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April 20, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State baseball team scored 15 runs over the span of five innings on its way to a 15-9 win over Duquesne on Tuesday evening at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Five players finished with multiple hits, led by sophomore Jordan Steranka's (Pittsburgh, Pa.) career-high tying four. Sophomore Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) also went 2-for-4 with a triple, home run and five RBI in the Lions' (15-20, 2-7 Big Ten) final-ever game against Duquesne. Penn State returns to action on Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. in a nonconference tilt against Mount St. Mary's.
The Dukes learned prior to this year that their program has been cut, effective following the season. Tuesday marked the 48th and final meeting between the two Pennsylvania rivals who used to be conference foes in the Atlantic 10 until 1994, the Nittany Lions' first season in the Big Ten.
Deegan's five RBI were a career-high and only the third time this season a Nittany Lion batter has driven in five or more in a game.
"[Deegan] really looked good tonight," said head coach Robbie Wine. "He wasn't trying to do too much and he stuck with it. I was happy with his performance."
Junior Mario Eramo (Houston, Texas) chipped in three RBI, going 2-for-3 with a double, while Steranka scored two and drove in one along with his four singles.
Also getting into the act was sophomore Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.), who tied a career-high with three hits (in six at-bats) while scoring twice and driving in one. Junior Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) reached base three times via a walk, single and hit-by-pitch and has now reached base safely in 22 straight games. Redshirt freshman Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) extended his hitting streak to 16 games (tied for 11th in school history), going 2-for-6 with three RBI.
Freshman Neal Herring (West Chester, Pa.) got his eighth start of the season on the hill, impressing through five full innings before running into trouble in the sixth. In the end, he earned his third win of the season by going 5.0 frames, allowing five hits and five runs (four earned). Penn State is now 6-2 in games he's started.
"It was good for him," said Wine about Herring's performance. "It's baby steps. He's getting better every time. He did a good job; he worked ahead and threw strikes."
Juniors Jesse Alfreno (Grove City, Pa.) and Mike Pierce (State College, Pa.) both saw action in the sixth while junior Heath Johnson (Alamagordo, N.M.) pitched a season-high two innings. Johnson was solid, allowing just one earned run with two strikeouts over the seventh and eighth. DeBernardis came in from first base for the ninth, retiring the side with one strikeout.
Duquesne was first to score in the top of the second, bringing in a run on an RBI groundout. Penn State answered in the bottom of the inning as a Steranka leadoff single and Eramo walk put runners on first and second for junior Michael Glantz (Marietta, Ga.). Two more walks scored Steranka to even the score. Searer then hit a fielder's choice to third, scoring Eramo to make it 2-1 in favor of the Lions.
Penn State tacked on another run in the third for the 3-1 advantage. Heath opened the inning with a walk, and a wild pitch moved him to second. After moving to third on a groundout, Eramo singled to left to plate Heath.
The Nittany Lions picked up some two-out lightning in the bottom of the fourth, starting when Deegan reached on an error, then stole second. With Deegan taking off on the pitch, DeBernardis hit a tough grounder to shortstop and beat the subsequent throw to first, allowing Deegan to come all the way around to score. After Heath was hit by a pitch, Steranka singled to right field, scoring DeBernardis. Eramo then connected on a deep fly ball to left-center that fell for a double and two RBI to put the Lions up 7-1 after four full.
The fifth inning saw more big bats from Penn State, as senior Louie Picconi (North Merrick, N.Y.) began with a leadoff single. Snyder reached on a fielder's choice, and Searer connected on a single to right field to put runners on first and second. Deegan did not waste the opportunity, taking the ball deep over the right-center field wall for a three-run home run, his third of the season, to put the Lions up 10-1.
Duquesne wouldn't quit as it plated seven runs in the sixth to pull within 10-8. A leadoff walk came home on a triple from Rick Devereaux, who scored on a single up the middle. A walk, hit batter, single and double later, Penn State found its nine-run cushion cut to two.
The resilient Lions bounced back in the bottom of the inning as an Eramo walk, Glantz single, and Snyder walk loaded the bases for Searer, who delivered with a single to left. Eramo and Glantz scored to bring Deegan to bat with runners on second and third. He delivered with a triple to left field, scoring two to put Penn State back on top by six. DeBernardis reached second on a fielder's choice, and scored on a Heath single through the right side to make it 15-8.
One run in the top of the eighth was the only other offense that the Dukes could muster, and the Lions left with park with the 15-9 win.
The Nittany Lions are right back to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park tomorrow (Wednesday) for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch against Mount St. Mary's. It is Greek Night and Dollar Nacho Night! Purchase your tickets today!
Season and individual game tickets are now available can be purchased online or over the phone. Please call 1-877-997-7453 or (814) 272-1711, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. for more information. Fans can also direct any additional questions or comments via phone, or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Baseball camp information is now available. Call the Sports Camp Office at (814) 865-0561 or email them at SportCampInfo@outreach.psu.edu for more information.
Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.