Baseball Falls to Houston 15-5
March 6, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas – The Penn State baseball team ended its series against Houston Wednesday evening, falling 15-5 under the lights at Cougar Field. The Nittany Lions fall to an overall record of 3-8, while the Cougars are now 10-3.
The Cougars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, with Houston posting three hits. Freshman Josh Vidales opened with a double to left field, which was nearly snagged by freshman James Coates (Girard, Ohio), and was able to advance home following a single up the middle from junior Frankie Ratcliff. Although freshman Justin Montemayor posted a single through the left side, the Lions were able to hold the squad to just one run in the opening inning.
Penn State immediately responded, with sophomore Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) scoring as junior Alex Farkes (Boston, Mass.) grounded out to the first baseman in the top of the second. With sophomore J.J. White (Lansdowne, Va.) resting on third, Coates stepped up with his ninth hit and fourth RBI of season, singling to right field to bring home White. With a 2-1 lead, redshirt senior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) reached on a bunt hit, allowing redshirt junior Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) to step up to the plate with runners on first and second. Snyder then singled up the middle for his 55th career RBI, driving in Coates to extend Penn State’s lead 3-1. The Lions’ final run of the inning would be scored by Searer, his fifth of the season, as sophomore Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) singled to center field to bring home the third baseman.
Not allowing a 4-1 deficit to halt their momentum, the Cougars posted four runs in the second inning, as well. With Jacob Campbell reaching on an error, Kyle Survance advanced home from third to cut the Lions’ lead in half. Houston would tie the game following back-to-back Penn State errors, and took a 5-4 lead on a run from Vidales. Vidales was able to score the eighth run of the inning thanks to freshman Kyle Kirk, who grounded out to senior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) for an RBI.
Houston held Penn State off in the top of the third, and went on a scoring streak in the bottom of the inning. The Cougars took a 7-4 lead following two doubles from pinch hitter Michael Pyeatt and Ashford Fulmer, and would eventually rest the score at 10-4 after a single from junior Caleb Barker allowed Vidales and Kirk to score. Redshirt sophomore Geoff Boylston (West Chester, Pa.) would put a stop to Houston’s surge, striking out Montemayor to close the third.
The Lions would cut Houston’s lead to five runs, with Skerpon posting the 10th RBI of his career and his seventh of the season in the top of the fifth. Following consecutive singles from Searer and Snyder, the sophomore notched his fourth sac fly of the season, robbed of a hit by a diving catch from Vidales. Searer crossed home plate to move the score to 10-5, and Penn State would go on to hold the Cougars scoreless through the next three innings. However, it proved to be the Lions’ final run of the contest.
Scoring five runs between the seventh and eighth innings, Houston earned the victory with a final score of 15-5. Vidales led the Cougars with four runs, while Ratcliff posted four RBIs on two hits. Additionally, Kirk came away from the win with three runs and an RBI, and Barker, Fulmer and Pyeatt each recorded two RBIs. Pyeatt also went three-for-three at the plate. Tyler Ford earned the win for Houston, striking out two and allowing five hits and one earned run in 5.1 innings.
Leading the Lions, Skerpon came away with two RBIs, with Snyder, Farkes and Coates batting in a run, as well. Searer led with two runs, while Coates, White and Novak each scored one. Redshirt senior Cody Lewis (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) struck out four batters and held the Cougars hitless in 2.1 innings of action, while junior Tim Dunn (Coto de Caza, Calif.) suffered the loss.
Penn State will return to action on Friday, March 8 when the Lions begin a three-game series against Houston Baptist.
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