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April 18, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following a challenging weekend in Michigan this past week, the Penn State baseball team responded with a gutsy, 7-6 win over Bucknell on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions (8-24) toughed it out against the Bison (13-34) through 12 innings, with redshirt senior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) batting in the game-winning run to earn the walk-off victory.
Two and half scoreless innings after tying the contest in the bottom of the ninth, a base hit to center field from sophomore J.J. White (Lansdowne, Va.) would put runners on first and third for the Lions in the bottom of the 12th. With freshman James Coates (Girard, Ohio) intentionally walked on the next play, Searer stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and the chance to win the game for his team. On the first pitch, the redshirt senior blasted the ball to the right center gap to drive home sophomore Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) for the 7-6 victory. It was Searer's sole hit of the night for his 10th RBI of the season.
A patient Penn State offense was backed by a strong pitching staff Wednesday night, with highlights including freshman Nick Hedge (Winnetka, Ill.) making his second career start and redshirt freshman Jordan Donmoyer (Lititz, Pa.) making his first ever career appearance. Hedge opened the first 2.1 innings, allowing one hit and one unearned run, while tying his career record of two strikeouts. Stepping in at the top of the sixth, Donmoyer held the Bison to one hit and struck out his first career batter in his one-inning performance. Redshirt sophomore Geoff Boylston (West Chester, Pa.) held Bucknell hitless in the 10th, with junior Tim Dunn (Coto de Caza, Calif.) closing out the final two innings. Dunn held the opposition to just one hit to earn his first win of the season.
Bucknell's Marcus Garone suffered the loss, closing out the final 3.1 innings with four hits and one earned run allowed. Garone struck out two after stepping in for Tucker Rekucki, who fired 2.1 innings with two hits and two earned runs while striking out five. Jack McLinden made the start for the Bison, going for 5.0 innings with four hits and three earned runs allowed.
In typical fashion, Penn State struck first to take an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. With Coates resting on third, senior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) doubled directly up the left field line to drive home the rookie for his 17th run of the season. It was Montesinos' 140th career hit, setting off what would be a stellar night for the senior.
Bucknell went on to knot the score at one in the third inning on an unearned run, and would eventually take a 3-1 lead by the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded, senior Carter Bumgardner reached first on a fielder's choice, earning an RBI as fellow senior Scott Glass crossed home plate to take the lead. A bunt single from sophomore Rob Krentzman would bat in junior Corey Furman for the two-run edge, but junior Ian Parvin (Irvine, Calif.) struck out Tommy Pennington to shut down the Bison's offense. It was Parvin's third strikeout in his 2.2-inning outing, setting a new Penn State career record for the junior.
With Donmoyer taking the mound to start the sixth, the redshirt freshman kicked off his first career appearance with a quick line-drive grab for the first out. The rookie closed the top of the inning by striking out Furman, giving the Lions the energy for their first rally of the contest. Back-to-back singles from redshirt junior Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) and sophomore J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.), as well as a Bucknell error, would eventually put runners on second and third for Penn State with Montesinos up to bat. Earning his second RBI of the contest, the senior grounded out to Robb Scott as Snyder advanced home. Sophomore Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) would post his 15th career RBI immediately after, reaching on an infield error to allow Coban to tally his 10th run of the season. With the contest now tied, two consecutive walks would load the bases as White stepped up to the plate. The sophomore drove the ball well into right field for a base hit RBI, with Skerpon scoring to give Penn State a 4-3 lead to end the sixth inning.
Threatening the Lions' victory in the top of the eighth, the Bison tallied three runs to regain the lead for a 6-4 advantage. Penn State's bullpen kicked into gear, however, with redshirt senior Cody Lewis (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) holding Bucknell hitless in ninth to put his squad in prime position to come back in the bottom of the inning. With the bases again loaded for the Lions, Garone walked Skerpon to give the sophomore his second RBI of the contest as Snyder crossed home plate. Now down just one run, freshman Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) grounded into a double play, allowing Coban to score and tie the game at 6-6.
With defensive support provided by Boylston and Dunn, Penn State was able to hold off Bucknell in the extra-innings, with Searer's clutch walk-off RBI sealing the win for the Lions in the bottom of the 12th. Montesinos led the squad at the plate, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two doubles. The senior notched his 20th career double in the bottom of the 11th, making it the third time in his career he has tallied two doubles in a single contest. Coban and Snyder each scored twice in the non-conference matchup, while Skerpon also earned two RBIs. Coates, Coban and White, along with Montesinos, each posted a multiple-hit night, as well.
The Lions return to action on Friday, April 19th when they host Iowa for a three-game Big Ten set. Friday's first pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m. to kick off Blue-White Weekend, while Saturday and Sunday's contests begin at 2:05 p.m. and 12:05 p.m., respectively.
Promotions: Friday night is $1 Dog Night at Medlar Field, with the first 500 fans receiving a FREE appetizer voucher to the Texas Roadhouse at the gates. There will be post-game fireworks, as well, to celebrate Blue-White Weekend. Saturday is Penn State's annual Wounded Warrior Game. The same camouflage hats worn by the team will be sold for $20, with all proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warriors Project. Every ticket sold to Sunday's THON Sluggers Game will donate $1 towards THON.
Tickets: Season tickets for students are just $20, with Student General Admission tickets starting at $2 and Student Bleacher tickets at $1. Season tickets for Adult General Admission start at $63, while Adult General Admission tickets are sold for $4. For fans interested in the Diamond Club "In the Box" seats, single games start at $6 and season tickets will be sold for $99. Youth General Admission and Season tickets are the same cost as student tickets. Single game tickets can be purchased at the Spikes' Box Office or via the Tickets page on GoPSUSports.com.
Check back to GoPSUSports.com for continued updates during the 2013 season. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/PennStateBASE and find us on Facebook at facebook.com/pennstatebaseball.