Penn State Overpowers Old Dominion, 10-4
March 9, 2011
NORFOLK, Va. - Despite falling behind by four runs in the early going, the Penn State baseball team showed great resolve and fired 10 unanswered runs on the scoreboard as the Nittany Lions cruised to a 10-4 victory over Old Dominion on a gloomy Wednesday afternoon at the Bud Metheny Complex.
Sean Deegan led the offensive attack, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored for Penn State (7-4). With that performance, he extended his hitting streak to 13 games dating back to last season. Alex Farkes also reached base safely in each of his five plate appearances, highlighted by a crucial go-ahead two-run double in the fifth.
Following a rough start to the game during which Old Dominion (7-7) tossed four runs on the board, Penn State battled back with a tremendous offensive outburst in the middle innings. The Nittany Lions quickly used a pair of clutch two-out rallies to overtake the Monarchs.
Trailing 4-0 entering the fourth, Penn State landed its first blow. Joey DeBernardis drew a lead-off walk before the Monarchs retired the next two batters. Patiently, Penn State pieced together a rally as Farkes and Elliot Searer both worked free passes before Blake Lynd drew a third straight, which brought in DeBernardis for Penn State's first run of the game.
With the bags still packed, Deegan laced a two-run single through the left side that pulled the Lions within one at 4-3. After PSU starter Mike Franklin silenced ODU in the bottom of the inning, Penn State fired back to grab its first lead of the game with a two-run surge in the fifth.
Once again, the Nittany Lions did their damage with two down. Following walks to DeBernardis and Ryan Clark, Farkes came through with the biggest hit of the afternoon. In just his second start, the freshman catcher notched his first career hit after blasting a double into the leftfield corner, which allowed both runners to score.
Grasping to a slim one-run lead, Penn State blew the game open in the sixth. Lynd and Deegan both singled to start the inning before the two speedsters each swiped a bag to move into scoring position. Luis Montesinos followed with an RBI single before Jordan Steranka chased in a pair with a base hit to left. DeBernardis came through next and capped the rally with the team's fifth straight hit that gave the squad a 9-4 lead.
In the seventh, the Nittany Lions tossed another run on the board for good measure as the squad loaded the bases before Steranka reached on an RBI fielder's choice to give PSU a six-run cushion.
As the offense did its job, Franklin put together a gutsy performance on the mound. After allowing the four early runs, the junior southpaw never flinched. He continued to battle and grew stronger as the game went on. Eventually, he struck out the side in the fifth and sent two more down in the seventh before handing the ball off to the bullpen.
Franklin (1-0) earned the win after striking out six over seven innings of work. Joe Haumacher (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing six runs on six hits in two innings on the mound.
Although Penn State finished the game on a high note, Old Dominion got off to a fast start in the beginning of the contest. In the top of the first, Monarch starter Louis Singleton looked strong and sent three Nittany Lions down swinging before Josh Wright opened the scoring in the bottom of the frame with a solo shot to left.
PSU tried to respond in the top of the second with a two-out rally. Farkes drew a free pass before Searer ripped a shot to short. After the ball took a tough hop, both runners made heads-up decisions and advanced an extra base on the play. With two Lions in scoring position, Singleton escaped any damage after freezing the next batter on a called third strike.
After the Nittany Lions threatened ODU's lead, the Monarchs quickly tossed three more runs on the board in the second. Brent Frazier roped a lead-off single to center and advanced to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run. With runners on the corners, Jared Lipscombe chased in one with a single to left before Kenny Stoneback brought in another with a ground out. Later, Wright capped the scoring after dropping a beautiful bunt down the third base line, which gave the team a 4-0 lead.
Despite its early struggles, Penn State regrouped and came storming back as the team overtook Old Dominion with 10 straight runs to clinch the win and sweep the two-game series.
PSU will conclude its spring break tour this weekend when the squad heads across town for a four-game series with Norfolk State. The first game is on Friday at 4 p.m.