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March 15, 2009
BOCA RATON, Fla. -
The Penn State baseball team split a four-game series with a win over Rutgers 7-3 at Florida Atlantic University Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. With a record of 8-8, the Nittany Lions return from their spring swing with a record of .500 or more for the first time since the 2000 season, which they made an appearance in the NCAA Super Regionals.
Cory Wine went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs for the Nittany Lions. Wine reached base in four of the five at-bats he had in the final game of the series.
Calvin Grumley earned his first victory of the season. Grumley pitched seven innings and allowed three earned runs while sitting down four batters.
Penn State poured four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to secure a 6-3 lead. Wine added to his string of RBI base hits this trip with a single in the right-side infield gap to give the Nittany Lions an advantage. Blake Lynd ran out a ball hit up the middle of the infield, and Grant Youngblood bunted safely. Mike Deese, who walked, totaled Penn State's fourth run of the frame during a fielder's choice off the bat of Wes Borden.
The Scarlet Knights out-hit the Nittany Lions by a 9-7 rate. The Penn State pitching staff stranded 11 Rutgers runners on base.
Jesse Alfreno supplied his first collegiate save with a two inning, scoreless appearance in relief of Grumley.
Rutgers broke open the scoring in the top of the first when Michael Lang beat out a weakly hit groundball to third baseman Jordan Steranka. Dan Betteridge drove Lang home with a line-drive single to centerfield.
Grumley dissipated a Scarlet Knights' threat an inning later when Rutgers loaded the bases via two walks and a base hit. Grumley jammed Pat Biserta into a pop out to second baseman Louie Picconi.
Picconi tied the game in the Nittany Lions' second set of at-bats with a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield. Wine and Steranka started with back-to-back singles and were moved along by a well-placed bunt by Borden.
Penn State took the lead for the first time in the fourth inning. Rutgers' Charlie Law plugged Wine before Steranka drilled a pitch into deep right-center field to advance the Nittany Lions to a 2-1 lead. Law retired Bobby Jacobs and Landon Nakata, respectively, to leave the bases filled.
Rutgers regained the lead with a 3-2 advantage in the sixth inning. Vinnie Sangemino was hit by a pitching, followed by a Ryan Kapp double over the head of leftfielder Deese, allowed Brandon Boykin to knock a sacrifice fly that rightfielder Grant Youngblood caught on the run. Lang singled home the go-ahead run as the Scarlet Knights jumped ahead by one run.
Youngblood stymied Rutgers' challenge in the seventh when he made a feet-first diving catch in rightfield and gunned down the Scarlet Knights' runner on his way back to first base.
Alfreno notched his first collegiate strikeout in the eighth inning. Alfreno relieved Grumley in a scoreless eighth and ninth innings for a save.
Penn State returns to action next weekend when it opens its home schedule at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park against New York Tech.
Game notes: Grant Youngblood extended his hitting streak to 15 games. It marks the fourth longest hitting streak to extend over multiple seasons in Penn State history. Youngblood also had six putouts on the game in rightfield.