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March 24, 2009
KENT, Ohio - Jordan Steranka cranked his first career grand slam, and Mike Lorentson won his first game of the year for the Nittany Lions as they defeated Kent State, 9-2, at Schnoover Stadium at Mural Field. Penn State, now standing at 12-8, wins its fourth-straight game as it cruised by with help of a seven-run fourth inning.
Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Blake Lynd (Deer Park, Texas) and Rick Marlin (Orlando, Fla.) each tagged three hits. Lynd produced two RBIs and Marlin touched home twice. Eight of Penn State's starting nine garnered hits.
Lorentson (Springfield, Pa.) pitched 7 2/3 innings, scattering five hits and two earned runs along the way. Combined, Lorentson and Jesse Alfreno (Grove City, Pa.) issued one walk.
The Nittany Lions put seven runs on the scoreboard in the fourth inning, highlighted by Steranka's first career grand slam, to make give Penn State a 7-1 lead. The first nine batters for Penn State reached safely. Mike Deese (Roswell, Ga.) grounded his second single up the middle during the game and stole a base before the bases were loaded with a walk to Cory Wine (Stillwater, Okla.) and a hits-batman to Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.). Steranka blasted his second home run of the year to clear the bases as his grand slam drifted over the leftfield wall.
Michael Glantz (Marietta, Ga.) followed suite with a double and the Nittany Lions posted five consecutive singles, capped by a two-RBI single into the left-side hole by Landon Nakata (Honolulu, Hawai'i) to make it a 7-1 game in the Nittany Lions' favor.
Kyle Hallock took the loss for Kent State (13-5). The Golden Flashes end their five-game winning streak.
The two teams will play again on Wednesday, April 1 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
The Nittany Lions flashed its defensive prowess in the first inning. With a runner on first base with one out, Lorentson caught Greg Rohan looking before Bobby Jacobs (West Chester, Pa.) gunned Jimmy Rider at second to end the frame.
Kent State struck first in the bottom of the second inning. Anthony Gallas bagged a single up the middle of the field and scored the game's first run from a finely hit sacrifice bunt by Jared Humphreys.
The Golden Flashes attempted to immediately cut into the Nittany Lions' six-run lead in the fourth as third-team Louisville Slugger All-American Greg Rohan crushed a solo shot that sailed over the 385-foot sign in left-center field.
Glantz made three consecutive putouts, including one groundball deep into the left-side hole, to make each out in the fifth inning.
Penn State's leather proved exceptional again in the sixth inning, as Lynd made a spectacular shoestring catch on the run in center to stave off the Golden Flashes, which put two runners on base.
The Nittany Lions' defensive skills were matched in the top half of the sixth when Jared Humphreys shut the door on Lynd at home, rifling the ball from centerfield to home without a hop.
With only one scoring inning through seven, Penn State sported two in the eighth. Lorentson received support from Marlin, who dented the right field wall with his first double of the season. After Jacobs was pegged, Lynd manufactured two runs with a seeing-eye single beyond the reach of second baseman Jimmy Rider.
Alfreno relieved Lorentson with two down in the eighth. Alfreno retired one of the two batters for his second strikeout of the season.
Penn State hits the road tomorrow to play Temple at 3 p.m. in Ambler, Pa.