Penn State Wins Big Ten Opener Over Wildcats, 7-3
March 28, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 28, 2014 - The Penn State Nittany Lions (11-13, 1-0 Big Ten) continued their winning ways at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Friday evening, winning a 7-3 contest over Northwestern (4-18, 0-1 Big Ten) in the Big Ten opener to remain undefeated at 5-0 in home games. Penn State’s 5-0 start in Happy Valley is the best since the 1997 season, when the team started 6-0. The win marks head coach Rob Cooper’s first Big Ten win of his Penn State career.
The key to the game for the Lions was patience at the plate. The Blue and White drew a season-high 12 walks on the way to the victory. PSU’s one and two hitters in the lineup, Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) and Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) each drew three free passes to combine for three of the team’s seven runs.
Other standouts at the plate were J.J. White (Landsowne, Va.) and Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.). Both White and Guers each recorded two base hits, two RBIs and one run to propel the Nittany Lion offense.
On the mound, T.J. Jann (Westford, Mass.) earned the start and went 4.2 innings. Senior Ian Parvin (Irvine, Calif.) came in on relief and completely stymied the Northwestern hitters. Parvin tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball, giving up just two hits and two walks. Over the past week the senior has now recorded 8.1 innings of action, allowing a total of three hits and no runs.
The Wildcats wasted little time in getting their offense going, as the visitors posted two runs in the top of the first. After a strikeout from Jann to start the inning, Northwestern recorded back-to-back singles to put runners on first and third. The next Wildcat hitter, Jack Livingston, doubled down the left-field line to clear the bases and put Northwestern on top 2-0.
Both starters cruised through the next two frames and then the Penn State backs came to life. The Lions led off the bottom of the fourth frame with a single from White followed by a double from Guers to put runners on the corners with no outs. Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) drove in the Nittany Lions’ first run off a groundout to the second baseman to plate White. The Blue and White leveled the score off a James Coates (Girard, Ohio) double to right center to tie the game at 2-2.
Northwestern and Penn State each put up one run in the fifth to move the score to 3-3. The Wildcats took advantage of two wild pitches and then an infield single from Livingston to score Zach Jones and briefly give the visitors the lead. The Nittany Lions matched Northwestern in the bottom of the inning, scoring a run off a one-out single from White to knot the score at 3-3.
Parvin tossed a scoreless sixth and then the Blue and White posted its biggest inning at the plate of the evening, scoring four runs to take a 7-3 lead into the seventh. The Nittany Lions batted around in the sixth, sending 10 hitters to the dish. Penn State took its first lead of the game off an RBI single from Alex Malinsky (Apex, N.C.) to put the Lions on top 4-3. PSU then drew three-straight walks to score the second run of the inning, followed by a single from Guers through the right side to plate the Nittany Lions sixth and seventh runs of the game to give the Blue and White a four-run lead.
After Penn State built its four-run cushion, Parvin shut down the Northwestern bats the rest of the way, as the senior pitched a scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth to deliver the Nittany Lions their sixth win in their last seven games.
The Nittany Lions will be back in action tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. for game two of the three-game set against Northwestern, as the start time has been moved up four hours from the originally scheduled 2 p.m. start due to the chance of rain later in the day.