Nittany Lions Top Dallas Baptist, Fall to Lamar in Doubleheader Split
March 6, 2010
BEAUMONT, Texas - The Penn State baseball team exploded for seven runs in the second inning and cruised to a 10-4 victory against Dallas Baptist before dropping a 4-0 final to Lamar in a split doubleheader on Saturday at the YMBL Cardinal Classic. Freshmen Neal Herring (West Chester, Pa.) and Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) dazzled on the mound, both allowing only one earned run in six innings of work. Penn State finishes its stay in Beaumont on Sunday with another matchup against Lamar.
"We're playing great baseball, even in that second game," said sophomore Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) "Both pitchers were great. We're rolling right now, so hopefully we can continue that into tomorrow against Lamar again."
Dallas Baptist, a perennial NCAA Tournament team, entered the game with a 7-2 record after being ranked in Collegiate Baseball's Fabulous 40 national preseason poll. The Patriots jumped out to the early lead, but Penn State bounced back with seven runs in the second to take command. A balanced offensive attack paved the way, highlighted by a 3-for-5 performance from sophomore Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.), his second consecutive three-hit game. Junior Mario Eramo (Houston, Texas) also racked up two hits, including his first home run in a Penn State uniform.
Herring impressed against Dallas Baptist in his second-career start, tossing six strong innings while only allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits for his first-career win. The trio of Drew Irsfeld (Eugene, Ore.), Jesse Alfreno (Grove City, Pa.) and David Lutz (West Chester, Pa.) pitched the final three innings in relief.
"I mainly focused on throwing strikes and trying to getting ahead in the count," said Herring. "Even though I faded away with that in the latter part of the game, it was a good outing overall. You could trust the fielder's behind you, which was a big key to success."
The Patriots jumped out to an early lead with a run in the bottom of the first inning. After an infield single and walk, a towering two-out popup from Duncan McAlpine was dropped, allowing Tyler Robbins to cross the plate.
The Nittany Lions quickly responded by batting around in the second, crossing the plate seven times for the 7-1 advantage. It marked the first time Penn State batted around since last Apr. 11 against Purdue. The seven runs in an inning were also the most since scoring that many in the fourth on March 24, 2009 against Kent State. DeBernardis had two singles in the inning, the first time a Penn State player has done so since Mike Deese against Air Force on March 9, 2008.
DeBernardis led everything off with a single up the middle. Junior Michael Glantz (Marietta, Ga.) and senior Louie Picconi (North Merrick, N.Y.) followed with walks to load the bases. DeBernardis then scored on a wild pitch to tie the score at one. Freshman Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) proceeded with a double down the right field line to plate two. Sophomore Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) followed with a towering triple to right-center field to score Snyder. After a fielder's choice, Steranka hit a two-run home run to right field for Penn State's fifth and sixth runs, chasing starter Stuart Pudenz.
Junior Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) greeted reliever Ben Palmer with a single to center. After his second-career steal (and second in as many games), DeBernardis hit his second single of the inning to score Heath for Penn State's seventh run.
The Patriots' Ryan Enos scored on a wild pitch in the fifth, but Penn State got the run right back with Eramo's solo home run in the seventh.
Dallas Baptist scored in the bottom of the inning to make it 8-3, but the Nittany Lions scored twice in the eighth to open up a 10-3 advantage. The big blow came from junior Heath Johnson (Alamagordo, N.M.), who hit a long double to left-center field to plate Deegan.
The story of the second game was Lamar starter Matison Smith, who tossed a complete game shutout. Lamar took early advantage of some Penn State miscues with a three-spot in the bottom of the first. With runners on the corners and one out, Quentin Luquete singled to score Anthony Moore. Wade Mathis followed with an infield single, plating Ryan Meade. Luquette also scored on the play when the ball got away from shortstop Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.).
Hill cruised through the middle innings, shutting down the Cardinals for the rest of his stint. Like Herring, he tossed six innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on eight hits. He was the tough-luck loser, falling to 1-1 on the season.
After a number of zeroes on the scoreboard, Lamar tacked on a run in the seventh inning to make it 4-0. Aaron Buchanan led off with a single and advanced to third on Meade's single to right. Luquette followed with a sacrifice fly to left, plating Buchanan.
The Nittany Lions struggled to stage a rally as they consistently put the ball in play, but failed to reach third base all game. Smith improved to 3-0 on the season and has now pitched 22 innings this season without allowing an earned run.
Penn State closes out the YMBL Cardinal Classic on Sunday (2 p.m. ET) against Lamar before traveling to College Station to face Texas A&M in a two-game series beginning on Tuesday.
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