Erie, PA - The La Roche baseball team (21-8, 7-1) split a double-header with Penn State Behrend (20-8, 11-1) on Thursday, losing the first game 3-0 and winning the second 6-3. The Redhawks handed the conference leading Lions their first loss in AMCC play and are now 4 games back of first.
James Connelly took the mound for the Redhawks in game one and had another strong outing. Connelly (4-1) threw 4.2 innings, giving up 1 run (0 ER) on 3 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts, but was tagged for his first loss of the season.
Led by Ryan Jacobs, who was coming off an impressive perfect game in his last outing, the Lions' pitching staff stymied the Redhawks' offense to 4 hits and 0 runs over 7 innings. Sean Lubin, Brian Tougher, Dan Burns, and Matt Sabatini recorded hits in the loss.
The Redhawks' bats came alive in the second game, which was a back and forth affair in the opening frames. La Roche took an early lead in the first inning after a bunt single by Lubin and single to right field by Tougher that put runners at first and third. Burns brought the run home on an RBI groundout to first to take a 1-0 lead. Penn State Behrend answered in the bottom of the 2nd after a leadoff single and sac bunt allowed the Lions to tie the game at 1-1 with a two-out RBI single to right. La Roche did not take long to regain the lead. Shane Healey singled to left field in the top of the 3rd and advanced into scoring position after a sac bunt by Lubin. Tougher picked up a two-out RBI of his own with a single down the right field line to take a 2-1 lead. The Lions roared back after a walk and back-to-back hits plated 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Tyler Craig tied things up in the 4th inning with a two-out RBI single to left field that plated Anthony Girdano.
The game remained tied until Colin Williamson blasted a home run to left field in the top of the 6th to put La Roche ahead for good at 4-3. The rally was just getting started, as two-out walks to Sabatini and Craig put runners in scoring position for Brian Herb, who increased the Redhawks' lead to 6-3 with a 2 RBI knock to right field.
Tyler Ferguson (6-2) was dominant in game two, tossing a complete game to record the win. Ferguson threw 7 innings, allowing 3 runs (3 ER) on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 11 strikeouts.
Colin Williamson paced the Redhawks in game two, going 2-3 with a home run. Shane Healey (2-4, R) and Brian Tougher (2-4, RBI) also recorded multiple hits in the win. Tyler Craig was 1-2 with a run and RBI, while Brian Herb was 1-1 with 2 RBI.
La Roche returns to action at home on Saturday in an AMCC double-header against the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. The Panthers (9-11, 5-3) are currently riding a 3-game win streak. The Redhawks swept Pitt-Bradford last season, winning regular season games 4-2 and 9-2, and in the quarterfinals of the AMCC tournament 12-5. First pitch is set for 1:00 PM at John Arnold Sr. Memorial Field.