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March 7, 2012
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Despite having a 6-3 lead heading into the seventh inning, Penn State baseball (2-9) gave up four runs in the seventh and three runs in the eighth to lose by a score of 10-6.
Sophomore Greg Welsh (Holland, Pa.) tossed a very solid game against a strong Mississippi State lineup. The lefty pitched a career-high 5.1 innings, giving up just two runs and four hits. He also fanned four batters.
In the top of the first inning, Penn State jumped on the board quickly. Sophomore Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) started things off with a base-hit. Junior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) hit his first double of the season to advance Snyder to second. With one out, DeBernardis lined a base-hit to centerfield to score Snyder and Searer. It was DeBernardis' team-leading eighth and ninth RBI of the year. Penn State had a 2-0 lead.
Penn State did more damage in the top of the second inning. Junior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) ripped a hard ground ball to the shortstop, who bobbled the ball. With one out, sophomore Zach Ell executed a hit-and-run to perfection, drilling it by the first baseman down the right field line. Runners being on first and third gave freshman JC Coban (Boca Raton, Calif.) a great RBI opportunity. He executed it successfully, hitting a ground ball to the right side to score Montesinos. Penn State had a 3-0 lead. The RBI for Coban was the first of his career.
In the third inning with runners on first and second, Mississippi State's Adam Frazier successfully converted a hit and run to get the Bulldogs on the board. Darryl Norris then grounded out, but scored a runner to cut Penn State's lead to 3-2.
In the top of the fourth inning, senior Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) led things off with a double the other way over the left fielder's head. The Nittany Lions from there on out did a nice job of manufacturing a run. Montesinos and freshman JJ White (Lansdowne, Va.) each hit balls to the right side of the infield. Steranka scored on White's contact, giving the freshman his first career RBI. Penn State had a 4-2 lead.
Welsh fought hard on the mound all night. Most notably, in the fourth inning, there were runners on first and second base with one out. Welsh struck out the next two batters to escape the jam. In fact, Welsh punched out the side that inning.
Then in the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs' C.T. Bradford lined a ball down the right field line. The speedy Bradford got greedy and attempted to go for the extra base. Ell hosed him at second base, giving him his second outfield assist of the season. Mississippi State went down in order after that, as Penn State maintained its 4-2 advantage.
Penn State put together two more runs in the seventh inning, as the Nittany Lions would load the bases with one out. Searer forced a walk, scoring pinch runner freshman Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.). Then, with senior Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) up, a catcher's interference was called, scoring Ell, who singled earlier in the inning. Penn State had a 6-3 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Mississippi State loaded the bases with no outs. The Bulldogs would score three to tie the game up with six. Then with one out, Mitch Slaughter fouled out to Steranka. Home plate was not covered, and Braden Jones made a heads up play by tagging up and scoring. That would be the game-winning run for the Bulldogs.
Penn State is off on Thursday, but will be back in action this Friday for the beginning of a three-game series with UAB.
Student season ticket sales for the 2012 season will begin on March 12 and continue through March 16 at the HUB, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Season tickets are just $20 and each student that purchases them will get a Penn State Baseball three-quarters sleeve t-shirt, tickets to 19 home games, a free hot dog and soda at Friday home games and two batting practice sessions with the team.
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