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Feb. 17, 2013
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The Penn State baseball team ended its weekend series against Eastern Tennessee State University on Sunday afternoon, falling 9-7 after a late comeback effort in the ninth inning. The Nittany Lions (1-2) produced 12 hits on the day, with sophomore J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.) recording a home run in the top of the ninth to bring the score within two runs. The Buccaneers (2-1), led by starting pitcher Jimmy Nesselt, take the series two games to one.
The Bucs were first on the board for the first time in the series, with junior Clinton Freeman hitting his third home run of the season in the bottom of the first. Freeman earned two RBIs, as he drove in Andrew Green to give ETSU a 2-0 lead.
Penn State held the offense off in the second inning, with starting pitcher Patton Taylor (Nichols, N.Y.) consecutively striking out Kevin Phillips and Chris Riopedre. Redshirt junior Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) would kick off the momentum for the Lions to tie the game in the top of the third, doubling down the right field line on two outs. Freshman James Coates (Girard, Ohio) stepped up to the plate, singling to left center to bat in Snyder to cut the lead in half. After stealing second, the rookie was sent home by a single from senior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.), knotting the score a 2-2.
The Bucs' bats exploded in the bottom of the fifth, however, with Jeremy Taylor crossing home plate after an RBI from catcher Mason Hershey. ETSU would then extend the lead to 5-2 with a double from left fielder Zach Thompson, driving home Phillips and Riopedre. Another four runs in the inning would set the score at 9-2 in favor of the Bucs, including a double from Trey York to bat in Freeman and Thompson on two outs.
The Lions would step up defensively, not allowing another run for the remainder of the game. A sac fly from redshirt senior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) would allow freshman Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) to advance home, moving the score to 9-3 in the top of the seventh. Penn State would continue to push for a comeback, with Kendall and junior Alex Farkes (Boston, Mass.) each recording an RBI in the eighth inning. Kendall singled to left field to drive Coban home, while Farkes reached on a fielder's choice to bat in sophomore J.J. White (Lansdowne, Va.). The score sat at 9-5 in favor of ETSU heading into the ninth inning.
After help from freshman pitcher Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) in shutting down the Bucs in the bottom of the eighth, Montesinos lit a fire by singling to second base and advanced to third on the throw. With Coban up to bat, the sophomore notched his first home run of the season, cutting the lead to 9-7. Despite an immediate single from White following the two-run play, ETSU was able to halt Penn State's offense to secure the win in the top of the ninth.
Taylor saw 4.1 innings of action, recording three strikeouts with three earned runs and three hits. Sophomore Ryan Harper (Texas City, Texas) and Anderson each posted a strikeout while allowing zero earned runs. Coban led the squad with two RBIs, two runs and three hits, with Kendall recording an RBI and a run. Coates and Montesinos each earned an RBI, as well.
The Lions return to action on Friday, Feb. 22 as Penn State heads to Liberty for a three-game series.
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