IUP continued its late-season swoon, and the Crimson Hawks were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a pair of lopsided losses in a PSAC West baseball doubleheader at Dougherty Field on Tuesday.
Mercyhurst beat IUP 20-7 and 8-2 to return the favor for the Crimson Hawks’ doubleheader sweep in Erie on April 1, which was likely the high point of IUP’s season.
The Crimson Hawks improved to 11-12 and 5-5 in the PSAC West on that day, but they’ve gone 3-11 in division play since then.
At 14-23 (8-16 PSAC West), the Crimson Hawks sit in seventh place in the division. With four regular-season games remaining, they are out of the running for the fourth and final playoff spot.
In the opening game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, Mercyhurst took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and blew the game open with a nine-run third for an 11-0 lead. The Lakers sent 13 batters to the plate and recorded seven hits in the third.
A rain delay of nearly two hours stopped the game in the top of the fourth, but it didn’t slow down the Lakers. They scored six runs in the inning, four after the rain delay, for a 17-1 lead.
IUP starter Kyle Zambanini was tagged for eight runs in 2 2-3 innings. He gave up seven hits and three walks and dropped to 1-6 on the season. Each of IUP’s four pitchers gave up at least three runs, and all of Mercyhurst’s runs were earned.
Austin Mock went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs to lead IUP’s offense, which added six runs after the game had been decided.
Scott Hess was 2-for-2 with three RBIs, and Chris Calliari and Dylan Tice had two hits apiece.
In the second game, which started well after 6 p.m., IUP hung with the Lakers through three innings, but the Lakers plated three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings. The game was called after five innings due to darkness.
Mock and John Beatty went 2-for-3 each, and Tyler Mroz and Rick Jones each picked up an RBI.
Justin Charles took the loss in his first start of the season for IUP. He went four innings, giving up five earned runs on nine hits and four walks.
IUP closes the season Friday and Saturday with a four-game weekend set with last-place Clarion. IUP visits Clarion on Friday.