Crimson Hawks close out season with four-game sweep of Clarion

It was practically batting practice for Indiana University of Pennsylvania Saturday as the Crimson Hawks baseball team scored a combined 39 runs in its dominant doubleheader against Clarion University Saturday.

However, the Crimson Hawks had already been eliminated from the playoffs earlier in the week, dropping both games of their doubleheader against Mercyhurst University April 22. The Crimson Hawks were outscored by a combined 28-9 in the series against the Lakers.

Things quickly turned around for IUP Saturday against the Golden Eagles.

During its celebration of Senior Day, the baseball team had a clean sweep of its Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference opponent, knocking off Clarion 22-4 in the first game and then following up the victory with a 17-3 win.

Thirteen different players contributed to IUP’s combined mark of 34 hits, 11 of which were extra-base hits.

Shortstop Dylan Tice (junior, exercise science) headlined the Hawks’ explosive efforts, finishing Saturday with two home runs, seven RBIs and six total runs. Among the many other standouts was Jason Martin (freshman, safety science), who homered as a pinch hitter and finished the doubleheader series with six RBIs.

Martin’s homer, a two-run shot in the fourth inning of the first game, helped IUP gain a 13-2 lead. Austin Mock (junior, exercise science), Jonathan O’Neill (junior, criminology) and Rick Jones (sophomore, criminology) also brought runs to the plate in the first game, giving the Crimson Hawks an early edge over Clarion in Saturday’s two-game affair.

IUP wasted few opportunities in terms of bringing runs across the plate Saturday, scoring at least once in every inning of the first game. That includes a six-run first inning to start the day, a performance that seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the afternoon.

“It felt great to go out and give our seniors two wins for their final home games,” said first baseman Ryan Uhl (junior, finance), who drove in two runs and also pitched an inning of relief.

Meanwhile, IUP starters Demetrius Christofes (senior, sports administration) and Zach DeTillio (sophomore, sports medicine) were victorious on the mound. Christofes (2-1) surrendered four runs in six innings of work while striking out three batters.

Meanwhile, DeTillio (4-4) gave up two runs in five innings during IUP’s second game of the afternoon.

In between their wins, the Crimson Hawks commemorated seven of their graduating senior players: Christofes, Aaron Lupia (health and physical education), Jared Weed (marketing), Kyle Zambanini (pre-physical therapy), Nolan Schaaf (criminal justice), Devin Doutt (marketing) and Tyler Squibbs (health and physical education).

Lupia had an RBI in IUP’s first win of the day, while Squibbs joined Uhl as part of the Hawks’ relief rotation on the mound, throwing one scoreless inning on the day.

With their offensively powered victories Saturday, IUP improved to 16-23 on the season and 10-16 in the PSAC West.

IUP was able to carry the hot bats over into its doubleheader Sunday against the Golden Eagles yet again.

IUP took the first game with ease, running away with a 9-3 victory.

Jones drove in four runs with a double and a triple, and Mock added three RBIs as well. Tice continued his impressive run at the plate, going three-for-five in the first game.

Kyle Zaorski (junior, finance) picked up the win, pitching five innings and allowing three runs on eight hits.

Hunter Bigler (sophomore, exercise science) pitched two innings of shutout ball to give the Crimson Hawks the win.

In game two of the doubleheader, IUP again came away victorious, this time in closer fashion.

Mock knocked in his fourth and fifth RBIs of the day against Clarion’s Alex Borofski, while Chris Calliari (freshman, exercise science) came through as a pinch hitter with a sacrifice RBI.

Tyler Mroz (senior, criminology) also hit a home run for the Crimson Hawks.

Weed went six and two-thirds innings on the mound for IUP, allowing just two runs and striking out five to earn the win.

The Crimson Hawks finished the regular season with an 18-23 overall record and were 12-16 in the PSAC.