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Feb. 19, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Coming off tough back-to-back losses to Seton Hall and West Virginia, the Penn State baseball team (1-2) fought back from a 3-2 deficit and defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday afternoon by a score of 5-2. Senior Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) put together a 2-for-5 effort, which included the game-tying homerun in the eighth inning.
The homer by Steranka was the spark for the Nittany Lions, as the bats came alive afterwards. Senior Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.) followed Steranka's at-bat with a double. Senior Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) then responded with a big, go-ahead RBI triple to give Penn State a 4-3 lead. Junior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) capped off the rally with an RBI single to score Deegan.
Sophomore Joe Kurrasch (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) came in to relieve junior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) and was phenomenal, tossing three innings of two-hit and no run ball. Kurrasch escaped a big bases loaded jam in the eighth inning, as he struck out Cincinnati's two-hole hitter looking. Hill hurled a quality start, going six innings, giving up seven hits and three runs while punching out five batters.
Penn State was the first team to strike, as a patient Nittany Lion lineup forced three straight walks. With Deegan on third, Montesinos on second and junior Ryan Clark (Westerville, Ohio) on first with two outs, sophomore Zach Ell (Plains, Pa.) was walked on a full count to bring in Deegan. Sophomore Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) then had a hard-hit ball muffed by the third baseman, scoring Montesinos to give Penn State a 2-0 lead.
Cincinnati responded with two runs in the second inning to tie the game back at two. In the third, the Bearcats added another run to take the 3-2 lead. Cincinnati was held to just four hits for the remainder of the game though. Kurrasch, who earned his first career win for the Nittany Lions, closed the door in the ninth inning, shutting down the three, four and five hitters in order.
Penn State will next turn to a three-game series with UNC Greensboro in North Carolina next weekend. Following the series with the Spartans, the Lions will begin an eight-game Spring Break road trip, starting with UAB in Alabama.
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