with three RBIs. Noah Esposito (Williamsport, Pa.) also had a nice afternoon for Penn College, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Pedro Aldebol (Camden, N.J.) surrendered three earned runs on seven hits and suffered the loss for Penn State Abington. Ryan Albertson (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Greg Mugnier (Abington, Pa.) also appeared in relief for the Nittany Lions.

Kyle Fox (Fleetwood, Pa.) got the nod for Penn College, allowing three earned runs and five hits in the no-decision. Andrew Gilbert (Yardley, Pa.) held Abington to one unearned run and four hits in 4.1 innings of work to earn the win. Sanders earned the save with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief.

With the loss, Penn State Abington closes out its season with a 16-23 overall record. Penn College and Penn State Berks will meet on Sunday for the NEAC Championship with first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m. If Penn College wins game six, the two teams will play a game 7 at approximately 1 p.m. to determine the conference champion. 

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf).  The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s and women’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.