Clarion Baseball: Golden Eagles Close Season Series with IUP, Earn Road Split

INDIANA, Pa. – The Golden Eagle baseball team finished their season series with IUP on Friday afternoon, splitting a pair of road games with the Crimson Hawks at Dougherty Field.

Clarion routed IUP by a 13-4 score in the first game and very nearly completed an epic comeback in the second, falling by a 9-8 score after erasing an 8-0 deficit.

Game 1: Clarion 13, IUP 4

RECAP: The Golden Eagle offense scored early and scored often in the first game of the day, putting up at least one run in six of the seven innings and scoring three or more runs in three different frames. The offensive outburst saw Clarion post 13 runs on 12 hits while also taking advantage of four IUP errors.

The action kicked off in the top of the first inning when the first three Golden Eagles reached base, including back-to-back singles from Kasey Shughart and Scotty McManamon. Shughart scored on a wild pitch by starter Jake Black and Daren Byers followed with an opposite-field RBI single, scoring McManamon by driving a ball through the left side of the infield. Mason Kepler concluded the scoring with a sacrifice fly to deep center field, allowing Snyder to tag up from third and score.

Byers and Kepler added onto the total in the top of the third inning, striking back-to-back RBI singles to make it 5-1, and Lenny Piccini hit a one-out RBI single through the left side to score Byers and give his team a five-run lead. That ended up being all the cushion needed for the Golden Eagle pitching staff as Isaac Schleich and Bobby Curry made the lead hold up. Schleich earned his first win of the season, allowing three runs in five innings while striking out four Crimson Hawks. Curry allowed one run in two innings of relief action.

Still, the Golden Eagles were not quite content to leave things as they were. Contant smashed an RBI double to deep right-center to score Griffin Snyder in the fourth inning, making it 7-1, and Byers made it a 9-3 lead in the sixth inning with his second run batted in, pulling a double down the right field line. Shughart notched his second hit of the day in the sixth inning, hitting a two-run single to score Tyson Gill and Will Martinez, and Snyder scored on a ground ball double play with the bases loaded to make it 13-4.

Snyder finished 3-for-4 at the plate with four runs scored, while Byers went 3-for-3 with two runs, three RBIs and two walks.

Game 2: IUP 9, Clarion 8

RECAP: The second game was nothing short of a rollercoaster of emotions. The Crimson Hawks exploded to an 8-0 lead in the first three innings and appeared to have complete control of the action, but the Golden Eagles chipped away slowly but surely at hole and came within an eyelash of taking the lead themselves.

IUP put up a five-spot in the first inning, including back-to-back RBI doubles from David Kessler and Davin Landers and capped by a run-scoring single from Peyton Johnson. Brady Yard smacked a two-run double in the second inning to make it 7-0, and Robert Carfagno scored on an error in the third inning to make it 8-0.

The Golden Eagles started their comeback effort in the top of the fourth inning. Contant reached on an error to lead off the inning, and Byers brought him home with a triple to deep right field to put Clarion’s first run on the scoreboard. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Piccini, making it 8-2. Things began to really get serious in the top of the fifth, when Contant struck an RBI single to right field to score McManamon, and Will Martinez lashed a two-out, two-run single to right field to bring Contant and Snyder across.

That cut the deficit to 8-5, and all the while the Clarion bullpen was putting up a string of zeroes on the scoreboard. Nolan Just, Danny Fox and Curry combined for 3.1 innings of one-run relief in total, including three scoreless innings from the fourth through the sixth innings. In the top of the sixth, Clarion loaded the bases with no outs after Tyler Meachum and Shughart led off with hits and McManamon drew a walk. Snyder scored Meachum with a ground ball double play and Contant smacked a double to the gap in left-center to pull his team within a run. Byers came up big in another run-producing situation, pulling an RBI single to score Contant and even the game at 8-8.

Clarion put a runner on third in the top of the seventh inning but could not bring him across, and IUP was able to take advantage. The Crimson Hawks loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning, leading to a walk-off balk that allowed Johnson to score from third base.

Snyder took the hard-luck loss, allowing just Johnson’s run despite not giving up a single hit in his inning of relief. Byers drove in another run as part of a 2-for-3 second game, while Contant went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Shughart added two more hits, raising his season batting average to .390.

Copyright © 2024 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.

Comments are temporarily closed. A new and improved comments section will be added soon.