BELLE VERNON, Pa. (March 27) – The California University of Pennsylvania baseball team claimed a doubleheader sweep on Saturday afternoon, winning 8-3 and 5-2 over Clarion at the John DiVirgilino Sports Complex in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West action.
With the sweep, the Vulcans improve to 13-10 overall with an 8-2 league mark this season. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles fall to 1-11 this year with a 0-6 divisional mark.
Redshirt sophomore Randy Sturgill (Leechburg, Pa./Leechburg) earned the win in Game 1 after throwing his fifth complete game in six starts this season. He scattered three runs on six hits and three walks while tying his season high of 10 strikeouts. Clarion starter Kevin Gnacinski (1-2) suffered the loss, tossing 3.2 innings and allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits.
Sophomore center fielder Troy Handza (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) highlighted the offense by going 2-for-4 with a double, two-run homer, four RBI and two runs. Junior designated hitter Chuck Faust (Hershey, Pa./Hershey), junior first baseman Adam Link (New Hope, Pa./Central Bucks East) and junior shortstop Casey Teagarden (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) each collected two hits. Teagarden also scored two runs, stole a base and drove in a run.
Clarion took the first lead of the game with a two-run, two-out double in the top of the second. The Vulcans evened the score at 2-2 in the third when Handza belted a two-run homer (sixth of the season). The Golden Eagles countered with a run in the third and threatened to break the game open before Sturgill registered consecutive strikeouts with the bases loaded.
Cal U answered with five runs in the bottom of the third to take a 7-3 lead. Links opened the inning with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly. The second run of the inning scored on a fielder’s choice before Handza followed with a two-run double. The Vulcans added an insurance run in the sixth on an error to increase its lead to 8-3.
In the nightcap, senior right-hander Nick Schreiber (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle Antrim) threw a complete game, yielding only two runs (one earned) on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. The Golden Eagles’ Brandon Slater (0-2) was saddled with the loss after surrendering four runs (two earned) on four hits in 5.0-plus innings.
Cal U took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third on an error and fielder’s choice. Teagarden started the fifth with a single and stole second and third before scoring on a two-out double by senior right fielder Sam DiMatteo (Center, Pa./Center), 3-0.
In the sixth, the Golden Eagles scored their first run on a two-out error and had two runners in scoring position before Schreiber induced grounder to close the inning. The Vulcans countered by adding a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on two-out, RBI singles by junior catcher Eric Berringer (Damascus, Md./Damascus) and Handza.
Schreiber opened the seventh with two strikeouts before allowing a run after issuing a walk and back-to-back singles. However, he forced a flyout with runners on first and second to finish his third complete game of the season.
In the nightcap, six different Vulcans collected a hit, including Teagarden who scored two runs and stole a pair of bases.
Cal U is scheduled to return to action on Monday, March 29, when it travels to Clarion for a doubleheader at Memorial Stadium. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.