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March 9, 2014
Moraga, Calif. Louis Guisto Field Attendance: 222
MORAGA, Calif.; March 9, 2014 - The Penn State offense woke up for the third and final game of the series at Saint Mary’s, as the Blue and White scored at least a run in six of the first seven innings en route to a 9-6 win over the Gaels.
Leading the way for the Nittany Lions at the plate was Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.), who reached base safely in his first five plate appearances with three hits and two walks. The sophomore used a double and two singles to drive in two runs and came around to score two himself.
Two other standout players in the batter’s box for Penn State were Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) and Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.). Guers went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored and Skerpon scored a career-best three runs off a hit and two walks.
Another huge reason for the Penn State victory was reliever Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.). The sophomore came in on relief in the fourth inning with one out and completely shut down the Saint Mary’s offense. Anderson was masterful, pitching a career-high 5.1 innings, allowing two hits, no walks and striking out a personal-best six hitters on his way to a team-high three wins on the season.
For the first time all series, Penn State was the first team to make a mark on the scoreboard on Sunday, as the Blue and White pushed a run across the plate in the top of the first frame. With Skerpon on first after a one-out walk, James Coates (Girard, Ohio) perfectly executed a hit-and-run with a single into right center to put runners on the corners. Skerpon then scampered home off a passed ball to put the Lions on top 1-0.
In the bottom of the frame, Zach Ell (Plains, Pa.) made one of Penn State’s best defensive plays of the season to keep Saint Mary’s off the board. With a runner on first, Anthony Gonsolin drove a ball deep to the right-center alley and Ell laid out to make a diving catch on the warning track to keep the Gaels’ offense at bay.
Saint Mary’s battled back in the bottom of the second, recording back-to-back hits with two outs to level the score at 1-1.
The Penn State offense immediately responded and retook the lead in the top of the third, scoring three runs off four hits and an error in the frame. Skerpon led off with a single and then scored on a one-out single up the middle off the bat of Kendall, who then moved to third off a steal and wild pitch. Guers plated Kendall with a single up the middle and then came around to score off a Saint Mary’s error for the Lions third run of the frame.
Unfortunately for Penn State the lead was short lived. Saint Mary’s stormed back in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs off four hits and two walks to take a 5-4 lead. The Gaels were aided by two wild pitches in the inning.
Both the Nittany Lions and Gaels both scored a run in the fourth frame to move the score to 6-5. The Blue and White scored its run off a key double down the line from Kendall to score Skerpon.
The see-saw battle continued in the fifth inning, as Penn State scored two runs to take the lead for the third time on the afternoon at 7-6. Ell led off with a double over the left fielder’s head followed by Ryky Smith (York, Pa.) reaching by way of a hit by pitch. Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) singled in Ell to give PSU the lead followed by a sacrifice fly from Skerpon to score Smith and make the score 8-6.
The Nittany Lion offense continued to put pressure on the Gaels, as Penn State added a run in the sixth and seventh innings to give itself a three-run cushion at 9-6. In the sixth Kendall scored off a double to deep left center from Guers. The Lions ninth run came off a sacrifice fly from Guers, allowing Snyder to score on a play at the plate.
Anderson shut the door on the Gael offense, holding the hosts scoreless in the final five innings to secure his third victory of the season and deliver Penn State a 9-6 win, its fourth of the season.
The Blue and White has an off day on Monday to travel to Fresno to take on the Bulldogs of Fresno State in a midweek two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Both games are slated to begin at 9:35 p.m. ET.