READING, Pa. – Gallaudet University won in thrilling fashion Friday afternoon as the Bison came back to beat Penn St.-Berks, 12-10, in a nine-inning North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) baseball game at Hintz Athletic Field. The Bison touched up Nittany Lion closer Kyle Hartman (3-3) for two runs in the ninth inning to break a 10-10 tie.
Gallaudet (20-10, 8-2 NEAC), winners of three straight and five of its last six, pick-up a critical win over Penn St.-Berks (10-12, 6-2 NEAC) as the teams play a three-game series this weekend.
Freshman Blake Phillips (Dalton, Ga.) led off the ninth with a single and advanced on a passed ball. Hartman, who came into the game in the bottom of the eighth and hit a batter and gave-up a two-run single to Justin Strong (Charlotte, N.C.), struck out the next two batters in the ninth with the game still knotted at 10. Senior JJ Klein (Cincinnati, Ohio) singled up the middle to move Phillips to third base. Senior center fielder William Bissell (Brewer, Maine) then singled to center field to score Phillips and send Klein to third. The Bison then pulled a double steal as Klein scored before Bissell was thrown out at second base to end the inning with GU up two, 12-10.
Phillips (2-2) closed out the game as he got two quick outs before giving up a double to Connor Corson (2-for-5, RBI). Ryan Tantala (1-for-6, RBI), the reigning NEAC Baseball Player of the Week, grounded out to first base to end the game. Phillips pitched two scoreless innings to earn his second win of the season.
Gallaudet starting pitcher Brandon Holsworth (Beal City, Mich.), the reigning NEAC Pitcher of the Week, matched his shortest outing of the season as he threw four innings and allowed seven runs (five earned) on six hits, five walks and struck out four. Senior Tyler Crace (Westfield, Ind.) came in to pitch the next three innings as he allowed two runs on four hits, walked five and struck out two.
The Bison scored four runs in the top of the fourth off Penn St.-Berks starting pitcher Steve Koenig but the Nittany Lions responded with three in the bottom half.
GU led 5-3 after two but then fell behind as Penn St.-Berks pushed across four runs in the fourth to take a 7-5 advantage. The Bison eventually tied the game at 7-7 in the top of the seventh but two runs in the bottom half gave the lead back to the Nittany Lions, 9-7. Gallaudet then plated three in the eighth before Penn St.-Berks tied the game at 10 in the bottom half to set the stage for the ninth inning.
Klein led the Bison going 4-for-6, three runs while Strong (3-for-3) and junior Mitchell Bensman (Russia, Ohio) drove in three runs each. Bissell finished 2-for-3, three runs, two RBI and one walk. Gallaudet had 19 hits in the game, the most since March 8 against Baptist Bible (Pa.).
Hartman paced the Nittany Lions at the plate as he finished 4-for-5, doubled, two runs and three RBI in the loss.
The two teams will play a doubleheader tomorrow (Saturday, April 19) starting at 1 p.m.