Three-Run Eighth Dooms Lions, Fall to Troy 5-2
Feb. 29, 2008
Dothan, Ala. - Three unearned runs by Troy in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie and lifted the Trojans to a 5-2 win over Penn State on Friday night in the first game of the ScreenTech Wiregrass Classic for the Nittany Lions. Mike Wanamaker gave his second straight outstanding performance for the Nittany Lions in his second start of the season, going seven innings and giving up five hits, two runs and striking out seven. He left with a score tied 2-2 after the seventh.
Both teams were kept off balance at the plate all night. No Troy player had more than one hit while Landon Nakata was the only Penn State player with more than one hit, as he went 2-for-4. Joe Blackburn reached base in three of his four plate appearance, going 1-for-2 with a run scored an two walks. Troy starter Ryan Ellison had 10 strikeouts, however, and closer Josh Storm struck out the side in the ninth after Blackburn had recorded a leadoff single.
The Trojans scored the first run of the game in the first as Trevor Tyre drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a balk, and scored on Daryl Otwell's single that went off Wanamaker on the mound. Wanamaker limited the damage by retiring the next two hitters, however, on a foul out and strikeout.
Penn State came right back in the top of the second to tie the game 1-1 without the benefit of a hit. Instead, the Lions took advantage of some wildness by Ellison as Joe Blackburn drew a leadoff walk, went to second on a wild pitch, and went to third on another wild pitch that was also ball four to Cory Wine. Blackburn then trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Mike Deese but Ellison came back after that to strike out the last two hitters to also limit the damage.
Troy took back the lead by pushing across a run in the bottom of the fourth as it got back-to-back one-out doubles by Brock Kelley and Michael Precise to go on top 2-1. Wanamaker once again did a good job to strand Precise at second, getting a pair of fly outs to end the inning.
Scott Kelley tied the game in the top of the seventh with a long two-out solo home run over the wall in left field to make it 2-2 of reliever A.J. Howard after Ellison had left after six innings.
In the eighth, reliever Paul Hawkins got the first out, then gave up a single up the middle to Beau Brooks, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. Hawkins then struck out Brock Kelley and issued a walk on a 3-2 pitch to Precise. Head coach Robbie Wine then elected to go to closer Drew O'Neil to close the door on the Trojans and O'Neil did his job, getting a ground ball to first off the bat of Steven Felix on a 3-1 pitch, but the grounder found its way under the glove of Cory Wine at first for an error, allowing Brooks to scoot home from second and pinch runner Daniel Peterson to go to third. Then, with pinch hitter Lance Miller at the plate, O'Neil uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Peterson to score and then, when Felix tried to go to third, Blackburn's throw would have beaten him there but it was high and went into left field for another error, allowing Felix to come home to make it 5-2.
Blackburn got the leadoff single in the top on the ninth but then Storm stuck out the next three hitters, all looking, to end the game.
Penn State will bounce right back and take on Kennesaw State on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. (CT)/11:00 a.m. (ET). Mike Lorentson will take the hill for the Nittany Lions. The game will be the sixth game in five days for the Owls, who played single games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and also played a doubleheader on Wednesday.