McKeesport, Pa. – After being snowed out on Saturday, the Penn State Greater Allegheny Baseball team (2-0, 0-0) kicks off their annual Myrtle Beach trip on Monday when they face Lackawanna (1-2, 0-0) at 3:30 p.m. The annual spring trip takes PSUGA to the Cal Ripken facility in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where they will play five games in five days as they prepare for what is to come in conference play.
PSUGA got a head start on their preparation with a strong performance on opening day picking up a doubleheader sweep of Westmoreland County CC on February 23rd. It showed their ability put up a lot of runs with a 16-0 win in game one as well as their ability to take over in a tight game with a 5-2 win in the second game of the day. Head coach Kenny Creehan liked what he saw from his team and hopes they will continue their success throughout the season.
One of the guys who impressed him the most was freshman Jordan Williams (McKeesport, PA./McKeesport HS). Williams started his collegiate career with a bang going a combined 6-6 with five RBI between the two games. His biggest performance of the day came in game one when he went 4-4 with five RBI and fell just a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Williams will look to be a big threat for PSUGA from the top of the lineup this season.
Another positive for PSUGA was their strong starting pitching with the two starters combining to throw nine shut out innings. Matt Smith (North Versailles, PA./East Allegheny) took the hill in game one and threw four shutout innings giving up just two hits and striking out three. Matt Givler (Coatesville, PA./Coatesville HS) followed up that performance with five shutout innings of his own giving up four hits and striking out seven.
While the two wins are a big way to start the season for PSUGA, there is still a long way to go with some tough non-conference competition in their sights over the next week. They will take on some tough NJCAA programs as well as a fellow Penn State University Athletic Conference foe.
They kick-off the week against Lackawanna, who enters play on Monday coming off two tough losses to Hartford Community College on Saturday. After dropping a heartbreaker 5-4 in game one, they got toppled 14-6 in the second game of the day. Ryan Cole led the way going 2-7 with one RBI in the doubleheader sweep.
In two previous match-ups with Lackawanna, PSUGA has gone 1-1 against the Falcons with both those games coming in Myrtle Beach. Last season, it was PSUGA who got the upper hand with a 4-3 walk-off win. Former PSUGA Lion Josh Arroyo came to the plate with a runner on second and two out and launched a walk-off double to the wall in left field giving PSUGA the 4-3 win.
Probable Starter: Matt Smith (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Matt Smith takes the hill for his second start of the season coming off of a strong performance in the team’s opener. He threw four shutout innings against Westmoreland County CC while giving up just two hits and striking out three. As the cornerstone of the PSUGA rotation, Smith looks to continue to be a leader for this team and get the Myrtle Beach trip started on the right foot.
First pitch for Monday’s game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the Cal Ripken experience in Myrtle Beach.