LOCK HAVEN - After posting an 8-5 mark in the pre-season, the Lock Haven University baseball team has found the road somewhat rocky since returning home from its Southern trip.
The Bald Eagles dropped a twinbill to Bloomsburg by scores of 7-1 and 8-7 Saturday before opening their Foundation Field sked Sunday by splitting two games with the Huskies.
For LHU, it was more or less a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Sunday's action as the Bald Eagles resembled two totally different teams in the split.
Mr. Hyde made his appearance early as Bloomsburg pounded the Bald Eagles 16-0 in the opener before Dr. Jekyll rescued the Crimson & White in the nightcap for a 7-5 LHU win.
"That is the way we have been playing," said LHU head coach Smokey Stover about the up and down results. "We played really laid back yesterday and the first game today. We weren't aggressive and we didn't get after people. Our whole scheme has been to be aggressive at the plate and on defense and we didn't do that yesterday or in the first game today. Hopefully with this win we can get back to doing that."
In the opener, Bloomsburg dominated four LHU pitchers for 19 hits and the 16 runs, while on the other side of the field, the Bald Eagles could only muster a pair of hits, singles by Scott Zuback in the first and Anthony Kyne in the fourth.
Part of the reason for the lack of success of the Bald Eagles in the opener was the strong pitching of Husky lefthander Tyler Hill. For the game, Hill allowed just the two hits while striking out a half dozen and issuing only one base on balls.
"Give their kid (Tyler Hill) credit because he threw pretty well," said Stover. "He threw a real good game, but again, we just weren't aggressive like we have been. Then in the second game we got aggressive at the plate like we have been all year."
While Hill provided strong pitching for the Huskies in the opener, LHU sophomore Parker Watson was solid for the first five innings of the nightcap to pick up the win.
During the opening five innings, Watson allowed three runs on five hits, striking out two Husky hitters while issuing a pair of walks.
"He (Watson) throws in the 86-87 (mph) range, but he has a changeup that is real good and his curveball breaks pretty sharp and that helps him keep opposing hitters off balance real well," Stover said.
Cody Godfrey came in with two outs in the sixth inning to keep things under control for the Bald Eagles until LHU closer Aaron Lidgett slammed the door completely shut on the Huskies with a perfect seventh to preserve the win and register his first save of the young season.
After being held scoreless in the opener, LHU broke open the offense when it scored two runs in the third, added three more in the fourth before closing out the win with two more runs in the fifth.
Big hits for the Bald Eagles in the third were an RBI single by Scott Zuback and an RBI double by Kyne, while driving in the runs in the fourth to give LHU the lead for keeps were Tyson Petersheim with an RBI double, Ryen Henritzy with an RBI single and Jamie Eshelman with a sacrifice fly RBI.
In the fifth, Kyne and Ryan Koch led off with back-to-back doubles, Koch's two-bagger good for an RBI.
Gordon Barr reached on a bunt single to chase Koch to third before the former Jersey Shore High product scored on an outstanding slide around the attempted tag at home by the Husky catcher on a fielder's choice off the bat of Eshelman.
After coming up with only two hits in the opening game loss, the Bald Eagles came back to pound out ten hits in the second game. Leading the LHU stickmen were Petersheim with a single and double along with Kyne and Yesnesky each with a pair of doubles.
After going 8-5 in the spring break trip, LHU dropped three of its first four games since making its way north. Stover feels that the difference between playing in Florida and now in Pennsylvania is more of a mental thing than anything physical.
"It is different mentally," Stover said. "Although it is different, I think more of a factor is the legend of playing in the PSAC and that affects the freshmen more than the upperclassmen. I don't know if they try harder or get a little more nervous or what it is, but they seem to play tighter than they had been before coming home. Hopefully they are over that and we can get things moving ahead."
With the split, LHU moves its record to 9-8 overall, 1-3 in the PSAC-East.
Their next action is scheduled for Tuesday in a doubleheader with Pitt-Johnstown at Foundation Field if Mother Nature can keep her nose out of the picture as far as inclement weather is concerned. The opening game of that twinbill is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
Bloomsburg 16, Lock Haven 0
Bloomsburg320 008 3 - 16 19 1
Lock Haven000 000 0 - 0 2 4
T. Hill, N. Donofry (7) and C. Baiada. Madison Neddo, Dakota Pentz (6), Garrett Shnyder (7), Evan Moyer (7) and Austin Botts. W-T. Hill. L-Neddo.
Top Bloomsburg hitters: Mazza, 2-5, RBI, 3 runs; Casselberry, 2-4, RBI, run; Muth, 2-4, RBI, 2 runs; Smith, 4-5, 4 RBIs, 2 runs; Ravel, 2-4, RBI, run; West, 2-3, 2 RBIs, 2 runs. Top Lock Haven hitters: None.
Lock Haven 7, Bloomsburg 5
Bloomsburg000 302 0 - 5 9 2
Lock Haven002 320 x - 7 10 0
Hunter, McCloskey (4), Geedey (5) and Kurucz. Parker Watson, Cody Godfrey (6), Aaron Lidgett (7) and Austin Botts. W-Watson. L-Hunter.
Top Bloomsburg hitters: Smith, 3-4, RBI, 2 runs; Ravel, 2-3, RBI, run. Top Lock Haven hitters: Tyson Petersheim, 2-4, RBI, 2 runs; Ryan Koch, 1-4, RBI, run; Tyler Yesensky, 2-3, run.