Penn State Splits Day Two Doubleheader at Bucknell
March 23, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 23, 2014 - The Penn State Nittany Lion baseball program split the second doubleheader of the weekend against Bucknell, dropping the first game by a final of 1-0 in seven innings before bouncing back and claiming a 6-2 win to wrap up a busy week.
Penn State's two games were the fifth and sixth of the week and 13th and 14th game in the last 17 days. The Nittany Lions finished the week with a 5-1 record and have now won 22 of the last 23 meetings against their intrastate rivals from Lewisburg.
Game One: The Nittany Lions were unable to turn in one of their best pitching performances of the season into a win in the third game of the weekend series against the Bison. Senior pitcher Greg Welsh (Holland, Pa.) tossed his second complete game of his career, going six innings, scattering three hits and one walk, while allowing no earned runs in the shortened seven inning game.
Unfortunately for Welsh, Bucknell's Andrew Andreychik was just as dominant, going the distance with seven innings pitched, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out five to pick up his second win of the season.
The game's only run came in the bottom of the fifth, as the hosts effectively used small ball to plate the only run of the game. The Bison's Anthony Gingerellie reached on a leadoff single and then moved him to second off a sacrifice bunt. The baserunner advanced to third on a passed ball and came around to score on Bucknell's second sacrifice bunt of the season.
The one run is all the Bison needed, as Andreychik shut the door tossed perfect sixth and seventh innings en route to the 1-0 win.
The loss snapped Penn State's four game winning streak and also ended the Blue and White's run of 21-straight victories in the head-to-head series with the Nittany Lions.
Game Two: After struggling in game one on Sunday, the Nittany Lions' offense came to life in game two of the doubleheader. Penn State scored six runs through the first three innings of play, plating one in the first, four in the second and one in the third to open up an early 6-0 lead and went on to win by a final of 6-2.
A pair of first year players had solid game's at the plate, as Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.) and Alex Malinsky (Apex, N.C.) were the two Nittany Lions with multi-hit performances in the final game of the four-game set. Haley went 3-for-4 at the plate and scored two a team-high two runs. Malinsky picked up two hits and drove in a run and scored a run in the winning effort
The Lions were opportunistic in the top of the first, scoring the opening run off no hits. James Coates (Girard, Ohio) reached base on a passed ball, as he struck out swinging. The junior then moved to second on a throwing error by the Bucknell pitcher and advanced to third on a balk. J.J. White (Landsowne, Va.) grounded out to first, allowing Coates to score the opening run.
In the second stanza the Lions used back-to-back singles from Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) and Haley to with no outs to start the frame. Zach Ell (Plains, Pa.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position before a costly error scored Skerpon to give Penn State a 2-0 lead. After a single from Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) loaded the bases, another Bison error allowed the Nittany Lions to score their third run of the frame and keep the bases juiced. White then picked up his second RBI of the game off a sacrifice fly to open up a comfortable 5-0 lead.
The Blue and White added to its lead in the third inning to go on top 6-0. Haley and Ell posted two consecutive one-out singles to put runners on first and second. Tyler Kendall then stepped to the dish and delivered Penn State's third-straight single to score Haley for the team's sixth run.
The six runs proved to be more than enough for the Nittany Lions, as the pitching staff used three pitchers to hold the Bucknell bats in check. Nick Hedge (Winnetka, Ill.) started the game and threw four innings of shutout baseball, allowing three hits and no walks, while punching out three.
Ryan Harper (Texas City, Texas) picked up the victory, recording 2.2 innings of work with one earned run. The junior gave up four hits and a walk en route to his first win of the season and second of his Nittany Lion career. Freshman Dakota Forsyth (Bethel Park, Pa.) shut the door on the Bison offense in the remaining 2.1 innings, surrendering just two hits and no walks on the way to Penn State's 6-2 victory.The Nittany Lions will have nearly a week off to prepare for the start of Big Ten play. Northwestern comes to Happy Valley on Friday, March 28 for the first of a three-game series to kick off conference action. The first game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.