Nittany Lions Fall to Le Moyne, 10-6
March 25, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Jordan Steranka blasted a pair of home runs but his efforts were not enough to overcome five Penn State errors as Le Moyne plated four unearned runs on the way to a 10-6 victory over the Nittany Lions on a blisteringly cold Friday afternoon at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Steranka finished the day 3-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored, while Luis Montesinos also knocked in a pair to lead Penn State (12-7). Despite their efforts, Le Moyne (5-14) battled back from an early deficit and capitalized on three RBI from Kody O'Connor to take the first game of the three-game series.
Early in the game, Penn State proved to be the aggressor as the Lions pounced on Le Moyne with three runs in the bottom of the first. Sean Deegan dumped a double into shallow left before scoring when Montesinos lined a single to right. Steranka followed next by blasting a two-run shot to right center just above the 375-mark that gave the squad a fast 3-0 lead.
On the mound, Heath Johnson worked out of a few jams in the early going to keep the Dolphins off the board. In the first, Le Moyne put the first two runners on base, but Johnson induced a pop fly before the defense quickly flipped its league-leading 22nd double play of the season to end the threat.
Later, Johnson retired the side in order in the second, highlighted by a pair of strikeouts, before Le Moyne started to battle back in the third. Vincent Redmond was plunked by a pitch to start the inning, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a base hit by Pat Wiese. Two batters later, Brett Botsford fired his own single to left that drove in Wiese and pulled the visitors within one at 3-2.
One inning later, after Penn State went down in order in the third, the Dolphins battled back to take their first lead of the game in the fourth. After the squad loaded the bases with no outs, Penn State nearly avoided any damage after flipping a crucial 5-2-3 double play. Despite the nifty defensive stand, Le Moyne never relented. Redmond followed with a single to center that plated a pair and gave the squad a 4-3 edge.
Reeling from the setback, Penn State wasted little time responding as the hosts plastered their own two-spot on the board in the bottom of the inning. Elliot Searer was hit by a pitch to start the inning and quickly moved into scoring position after swiping second. Later, Montesinos knocked in his second run of the game after lacing a single to left before Steranka clubbed a double to left center that chased in another run and gave the Lions a slim 5-4 advantage.
Unfortunately, the lead was short lived as O'Connor drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth and another one with a ground out in the seventh to give the Dolphins a 6-5 edge. Although Steranka continued the back-and-forth affair in the bottom of the seventh when he cranked a solo blast to right center that evened the score at six, Le Moyne landed the final blow in the eighth.
During the rally, Wiese opened the scoring with an RBI single just inside the leftfield line. Following a walk that loaded the bases, Brian Stinson punched a shot to second that was mishandled and allowed two runs to score. Later, O'Connor continued his outstanding day at the plate with another RBI after poking a single through the right side that capped the four-run surge and gave the Dolphins a commanding 10-6 advantage.
With a healthy lead, reliever Mike Anarumo cruised on the mound. Although Penn State pieced together a minor scare in the eighth following a walk to Searer and a single by Deegan, Anarumo eventually worked out of the jam and finished off the game with a near perfect ninth to clinch the victory.
For his efforts, Anarumo (1-0) earned the win after scattering four hits and one run while striking out four in four innings of relief. Jesse Alfreno (0-1) took the loss despite allowing only one earned run in three innings on the hill.
The two teams will continue their series tomorrow at 1:05. Following the game, Le Moyne will face Albany in a nightcap.