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April 5, 2014
(5-21, 1-4 B1G)
West Lafayette, Ind. Alexander Field Attendance: 1,409
(15-13, 4-0 B1G)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.; April 5, 2014 - The Penn State Nittany Lions kept their hot streak of play alive on Saturday afternoon, taking both games in the doubleheader to remain perfect in the Big Ten. The 4-0 conference record is the Blue and White’s best start in program history.
With the two victories the Nittany Lions won the season series against the Boilermakers for the first time since May of 2007 and will try to sweep Purdue for the first time in program history in tomorrow’s final game of the series. Penn State has now won six-straight games and 10 of its last 11 contests.
GAME ONE: Penn State put turned in its best pitching performance of the season in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, as Tim Dunn (Coto de Caza, Calif.) and Dakota Forsyth (Bethel Park, Pa.) combined to toss a one-hitter in a 2-1 victory. The win improved the Nittany Lions’ Big Ten record to 3-0 for the first time in program history.
Both starting pitchers were dominant through the first five innings of the game, with Purdue’s Jordan Minch and Penn State’s Dunn dueling to a 1-1 tie. Both starters allowed just one hit through five frames.
The hosts were the first to get on the scoreboard. After two scoreless innings from both pitchers, the Boilers scraped the opening run across the dish. Purdue used a Penn State error followed by a bunt single and double steal to put runners on second and third with no outs. The Boilermakers scored the first run off a sacrifice fly from Sean McHugh to score Steve Maniago.
The Nittany Lion bats were silenced through the first four frames, as Minch held Penn State hitless. With two outs and no one on in the fifth, Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) provided the Blue and White with its second baserunner of the game, as the junior got hit by a pitch. Novak then swiped second on a delayed steal, his first of the season, to give the Lions a runner in scoring position for the first time on Saturday. Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.) then stepped up and chopped a single through the middle to score Novak to tie the game at 1-1 for his first RBI in his collegiate career.
The Nittany Lions escaped what could have been a huge inning for Purdue in the bottom of the sixth. The Boilermakers loaded the bases with no outs off two walks and a hit by pitch. Dakota Forsyth came in to get a huge double play off a lineout to J.J. White (Landsowne, Va.), who then tagged the runner on first. The next hitter grounded out to Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) at second to allow the Lions to get out of the inning with no damage done.
After surviving the scare, the Blue and White took its first lead of the game in the top of the seventh. Greg Guers led off the frame with a single to left field and then moved to second on Kendall’s successful sacrifice bunt. Haley then ripped a double down the left field line into the corner to score Guers and give Penn State the 2-1 lead.
The second run proved to be all Penn State would need, as Forsyth absolutely stymied the Purdue bats, allowing no hits in four innings of work and walking just one batter on the way to the 2-1 win.
GAME TWO: After the pitcher’s duel in game one, the Nittany Lion bats awakened in the second stanza for their second biggest inning of the season, posting six runs in the frame. Penn State scored its first three runs off five consecutive base knocks from Haley, Skerpon, Kendall, Zach Ell (Plains, Pa.) and Alex Malinsky (Apex, N.C.). James Coates capped off the second in grand fashion, blasting his first career home run over the right field wall to open up a commanding 6-0 advantage. The home run is Penn State’s third of the season, with the previous two coming off the bat of White.
Jann cruised through the first three innings, retiring the first nine batters in order, before running into some trouble in the fourth. The Boilers recorded five singles to score four runs off the junior, causing the Lions to bring Ian Parvin (Irvine, Calif.) in on relief with runners on second and third. The senior got the first batter he faced to groundout back to him to end the Boilermakers’ big inning and hold onto the lead at 6-4.
Purdue cut further into the Lions’ lead in the bottom of the fifth, using a Sean McHugh double and Kyle Johnson single to make it a one-run game at 6-5.
The Blue and White’s Parvin and Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.), respectively, got big double plays in the sixth and seventh innings to keep the Purdue offense off the board. Anderson then allowed a baserunner in both the eighth and ninth, but kept the Boilermakers off the board en route to the 6-5 victory and doubleheader sweep.
Penn State wraps up its series with the Boilers on Sunday in a game that will be featured live on BTN and can be heard on State College ESPN 1450. The third and final game is slated to start at noon in West Lafayette, Ind.