Late Rally Pushes Illini Past Penn State, 8-3
April 19, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 19, 2014 - The Penn State Nittany Lions (17-18, 5-5 Big Ten) dropped game two of the series against Illinois (20-14, 8-3) on Saturday afternoon by a final score of 8-3. The Fighting Illini combined to score six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to come back and secure the win.
Penn State starter T.J. Jann (Westford, Mass.) had a solid outing, keeping the Nittany Lions in the game. The junior went six plus innings, allowing five hits and two walks. Jann was masterful in the middle of the game, retiring 11-straight hitters from the third through the sixth.
The Blue and White scored its three runs off nine hits. The only Nittany Lion to record a multi-hit game was senior standout Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.), who went 2-for-5 on the day. Junior Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) was the team leader in RBIs, as he drove in two runs off a single in the fourth.
After a five pitch scoreless first inning from Jann, the visitors managed to get on the board in the top of the second. Illinois used a one out double followed by a single into center off the bat of Ryan Nagle to score Reid Roper and give the Illini an early 1-0 lead.
Illinois doubled its lead one frame later, plating another run in the top of the third to increase its lead to 2-0. The Fighting Illini’s Will Krug led off with a single and then moved to third off a steal followed by a flyout. The junior came around to score on a sacrifice fly form Jason Goldstein.
The Nittany Lion bats were held in check through the first three innings but came to life in the bottom of the fourth to give Penn State its first lead of the afternoon. J.J. White (Landsowne, Va.) and Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) started the frame with a walk and single, respectively, and then moved up 90 feet off a sacrifice bunt from Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.). Skerpon provided the big hit for the Blue and White with a single to right field to score White and Guers and level the score at 2-2. Ryan Richter (Wayne, Pa.) capped off the scoring with a perfectly placed bunt single to score Skerpon and put PSU on top 3-2.
Jann silenced the Fighting Illini hitters in the fifth and sixth innings, pushing his streak to 11-straight batters retired. However, the first two Illinois hitters reached in the top of the seventh and the junior was relieved by Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.). The first batter Anderson faced recorded an infield single to load the bases with no outs. The sophomore then nearly escaped the inning, getting a strikeout followed by a groundout to keep Illinois from scoring. Unfortunately for Penn State, the next two Illini hitters came through with back-to-back two-run singles to take a 6-3 lead.
Penn State tried to fight back in the bottom of the seventh, as Snyder and White singled to bring the tying run to the plate in Guers with two outs. The sophomore then was retired via a groundout to second to end the threat.
The Fighting Illini added two more insurance runs in the top of the eighth, courtesy of a two-outs, bases loaded single from Krug to score two Illinois base runners and extend its lead to 8-3, the score it went on to win by.
Penn State and Illinois wrap up the three-game series on Sunday. The game is scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m. and will be broadcast live on BTN.