McKeesport, PA. – With Penn State University Athletic Conference play right around the corner, the Penn State Greater Allegheny Baseball team (5-2, 0-0) will face one of their toughest competitors of the season when they face Grove City (7-5, 1-1) on Friday at 1 p.m. After having won each of their last two games in come from behind fashion, PSUGA is looking to keep the momentum going with three non-conference games left before conference play kicks off.
Their most recent come from behind win came last Friday when they wrapped up their Myrtle Beach trip with a 10-5 win over Nassau Community College. It was the first time in the team’s first seven games that PSUGA did not score first in the game when they gave up five runs in the bottom of the 2nd to fall behind 5-0. PSUGA responded right back with two runs in the top of the third before taking the lead the very next inning.
Dylan Ernst (McKeesport, PA./McKeesport HS) hit a two RBI double to make it a one run game before Zack Craven (McKeesport, PA./McKeesport HS) dropped a single into center tying things at five. PSUGA took advantage of a Nassau mistake to take the lead as Diego Marzan (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico/Leadership Christian Academy) hit a fly ball to right that was dropped to allow two runs to score and give PSUGA a 7-5 lead. PSUGA closed out the game with two runs in the top of the 7th and secured a winning record in Myrtle Beach.
Ernst led the charge in the comeback going 2-4 with two RBI while also scoring two runs. He led the middle of the order which combined to go 5-14 with six RBI helping to bring home more then half of the PSUGA offense on the day. The bullpen shutdown Nassau CC on the back end with Matt Givler (Coatesville, PA./Coatesville HS) and Matt Smith (North Versailles, PA./East Allegheny) combining to throw the final 5.2 innings of shut out ball giving up just four hits and striking out four on the day.
With the win, PSUGA secured their best spring trip in program history finishing 3-2 over the five games played. The offense played a big part in that success and has combined to hit .314 over the team’s first seven games while averaging just under nine runs a game in the early going.
Grove City is coming off of their Presidents’ Athletic Conference opener on Tuesday when they split a doubleheader with Bethany losing 8-3 before coming back with a 6-5 win. After falling behind 5-3 after seven, Grove City put up three runs in the top of the eighth and were able to hold on for the win. Shane Hammel led the way for the Wolverines going a combined 6-8 with an RBI.
Friday will be the first matchup between these two teams as PSUGA will be looking to make it’s mark against a division III powerhouse before they kick off conference play next week at PSU-Fayette.
Probable Starter: Matt Smith (3-0, 1.15 ERA)
Matt Smith has been off to an electric start over his first four games of his junior season. He was named the PSUAC Pitcher of the Week after appearing in three games, one start, last week going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA while picking up a save in Myrtle Beach. His last outing was in relief on Friday against Nassau CC where he pitched three shutout innings picking up his first save of the season.
Frist pitch for Friday’s game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Pullman Park in Butler, PA. There will be a live stream of the game available on our YouTube page, which you can access by clicking here.