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March 1, 2013
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Opening the University of Texas-San Antonio Collegiate Baseball Classic on Friday afternoon, the Penn State baseball team topped Stephen F. Austin 4-2, improving to a 2-5 overall record. The Nittany Lions were led by sophomores J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.), who each posted a home run to help secure the win. The Lumberjacks move to a 2-5 record, as well, with the loss.
Starting pitcher Dave Walkling (Nanaimo, B.C.) earned the win for the Lions, pitching a career-high 7.1 innings. The redshirt senior, who struck out seven batters, improves to a 2.33 ERA after allowing six hits and just one earned run. Earning his first collegiate save, freshman Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) saw 1.2 innings of action, holding the Jacks hitless in the eighth and ninth innings. SFA’s Chase Greening earned the loss, moving to a 0-1 record.
The Lions took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, with Coban recording his second home run of the season on a 2-2 count. The sophomore, who stepped up to the plate with two outs, smashed the ball over the left field wall to earn his sixth and seventh RBIs of the season, as sophomore J.J. White (Lansdowne, Va.) scored, as well.
Penn State’s defense halted the Jacks in the bottom of the second, despite Ricardo Sanchez recording his 10th hit of the season. With one out, Zach Marberry stepped up to the plate as Sanchez waited on first. On Marberry’s hit, sophomore Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.), senior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) and White combined for a swift double-play, narrowly shutting down Sanchez and Marberry to end the inning.
The Lions extended their lead in the top of the third, with redshirt junior Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) and Skerpon recording back-to-back singles to gain an edge. Recording his fourth RBI of the season, White singled to right field to drive home Snyder, who slid into home plate for a 3-0 lead. Penn State went on to shut out SFA again in the bottom of the fourth, with Skerpon making the play on the second out, despite a tough hop in front of second base. Walkling went on to strikeout Mackenzie Handel to end the inning.
The Jacks would finally get on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Despite striking out swinging, Jordon Lenaburg advanced to first on an error, and moved to second after an infield single from Zach Marberry. With a double to center field, Jackson Hood drove in Lenaburg to move the score to 3-1 in favor of the Lions.
A stalemate arose between the sixth and seventh innings, with Walkling striking out three in the bottom of the sixth to keep Penn State’s two-run lead. However, Matt Mundkowsky came out of the bull pen for the Jacks and struck out the side in the top of the seventh to take hold of the momentum. SFA cut the scoring deficit to one run in the bottom of the eighth, with Hunter Dozier batting in Freddy Villalobos from third.
Penn State immediately responded in the ninth inning, with Novak recording his first home run of the season and the third of his career. Leading off for the Lions, the sophomore sent the ball flying over the left field wall, extending the lead to 4-2. Anderson, as well as a timely double-play from Skerpon, Montesinos and White, would hold off the Jacks in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
The Lions return to action tomorrow when they take on UTSA at 7 p.m. ET. For complete coverage of the UTSA Classic, visit the Tournament Page.
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