Nittany Lions Walk Off With Thrilling 6-5 Comeback Win Over Columbia
March 20, 2010
ROCK HILL, S.C. - Despite falling behind 5-0, the Penn State baseball team clawed the way back to tie the score before sophomore Joey DeBernardis' (Lake Zurich, Ill.) walk-off single gave the Nittany Lions a 6-5 win over Columbia at the Coca-Cola Classic on Saturday. The final run was Penn State's only lead of the game as the walk-off victory already marks the team's third of the season. The Nittany Lions are back in action later today (Saturday) at 6 p.m. against host Winthrop.
"I've been hitting the ball well, but it's been right at them," said DeBernardis. "I just tried to put the ball in play and hopefully get the run in."
Tied at five heading to the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) led off the inning with a triple to right-center field. After intentional walks to senior Louie Picconi (North Merrick, N.Y.) and sophomore Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.), DeBernardis came through with his second walk-off single of the season. He also ended the season-opener against Cincinnati in the bottom of the 12th.
After freshman Neal Herring (West Chester, Pa.) tossed the first four innings, redshirt sophomore Drew Irsfeld (Eugene, Ore.) followed with three one-hit innings. Freshman Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) pitched the final 1.2 innings for his second win of the season.
Entering with only one out and the go-ahead run at third base, Hill induced two popups to end the threat. Columbia then got runners on second and third with one out in the ninth, but Nick Ferraresi grounded to first and Alex Ferrera flew to right without any runners crossing the plate.
"It's one of the things you don't really practice, but you just have to go out there and compete," said Hill about pitching in pressure situations. "[You have to] relish the opportunity to go out there, help the team out and get us out of the pickle. It was definitely exhilarating.
"We have a lot of character and a lot of resilience," he continued. "When you're down 5-0, you can easily lay down and take a loss, but this team has a lot of fight. Another win to make it two in a row is big."
Deegan and junior Bobby Jacobs (West Chester, Pa.) led the way with three hits apiece while freshman Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) finished with a double and career-high three RBI. Eight batters recorded a hit while all nine reached base.
Columbia took advantage of some seeing-eye singles in the early going to jump out to a 5-0 advantage. Ferraresi led off the second inning with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Alex Black drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly while a two-out single by Jon Eisen plated Dean Forthum for a 3-0 lead.
Columbia added to its lead in the fourth when Black had an RBI groundout and Eisen followed with another RBI single. Further damage was averted when redshirt freshman Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) made a sensational catch in short right field and doubled up Eisen at second base to end the inning.
Freshman Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) got Penn State right back in the game with a bases-clearing two-out double in the bottom of the fourth to pull within 5-3. Juniors Mario Eramo (Houston, Texas), Jacobs and Heath Johnson (Alamagordo, N.M.) all reached base and scored on the two-bagger.
Penn State pulled to within 5-4 in the fifth when Eramo's RBI single scored Steranka. It looked like the Nittany Lions had tied the score when Jacobs doubled down the left field line, but a controversial bang-bang play at the plate went in favor of Columbia.
The Nittany Lions return to action later today (Saturday) at 6 p.m. against host Winthrop before playing in the Coca-Cola Classic consolation or championship game on Sunday, time to-be determined.
Season and individual game tickets are now available can be purchased online or over the phone. Please call 1-877-997-7453 or (814) 272-1711, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. for more information. Fans can also direct any additional questions or comments via phone, or by email (email@example.com).
Baseball camp information is now available. Call the Sports Camp Office at (814) 865-0561 or email them at SportCampInfo@outreach.psu.edu for more information.
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