Baseball finished season with two PSAC honors

After sweeping Slippery Rock twice in a four-game series, the Mercyhurst baseball team has finished its regular season games with a conference record of 20-8.

On Saturday, game one was pitched by junior Dan Altavilla and the second was pitched by redshirt junior Jon Klein. Both pitched no-hitters and the Lakers won 6-0 and then 3-0. Winning these games secured the Lakers a spot in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament.

The Sunday double header was played at Slippery Rock. The Lakers won 11-2 and 8-0.

In the top of the fifth inning during the first game, sophomore Hank Morrison hit a homerun bringing in three runners and increasing the score to 10-2 Lakers.

Following Morrison’s homerun, sophomore Dan Popio hit an RBI double.

In the first inning of the second game the Lakers earned six runs. Some of these runs were due to junior Angel Martinez hitting a three-run triple. Martinez led in RBI’s for the second game.

“In the playoffs we just have to keep hitting the ball how we have been these past seven games. We are on a seven -game winning streak and play good defense,” Martinez said.

Sophomore Dan Popio and redshirt junior Jon Klein were both honored with weekly awards by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference as announced on Monday afternoon. Popio was named the PSAC West Player of the Week while Klein earned a share of the PSAC West Pitcher of the Week award.

This marks the first weekly award for both Popio and Klein from the PSAC this season.

Popio had a very successful week with the Lakers, leading the team to a perfect 6-0 record and another shot in the PSAC Tournament, which begins this week. The sophomore posted 11 hits in 18 at bats with six of his hits going for extra bases.

Klein allowed just one base hit, a two-out single in the top of the sixth inning, and walked two while striking out a season-high tying eight. He currently is 4-5 with a 3.56 earned run average. In 55.2 innings, he has struck out 66 batters.

“It helps that we have a good pitching staff. They have been consistent this whole season,” Martinez said.

The first game will be played against the No.3 seed, West Chester, starting at 9:30 a.m. The Lakers are the No. 2 seed in the tournament behind Seton Hill. They finished their season with an overall record of 28-12.

“We feel pretty good being the No.2 seed since we have to play West Chester and we beat them 11-3 earlier in the season,” Martinez said.

The Lakers will play the opening game of the PSAC Tournament at Kelly Automotive Park in Butler, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, April 30, against the third seed from the eastern division, West Chester University.