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March 3, 2013
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The Penn State baseball team ends the UTSA Collegiate Baseball Classic with a 2-1 record, posting a 3-0 shutout to earn a victory over Nebraska-Omaha on Sunday afternoon. The Nittany Lions (3-6) came alive in the seventh inning to post all three runs, while the Mavericks (0-3) were unable to overcome the PSU defense.
After six scoreless innings with just two hits for each squad, the Lions drew first blood in the bottom of the seventh with sophomore Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) scoring on a wild pitch from Omaha's Marcus Ethen. Penn State's lead was extended as redshirt senior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) doubled up the left line, allowing freshman James Coates (Girard, Ohio) to advance home from first. Despite a pitching change for the Mavs, with Derek Landis taking the mound, the Lions moved the score to 3-0 with a single from sophomore Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.). Skerpon recorded a base hit to right field, and was able to advance on the throw as Searer scored.
Searer and Skerpon led Penn State with an RBI each, with Skerpon leading with two hits, as well. Sophomore Ryan Harper (Texas City, Texas) earned the win for the Lions, pitching seven innings and improving to a 1.46 ERA. The Texas native allowed just five hits while walking three and recording two strikeouts. Earning his second career save, freshman Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) closed out the contest in the top of the ninth. Freshman Blake Estep (Choctaw, Okla.) and redshirt sophomore Geoff Boylston (West Chester, Pa.) also saw the mound in the 3-0 victory, combining for two strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
Despite shutting out the Mavs, Omaha outhit the Lions 8-5. Helping load the bases in the top of the eighth, Cole Gruber and Alex Mortensen would each record singles to give the Mavs the momentum. However, senior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.), Skerpon and sophomore J.J. White (Lansdowne, Va.) would combine for a vital double-play to end the inning.
Anderson stepped in to relieve Boylston in the top of the ninth with two outs and runners on first and second. With Cole Gruber up to bat, the freshman grounded out to Searer to end the contest, leaving Boylston and Anderson with 0.00 ERAs.
The Lions will travel to Houston, Texas on Tuesday, March 5 to battle Houston in a two-game set. Penn State will then take on Houston Baptist in a weekend-series from March 8-10.
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