Penn State Suffers Second-Straight Defeat at USF, 11-7
TAMPA, Fla. - Penn State lost its second consecutive game on Saturday evening at the hands of South Florida by a final of 11-7 to drop below the .500 mark for the first time this season with a record of 2-3 while USF remains undefeated at 6-0. The seven Penn State runs are the most the squad has scored this season and the most USF has allowed in 2014.
The Nittany Lions could not hold on to their early lead, as the squad scored five runs in the first three innings before giving up 11 consecutive scores to the hosts, all coming between the third and sixth innings.
Individually, Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) led the way at the plate, going 2-for-3, while adding a walk and an RBI, his second of the season. Other Nittany Lion hitters with solid outings were Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.), who each drove in two runs on one hit apiece.
The Blue and White showed no ill-effects after yesterday's loss out of the gate, as the team got off to a great start in the first inning. James Coates (Girard, Ohio) got things started for Penn State with an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Snyder followed by ripping a single up the middle to put the Lions on top 1-0 with no outs. After back-to-back popup outs, PSU's Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.) drew a walk followed by two consecutive singles from Kendall and Skerpon to push two more runs across the plate. Penn State scored its fourth run of the inning off two-straight wild pitches that allowed Kendall to score and give the Lions an early 4-0 advantage.
Starting pitcher T.J. Jann (Westford, Mass.) shut the Bulls' offense down in the first two innings, allowing no runs and one hit. The Nittany Lions then tacked on another run in the third off a Skerpon sacrifice fly to left field to score J.J. White (Landowne, Va.).
After Jann retired the first two USF batters by way of flyouts in the third, the inning fell apart for the Nittany Lions. Two-straight USF hitters drew walks followed by an infield single to load the bases. For the second game in a row, an error played a pivotal role in the Bulls' big inning, as a sharp grounder got through the legs of the second baseman and allowed three runs to score. Luke Borders, the next South Florida batter, then stepped up and hit a home run over the right field wall to tie the game at 5-5.
The Penn State bats were held scoreless in the top of the fourth and the Bulls took their first lead of the game in the bottom half of the frame, scoring three runs on three hits and a walk to take an 8-5 advantage.
USF extended its lead to five in the fifth stanza and added another run in the sixth off a solo home run from Luke Maglich to take an 11-5 lead.
The Nittany Lions managed to cut into the Bulls' lead in the seventh, scoring two runs to make the score 11-7. Penn State loaded the bases with no outs three consecutive singles from Snyder, Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) and White. Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) and Kendall recorded two-straight sacrifice hits to score the Lions' two runs.
The PSU bats were unable to do any more damage in the eighth or ninth frames and the hosts went on to win by a final of 11-7.
The Blue and White takes the field tomorrow afternoon for the third and final game of the series against USF before heading back to Happy Valley. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.