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March 9, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas - The Penn State baseball team split a doubleheader against Houston Baptist on Saturday afternoon, winning 8-4 in the first nine-inning contest and falling 11-10 in the 10th inning of game two. The Nittany Lions (5-9), who win the series against the Huskies (6-8-1) 2-1, were led by senior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Pa.) as he pitched the seventh complete game of his career in the opening contest.
In his nine-inning performance, Hill improved to a 4.44 ERA and allowed nine hits with four earned runs to earn his first win of the season. The senior struck out eight batters, six of which were consecutively recorded between the sixth and eighth innings. Offensively, the Lions were led by senior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.), who recorded his first career home run in the second game and came away from the day with three runs, four hits and five RBIs. Redshirt junior Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) posted three runs, four RBIs and three hits in the two contests, while sophomore Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) tallied four runs and five hits.
Penn State opened the 8-4 victory with three runs in the top of the first. Skerpon kicked things off with the first double of his career, smashing the ball to the left field wall and moving Snyder to third. Montesinos followed with a single through the left side, batting in Snyder for an early 1-0 lead. The Lions extended that lead to 2-0 moments later with a single to center field from sophomore J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.), which allowed Skerpon to advance home from third. Freshman James Coates (Girard, Ohio) tallied his ninth RBI of the season on a hit to center field, with Montesinos scoring his 65th career run for a 3-0 lead.
Both squads would go on to score in the third inning, with sophomore J.J. White (Lansdowne, Va.) recording his first career triple for an RBI as Montesinos scored, but the Huskies would tie the game up in the bottom of the fourth. Curtis Jones stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second, and singled to center field to bat in Mike Chamberlain. With the score sitting at 4-2, Josh Martinez grounded out to senior Matt Paradise (San Clemente, Calif.) for an RBI, as Samm Wiggins crossed home plate. A run from Jones following a single from C.J. Jarvis would knot the score at four, but the inning would conclude as Jarvis was thrown out at second.
Taking back the lead in the seventh, Montesinos came up to bat with the bases loaded. As the senior reached on a fielder's choice, with Skerpon out at second, junior Alex Farkes (Boston, Mass.) moved the score to 5-4 as he scored his second run of the season. Snyder would take advantage of a wild pitch moments later, giving Penn State a 6-4 lead. Hill remained unyielding on the mound, striking out the side in the bottom of the inning to shut down the Huskies.
Two more runs in the final two innings would seal the win for the Lions, with junior Zach Ell (Plains, Pa.) recording his 10th career RBI and Coban posting his third double of the season for an RBI. The game concluded as Hill caught Garrett Tully looking for his eighth strikeout of the day.
The second contest would prove to be full of highs and lows for Penn State, with Montesinos posting his first ever career home run in the top of the first. As Skerpon rested on first following a single to left field, the senior hurled the ball over the left field wall for two RBIs. Additionally, Coban would go on to record his 50th career hit in the inning.
Houston Baptist would gain control the next few innings, however, responding with five unanswered runs by the third. Josh Foust posted the second home run of the first inning, leading off for the Huskies with a huge hit past the left center wall. A scoring streak would begin for the home squad as Wiggins doubled to left field in the bottom of the second, allowing Mike Chamberlain to score and tie the contest 2-2. HBU took a 5-2 lead by the end of the third, with Jordan Hebert and Luke Clements each posting an RBI.
Snyder earned two RBIs in the top of the fourth, singling to center field to bring home redshirt freshman Ryky Smith (York, Pa.) and Coates. However, the Huskies would score another four runs between the fifth and seventh innings, giving Houston Baptist a 9-4 lead heading into the eighth.
The Lions came roaring back despite the deficit, with Smith scoring as redshirt senior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) was walked. With the bases still loaded, Snyder stepped up for Penn State and sent a hard hit to left field, with Coates and Searer scoring to give him his third and fourth RBIs of the game. The redshirt junior's hit would draw a fielding error, allowing Ell and Snyder to advance home to tie the contest at 9-9.
After five runs scored in the eighth, Penn State gained enough momentum to hold the Huskies off in the ninth inning and force a 10th. Despite a triple to left field from Montesinos that resulted in Skerpon scoring, Houston Baptist would post two runs in the bottom of the 10th to capture the win. The score rested at 11-10 in favor of the Huskies.
The Lions return to action on Saturday, March 16 when Penn State travels to Temple for a doubleheader beginning at noon. Penn State will then take on Saint Joseph's on Sunday, March 17. The squad will travel to Pittsburgh on March 19 before opening at home on March 20 against Akron.
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