Purdue's Bats Too Much for Nittany Lions in 18-7 Defeat
April 16, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Penn State baseball team scored five runs against one of the conference's top pitchers, but it wasn't enough as Purdue exploded for 18 runs over the first five innings to hand the Lions (14-18, 2-5 Big Ten) an 18-7 defeat in Friday's series opener at Lambert Field. Matt Bischoff, a two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, came in with a 2.09 ERA, third in the conference. Junior Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) had the first blow, a long solo home run to deep left-center field for his 12th of the season and third in the last two games, but the Boilermakers' offense continued to respond. The teams reconvene for game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m.
With his 2-for-3 performance, Heath extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games, good for sole possession of fourth place in school history. He is hitting .389 on the season, including .459 (34-for-74) during the streak. Only two Nittany Lions have ever recorded hit streaks of 20 games or longer, a list Heath hopes to join on Saturday.
The home run was his 12th of the season, which already ties him for eighth on the school's single-season list. With 21 regular season game still remaining, he is now only five away from tying the school record of 17 long balls set by Dave Simononis in 1978.
Sophomores Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.), Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.) and Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) all chipped in with a pair of hits. Steranka drove in two while DeBernardis hit a double in each of his first two at-bats to tie a career-high. Along with Heath's hitting streak, redshirt freshman Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) did extend his streak to 13 games while DeBernardis has now reached base safely in 23 consecutive games.
After the Lions' pitching struggled in the early going, juniors Jesse Alfreno (Grove City, Pa.) and Calvin Grumley (Johnsonburg, Pa.) combined to shut-out the Boilermakers over the final three innings.
Two-out hits were the story of the day as Purdue scored 12 of its 18 runs with two outs while the other six came with one gone.
Purdue got on the board quickly with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first inning. After Tyler Spillner led off the game with a double, Eric Charles hit an RBI triple to right to make it 1-0. Barret Arthur then drove in Charles with a sacrifice fly. Drew Madia followed with his first home run of the game to make it 3-0.
The Nittany Lions answered right back with three in the second to even the score. Heath led off with a monster solo home run to left-center field, his third in the last two games. Two consecutive doubles, by DeBernardis and junior Mario Eramo (Houston, Texas), made it 3-2 while junior Michael Glantz (Marietta, Ga.) tied the score with a sacrifice fly.
Madia's second home run of the game, this time a two-out grand slam, gave Purdue a 7-3 advantage after two full innings.
Penn State answered in the third with two of its own to pull back within 7-5. This time, Steranka drove in redshirt freshman Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) with a double while DeBernardis' second double to right-center plated Steranka.
A two-out Jon Moore triple scored Cameron Perkins while a bad hop off the bat of Spillner found its way into right, scoring Moore to make it 9-5 after three innings.
The Boilermakers added to their lead with six unearned runs in the fourth. After a two-out error extended the inning, Angelo Cianfrocco hit a two-run double and Perkins followed with an RBI double to make it 12-5. Nick Overmyer drove in the 13th run with an RBI single while Moore hit a fly ball to left-center field which carried over the wall to make it 15-5.
Purdue added three more in the fifth to make it 18-5, but Penn State wouldn't give up. After shutting down the Boilermakers over the next three innings, the Lions plated two in the ninth for the 18-7 final.
The Nittany Lions continue their series on Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.) before returning to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for a midweek contest with Duquesne next Tuesday, April 20th. First pitch will be at 5:35. Purchase your tickets today!
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