PSU Overpowers WVU, 8-4, to Remain Perfect at Home
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 8, 2014 - The Penn State Nittany Lions (16-14, 4-1 Big Ten) used a big five-run third inning to take the lead in Tuesday's non-conference clash against West Virginia (16-12, 2-3 Big 12) and never look back, as the squad kept its home record unblemished in 2014 with an 8-4 victory over the Mountaineers. The 8-0 start to the year is the best since the 1979 season, when Penn State's team won its first eight home games.
The Nittany Lions received strong performances both at the dish and on the mound in the midweek win. The Blue and White batters combined for 13 hits, with eight of its nine hitters picking up at least one base knock. Senior Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) led the charge, going 2-for-4 in the batter's box to drive in two runs and score two runs off a triple and double.
The Penn State hitters produced from the top to bottom of the lineup, as James Coates (Girard, Ohio), J.J. White (Landsowne, Va.), Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.) and Alex Farkes (Boston, Mass.) each picked up two hits and either scored or drove in a run. Ryan Richter (Wayne, Pa.) also turned in a notable evening, reaching base in all four plate appearances, going 1-for-1 with a walk and two hit by pitches.
Starting pitcher Geoff Boylston (West Chester, Pa.) turned in his best performance of his Penn State career in his first start as a collegiate pitcher. The junior went a personal best 5.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs off six hits, while striking out one.
Both the Mountaineers and Nittany Lions wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as each team plated a run in the first. The Mountaineers used one hit, a Penn State error and a sacrifice fly to push the game's first run across the plate. Penn State responded with two walks and a clutch two-out RBI single into left from Haley to score Snyder and knot the score at 1-1.
West Virginia retook the lead in the ensuing inning, scoring two runs in the top of the second to go on top 3-1. The Mountaineers used three consecutive one-out singles to take the two-run advantage.
The Blue and White trimmed the West Virginia lead to one at 3-2 in the bottom of the second off an RBI single to plate Richter and then grabbed its first lead of the night in the following frame, posting five runs to open up a 7-3 advantage. Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) started the scoring with a double to the gap in deep left center to score two followed by an RBI single through the left side from Farkes to bring in the third run of the stanza. Snyder put the exclamation mark on the third with a two-run triple to right to increase the Penn State lead to four runs.
The seven runs are all Penn State needed, as Boylston and Dakota Forsyth (Bethel Park, Pa.) allowed no runs over the next five innings to put Penn State on the doorstep of its 16th win of the season.
Penn State added an extra insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning off a single from White to score Snyder and increase the Nittany Lion lead to 8-3.
West Virginia managed to score one run in the bottom of the ninth to make it a four-run contest, but that is as close as Penn State allowed the visitors to get, bringing in Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) out of the bullpen to get the final two outs of the game and give Penn State its 11th win in its last 13 games.The Blue and White are back in action this weekend, as the team travels to its neighboring state for a three-game set in Columbus against Ohio State. Game one is scheduled to begin on Friday at 6:35 p.m. with game two of the series on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. The series will wrap up on Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. start in Columbus.