ERIE, Pa. – The No.3 Penn State Behrend baseball team swept Hilbert 4-1 and 9-8 on Saturday afternoon to advance to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) semifinals.
The Lions (21-14) scored early in both games to help pull-off the sweep over the Hawks (11-24) in the first round of the AMCC playoffs.
In game one of the doubleheader, senior pitcher Jack Herzing (St. Mary's, PA/Elk County Catholic) threw heat from the mound to shut the door on Hilbert. In his three-hit complete game, he sat down 13 batters while only giving up one walk.
As for the offense, Braden Paulinellie (DuBois, PA/DuBois) got the Lions on the board in the first. After Scott Sada (Saegertown, PA/Saegertown) singled up the middle, he stole second and third to put him in a good scoring position. Paulinellie then stepped up and hit a single to second base that sent Sada in for a 1-0 lead.
In the third, Mason McGuire (Pittsburgh, PA/Upper St. Clair) helped the Lions extend the lead with a lead-off triple to right field. Sada knocked him in with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Then, David Boehme (Venetia, PA/Seton-La Salle) roped a solo-shot to left to make it 3-0 after three.
Hilbert scored its lone run in the top of the fourth.
Boehme, Paulinellie, and Stevanus all went 1-for-2 with an RBI from the plate.
In game two, the Hawks erased a 9-1 deficit to make it a one run game.
Behrend scored a pair of runs in the second inning, then recorded seven runs in the third to hold a commanding lead over Hilbert.
In the third, after McGuire scored from a wild pitch, Boehme laced a double to center that sent Sada in for another run. Later in the inning, Ben Ramey (Export, PA/Franklin Regional) doubled to left center that scored two runners. In his second at-bat of the inning, Sada hit a double to left field to score Paulinellie from second, notching the seventh run of the inning and making the score 9-1.
The Hawks nipped at the lead the next five innings. They scored one run in the third and fourth, three in the fifth, two in the sixth, and finished with one in the seventh.
In the sixth, Connor Duck tripled to left center that scored two Hawks.
Just as Hilbert was gaining momentum, freshman Ryan Weaver (North Huntingdon, PA/Norwin) stepped on the mound and shattered their hopes. In the final 2.2 innings, Weaver kept Hilbert hitless, while also fanning three, to post his first career save on the bump.
Ramey and Boehme hit 2-for-3 in game two, while McGuire and Sada each batted 2-for-4.
Behrend plays No. 2 Pitt-Greensburg Thursday at 1 p.m. at host location La Roche College to start the championship round of the double elimination AMCC tournament.