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Monmouth Rallies Past Baseball, 9-8

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Feb. 24, 2018

Box Score




3-2 1-4

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CARY, N.C. – Monmouth never led until scoring five runs in the ninth inning, dealing Penn State a 9-8 loss, in non-conference baseball action Saturday afternoon at the USA Baseball National Training Center.

Penn State (3-2) led 8-4 going into the top of the ninth inning, but with one out, Monmouth (1-4) third baseman Shaine Hughes hit a two-RBI double and catcher JD Andreesen followed with a two-run home run to center field to tie the game. The Nittany Lions went to the bullpen, but designated hitter Pete Papcun sent the very first pitch he saw over the left field fence for the go-ahead run.

It was Penn State’s second-straight hard-luck, one-run loss after falling to UMBC Friday, 2-1. The Nittany Lions have played 45 innings in the young season, but have only trailed in four innings and have yet to trail by multiple runs at any point.

Papcun led all hitters, reaching base four times by boing 3-for-4 with the home run, a double, walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. Andreesen had a game-high three RBIs on a 2-for-5 effort at the plate. For the Nittany Lions, left fielder Braxton Giavedoni (Punxsutawney, Pa.) went a team-best 2-for-5, while Ryan Sloniger (Punxsutawney, Pa.) and center fielder Mason Nadeau (Lansdale, Pa.) had two RBIs and an extra-base hit each, hitting a double and triple, respectively. Second baseman Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, Pa.) doubled for a second consecutive game.

The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning with just one hit. With Hughes (walk) and shortstop Tommy Gibson (hit by pitch) on base and two outs, designated hitter Logan Goodnight (Wheeling, W.Va.) singled through the left side, scoring Hughes from second. The throw in from the outfield was cut off, but third base was left uncovered and the cutoff man could not catch Gibson on his way to the bag, so he turned his attention to Goodnight, who was attempting to go to second. The Hawks got Goodnight in a rundown, but it allowed Gibson to score and Goodnight reached second after the ball came loose on an attempted tag at first.

Monmouth tied the game the very next frame, as center fielder Kyle Norman tallied an RBI-groundout and Andreeson hit an RBI-double, but Penn State retook the lead with three runs in the fourth. Gibson and Goodnight were both plunked with one out, and then Gibson scored on an RBI-single by right fielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.). Sloniger then followed with a double to score Goodnight and Bowersox for a 5-2 advantage.

Monmouth cut the advantage to one run in the top of the sixth on an RBI-double by Papcun and an error, but Penn State answered with another three-run inning to take an 8-4 lead. RHP Eric Mock (Shillington, Pa.) retired the Monmouth side in the seventh, left the bases loaded without allowing a run in the eighth and got one out in the ninth before yielding four runs. He was relieved by RHP Nick Distasio (1-1) (Oley, Pa.), who surrendered a home run before retiring the next two batters.

Shortstop Danny Long (1) earned the save for Monmouth, retiring the side in the bottom of the ninth. RHP Kyle Ajjan (1-0) earned the victory with 2 1/3 innings of relief in which he struck out four and allowed just one hit.

The Nittany Lions had true freshmen pitch for the first six innings. RHP Conor Larkin (Royersford, Pa.), starting in place of late scratch LHP Taylor Lehman (Pittsburgh, Pa.), was strong in his first career starting nod, working four innings and allowing just the two runs on five hits with two strikeouts. RHP Mason Mellott (State College, Pa.) worked the fifth and sixth, striking out the side in the fifth and allowing two runs (one earned) in the sixth on one hit and one walk, while tallying his fourth strikeout of the day.

Penn State will conclude the tournament Sunday starting at 11 a.m. against No. 23 St. John’s.

Penn State’s home opener is set for Wednesday, March 14. Season, flex and single-game tickets for the 2018 season, presented by Family Clothesline, are available online at or by calling the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park ticket office at 814-272-1711.




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