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Penn State Greater Allegheny baseball keeps rolling

| Monday, April 9, 2012

There really wasn't much concern on the Penn State Greater Allegheny bench when the Lions trailed University of Cincinnati Clermont College by two runs in the sixth inning Saturday.

"I told the guys that, when they went up two runs, I knew that we were going to fight," coach Jim Chester said. "I didn't know if it was going to be the sixth or seventh, but we had six more outs to score two runs. I knew there was no way they were going to be able to contain us, and I knew we were going to be able to tie the game up and win it."

It wasn't much of a reach considering the way Greater Allegheny has been hitting the ball, but the Lions still did exactly what their coach foretold, tacking on three runs in the sixth for a 7-6 victory in the second game of a nonconference doubleheader at Pullman Park in Butler.

With the sweep, Greater Allegheny (19-9) extended its winning streak to 12 games, breaking the school record of 10 it set in 2011. In those 12 games, the Lions have outscored their opponents, 133-11.

"We've played a lot of good baseball over the last couple of weeks," Chester said. "We were 7-9 after we got swept in a doubleheader by Point Park (on March 21), and I said that we were going to go on a run. I could feel it. And these guys made me look good."

In nine of the 12 wins, the Lions have put the 10-run rule into effect, with seven ending in the fifth inning, and also posted five shutouts.

"Hopefully we can keep it up," freshman pitcher Oliver Girman said. "We started slow, but we've been picking it up, and hopefully it can continue into conference play."

It would be difficult for Greater Allegheny to be much better against Penn State University Athletic Conference competition. While starting 6-0 in league play, the Lions have outscored their opponents, 85-0, and ended every game via the 10-run rule — including a 28-0 victory over Penn State Worthington-Scranton.

"When I recruit, I recruit kids who can flat-out hit and shut-down pitching — and that's exactly what's been going on if you check the stats," Chester said. "We're getting a lot of extra-base hits, scoring a lot of runs and keeping teams under four runs."

After playing their last four games out of conference — the Lions swept a doubleheader against Clark State Community College on Friday — they will host Penn State Brandywine in a make-up twinbill beginning at 11 a.m. today at Pullman Park. That will be the start of the stretch run for Greater Allegheny, which has 12 regular-season games remaining before the conference tournament begins April 27 at Pullman Park.

"Nothing will change in our approach," Chester said. "We're going to come out and throw a lot of strikes, have good approaches at the plate and just try to score more runs than the other team."

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