Baseball Drops Weekend Finale to Lamar, 8-3
March 7, 2010
BEAUMONT, Texas - Despite sophomore Jordan Steranka's (Pittsburgh, Pa.) second home run in as many days, the Penn State baseball team couldn't overcome Lamar's six-run fifth inning in falling to the Cardinals, 8-3 on Sunday at the YMBL Cardinal Classic. The Nittany Lions (4-3) finish the weekend 2-2 and now move onto College Station where they face Big 12 power Texas A&M on Tuesday and Wednesday.
For the second straight day, the Cardinals took advantage of strong starting pitching and timely hitting. This time, Eric Harrington impressed, allowing only two Penn State runs on four hits through 5.2 innings. Junior Heath Johnson (Alamagordo, N.M.) was the only Nittany Lion to post multiple hits as his 2-for-4 performance ups his hitting streak to seven games.
Junior Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) drove in one of Penn State's runs with an RBI double while freshman Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.), sophomore Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.) and junior Mario Eramo (Houston, Texas) picked up the Lions' other base knocks.
Penn State junior lefty Calvin Grumley (Johnsonburg, Pa.) impressed through the first four innings, but got into trouble in the fifth. In total, he tossed 4.1 innings, allowing four runs (all earned) on five hits.
Lamar took advantage of a stolen base to take at 1-0 lead after one inning of play. With runners on the corners, Ryan Meade broke for second base. The Nittany Lions caught him in a rundown for the third out of the inning, but Aaron Buchanan snuck in the back door for the first run of the game.
The Cardinals tacked on a run in the third behind a sacrifice fly from Buchanan that scored Ted Zentek, who led off the inning with a bunt single.
Steranka cut the lead in half with a towering solo home run in the fourth inning, but Lamar came back with a six-spot off three different Penn State pitchers in the bottom of the fifth to open up an 8-1 advantage. After junior Jesse Alfreno (Grove City, Pa.) struck out Meade for the second out, the following three batters walked to force in a pair of runs. Joey Latulippe followed with a two-run single then Zentek hit a two-run double to round out the scoring.
Penn State wouldn't quit as it plated a run in the top of the sixth to make it 8-2. Johnson led off with a single, stole second and scored on Heath's double to left-center field. The Lions nearly made it more with runners on the corners, but Montesinos' two-out sinking liner to right field was snagged by Quentin Luquette for the third out of the inning.
The Nittany Lions tacked on their third run in the ninth when senior Louie Picconi (North Merrick, N.Y.) hit a sacrifice fly to plate DeBernardis, but it wasn't enough.
The squad now travels to College Station to face Texas A&M for a mini two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both games are set for 7:35 p.m. ET. Check back to GoPSUsports.com for a complete news and notes surrounding the upcoming matchup with the Aggies.
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