By Andrew Hunter
Knightly News Sports Reporter
The Central Penn College Knights hosted the College of Southern Maryland Hawks on Wednesday afternoon at FNB Field and dropped both games, 5-4 in Game 1 and 15-4 in Game 2.
The Knights led for the majority of both contests, but some difficult calls against the team led to a heartbreaking defeat in Game 1, and one long inning in Game 2 that proved to be the difference.
The Knights started fast with four early runs in the first inning, led by Alex Lilja, who had had a clutch RBI double, driving in two runs. Colby Criswell also added an RBI fielder’s choice in the first.
Unfortunately for the Knights, these would be the game’s only runs, as the team struggled to produce any offense the rest of the way, stranding seven total runners on base.
On the mound for the Knights, ace Dalton Koller (0-2) was dealing through the first six innings, only giving up five hits in the outing, only walking two, and allowing three earned runs.
As Koller got to 100 pitchers through six innings, the Knights turned to Zavier Hernandez to hold on to the 4-3 lead and close out the game in the seventh.
After three straight singles from the Hawks, Justin Aponte hit a sacrifice fly, which allowed Travis Bradley to score, tying up the game, 4-4. In the next at-bat, Calvo scored on a passed ball that would help the Hawks take the 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
The Knights stayed in the game in the final inning, as Cameron Smiley drew a lead-off walk. As they tried to keep the game alive, the next three batters could not get on base, and the game concluded with the Hawks coming out on top, 5-4.
Dalton Koller was the Knightly News Player of the Game with a stat line of 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, and 2 K.
Just as in Game 1, the Knights got off to an early lead, with freshman shortstop Nathan Wise having an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, scoring Adam Hoover. Otherwise, both offenses were quiet early, as the Knights went to the top of the fourth inning leading 1-0.
In Game 2, the Knights started lefty Colton Zerby (0-1), who had a stellar first five innings, Limiting the Hawks to only two runs.
In the top of the sixth, the Knights struggled to record out, allowing the Hawks team to bat around twice, scoring 13 runs off 12 RBIs and 13 hits. This major momentum shift put a demoralizing finish to the contest, especially after the Knights led for 11 of a total of 14 innings on the day. The game ended with the Hawks beating the Knights 15-4.
In Game 2, Wise led the way offensively by going 3-for-3, with a run scored and an RBI. Gabe Kaufman went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
After these disappointing home defeats, the Knights must focus on upcoming contests, as they will be on the road for several games before they return to FNB Field on March 31. The Knights will travel to Virginia for a four-day road trip to play Christendom College on March 25-26 and Garrett College on March 28.
After these two contests, the Knights fell to 3-8 and the Hawks improved to 7-9 on the season.
The Knightly News Media Club streamed the games from FNB Field. The on-demand links are below. Paul Miller and Steve Hassinger were on the call for the game.