Nittany Lions Post Best Home Start Since 1997 With Two Wins
March 22, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 22, 2014 - The Penn State Nittany Lions picked up their eighth and ninth wins of the season on Saturday by taking both games of Saturday's doubleheader against Bucknell. The Blue and White won game one by a final of 7-2 and defeated the Bison in the second matchup 4-3
The two wins give the Nittany Lions a current winning streak of four games, the longest the program has had since May of 2012. The victories also stretch Penn State's head-to-head winning streak against Bucknell to 21-straight games. PSU also claimed both wins in a doubleheader on Saturday for the first time since it did it on March 28, 2012, taking two games against Coppin State at home.
Game One: The Nittany Lions received a number of great efforts on the mound and at the plate in the opening 7-2 win of the series. T.J. Jann (Westford, Mass.) and Ian Parvin (Irvine, Calif.) combined to toss nine innings with no earned runs. Jann went five innings, allowing four hits, two runs and three walks with six strikeouts in his first win of 2014.
Parvin was masterful in relief, going four nearly perfect innings. The senior held the Bison batters hitless, allowing just one walk over the four frames. Parvin ended the game by striking out the last seven-straight batters, a career high. The California native recorded the save in the win, his first as a Nittany Lion.
At the plate, Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) had his best game as a member of the Blue and White. The sophomore went 3-for-4 in the batter's box with a triple and two singles to drive in three runs and score two of his own. The three hits are the most Guers has recorded in a single game in his Penn State career.
Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) matched Guers at the plate with three hits of his own. The junior singled three times and drove in a run. Skerpon also swiped a bag on the basepath for his team-leading eighth of the season.
Both teams were held scoreless in the first frame and then opened up the scoring in the second stanza. Bucknell scored two runs in top of the frame off back-to-back passed balls to take an early 2-0 lead.
Penn State responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning to knot the score up at 2-2. Guers led off the inning with a single and then moved to second off a sacrifice bunt from Skerpon. With two outs, Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.) laced a double to right center and moved to third off a bobble from the right fielder. Ell followed by shooting an RBI single to center to tie the game.
The Lions took the lead in the third with some clutch two-out hits to open up a three-run lead at 5-2. Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) and James Coates (Girard, Ohio) reaced on back-to-back one-out singles to set the table for a big inning. With two outs Guers smoked a pitch to the right field wall for his second triple of the season to score the two Penn State baserunners. Skerpon followed with an opposite field flair to right field to score Guers for the third run of the inning.
Jann tossed a scoreless fourth and fifth frame to allow Penn State to hold on to its three-run lead.
After Parvin came in on relief to throw a scoreless top of the sixth, the Nittany Lion bats struck for two more runs in the bottom of the inning for a comfortable lead at 7-2. Penn State's two runs came with two outs, as J.J. White (Landsowne, Va.) fisted a single to the edge of the outfield grass past the second baseman to score Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.) followed by an opposite field single from Guers scoring Coates to give the Lions two insurance runs.
Parvin shut the door on the Bison batters with his seven consecutive strikeouts to end the game and deliver the Nittany Lions a 7-2 victory. The four innings of scoreless baseball gave Parvin the first save of his career.
Game Two: The Nittany Lions received a solid start from senior Tim Dunn (Coto de Caza, Calif.) in the second game of the afternoon, as the senior went five strong innings en route to his first win of the season. Dunn recorded a line of five innings pitched, scattering five hits and allowing one run and no walks while striking out two on Saturday in his first start of 2014.
At the plate, Coates featured for Penn State in the late afternoon game, going 2-for-2 with two runs batted in and a walk to help propel the Lions to the win. Other notable hitters were Snyder and Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.), as each player picked up two hits and scored a run. The three hitters combined for six of the Blue and White's nine hits in the seven inning game.
For the second-straight game, Bucknell was the first team on the scoreboard. The Bison's Sam Clark hit an infield single to shortstop to drive in Corey Furman to give the visitor's an early 1-0 advantage.
The very next inning Penn State took its first lead of the game at 2-1 off three hits. Coates had the big base knock of the frame, singling to right field to score Alex Malinsky (Apex, N.C.).
Neither team scored in the third and Penn State added two insurance runs in the fourth to get what proved to be an important three-run cushion at 4-1. A walk and an error to start the inning put the Lions in a good position early, as Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla) and Malinsky were on first and second with no outs. Snyder moved both runners over on a sacrifice bunt. Kendall came in to score on a passed ball and Malinsky then scored the second run of the stanza off a sacrifice fly to center from Coates.
Bucknell fought back into it in the top of the sixth, scoring twice to cut the Penn State lead to just one run at 4-3 in the seven inning affair. The Bison plated their two runs without a single ball leading the infield. The combination of a hit by pitch, walk and infield single led the visitors to their two scores.
However, one run is as close as the Nittany Lions would allow Bucknell to get, as Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) shut the door on the Bison bats in the top of the seventh to cement Penn State's 2-0 day and lock up his second save of the season.
The Blue and White is back at it tomorrow, as the team wraps up the four-game series against the Bison. The two sides will play Sunday's doubleheader at Bucknell with the first game slated to start at noon.