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March 9, 2010
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Despite shutting out Big 12 power Texas A&M through three innings, the Aggies' offense exploded in the fourth and wouldn't look back as they went on to down the Penn State baseball team, 17-3 on Tuesday evening at Olsen Field. A pair of bunt singles sparked A&M's (10-2) four-run fourth-inning rally to open the scoring. The Nittany Lions (4-4) look to bounce back Wednesday evening at 7:35 p.m. ET as redshirt senior Mike Wanamaker gets the start for the first time since the 2008 season.
Sophomore Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.) led the way with two hits while fellow sophomore Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.), juniors Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) and Mario Eramo (Houston, Texas), freshman Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) and redshirt freshman Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) all chipped in with a hit.
Freshman John Walter (Haddonfield, N.J.) showed flashes of brilliance on the mound, tossing four innings while allowing four runs on five hits with two strikeouts. He retired nine of the game's first 10 batters before a pair of bunt singles led to the Aggies' first runs of the game.
Inopportune errors extended A&M's innings and led to nine unearned runs, three against each Penn State relief pitcher. The Nittany Lion offense didn't lack chances, but was unable to cross the plate until the ninth inning. In the second, Montesinos reached second with only one out. Heath then hit a third-inning double, but was stranded. The Lions had runners on second and third with none out in the seventh, but A&M reliever Shane Minks struck out three in a row.
Despite trailing 17-0 heading to the ninth, the Nittany Lions continued to fight, scoring three times to avoid the shutout. DeBernardis led off with a single and Eramo walked, leading to a long Montesinos single to score DeBernardis. Searer followed with an RBI single to right in his first-career at-bat. Montesinos later crossed the plate for Penn State's third run.
After both pitchers breezed through the first three innings, Texas A&M got to Walter for a four-spot in the bottom of the fourth. The inning started with bunt singles by Scott Arthur and Brodie Greene. Joe Patterson followed with a single to load the bases before Caleb Shofner cleared them with a double into the right-center field gap. The fourth run scored on an RBI groundout.
The Aggies doubled their lead in the sixth with four off sophomore Ryan Ignas (North Wales, Pa.) to take an 8-0 advantage. With a runner on third and only one out, Ignas struck out Shofner for the inning's second out. Kenny Jackson followed with a seeing-eye single through the right side and after Brett Parsons reached on an error, Kevin Gonzalez followed with a three-run home run.
Penn State tried to get back into the game when DeBernardis and Eramo opened the seventh with a single and double, but Minks struck out three consecutive hitters to keep them stranded.
The Aggies tacked on six insurance runs in the bottom of the inning beginning with Joe Patterson's three-run home run to right field, scoring Arthur and Greene. They made it 12-0 when pinch hitter Gregg Alcazar's single scored Shofner. Kevin Smith followed with a two-run double to left-center field for their 13th and 14th runs.
Texas A&M rounded out its scoring in the eighth with a three-run home run from Matt Juengel.
The Nittany Lions look for the series split on Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Wanamaker is set for his first start since the 2008 season opposite the Aggies' Clayton Ehlert. Live streaming video, audio and GameTracker will all be available.
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