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April 20, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State baseball team roped five doubles, including three that plated runs, as the Nittany Lions continued their homestand with a 4-2 victory over ACC foe Maryland on a beautiful Wednesday evening at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Michael Glantz tallied two doubles and knocked in a pair to lead Penn State (22-12). Joey DeBernardis also went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI. Their efforts supported a strong pitching performance by Neal Herring as the sophomore tossed 4.1 pristine innings of relief to keep Maryland (17-22) in check.
Before Herring took the hill, Penn State also benefited from a nice effort from starter Mike Franklin. After retiring the Terps quickly in the first, he worked out of a tight jam in the second to quiet the Maryland attack. The visitors had the makings of a rally after the first two batters reached base. Despite the threat, Franklin looked sharp. Mixing a nice array of pitches, he sent the next three Terps down swinging to keep the squad off the board.
After avoiding any damage in the top of the inning, Penn State quickly got things rolling in the bottom half. Following a leadoff walk to Alex Farkes, Ryan Clark drilled an RBI double to right center that opened the scoring.
Holding a modest one-run lead, the Lion lineup went right back to work in the bottom of the third. After Luis Montesinos singled to center and Jordan Steranka worked a walk, DeBernardis crushed a double to center that missed leaving the yard by less than a foot. On the play, Montesinos came around to score, while Steranka settled in at third.
Although Maryland nearly avoided any more damage following a strikeout, Glantz came through with a crucial two-out double. On the first pitch of the at bat, he fired a shot to right that dropped into an open space between the rightfielder and the chalk line. As the ball rattled around for a moment, both runners came sprinting home to give the hosts a 4-0 lead after three innings.
Although Maryland cut its deficit in half in the top of the fourth on a two-run double by Charlie White, Penn State immediately handed the ball to Herring, who cruised from there. He retired the side in order in the fifth and allowed a meaningless two-out single in the sixth before cutting down the next seven consecutive batters he faced.
During that roll, he was assisted on the defensive end by Steranka. In the top of the eighth, the Lion third baseman flashed some leather to help Herring continue his streak. On the first play, Maryland's Michael Montville drilled a line drive into the hole, but Steranka went down to his knees and made a quick stab to his left to snare the rocket. One batter later, Austin Kilbourne fired a ball to the exact same spot. Once again, Steranka went to his knees. This time, he fielded the shot on a hop, spun to his left, and regained his footing before firing a strike to first.
One inning later, the Terrapins tried to assemble a comeback bid in the ninth, but once again, Steranka's glove halted their efforts. After Maryland put the first runner on, Jake Stinnett laced a hopper to the opening between short and third. For the third time in two innings, Steranka ranged to his left, cut off the laser, and eliminated the lead runner attempting to advance to second.
With one down, the Nittany Lions called on freshman southpaw Geoff Boylston to seal the win. The first-year reliever did his job to perfection as he struck out the first batter he saw before inducing a game-ending ground out to second.
For his efforts, Boylston earned his first save of the season, while Herring (1-0) picked up his first win. He eventually struck out four and allowed just one hit over 4.1 innings on the mound. Eric Potter (3-6) suffered the loss for Maryland after allowing four runs in three innings of work.
Penn State will return to action on Friday when the Nittany Lions open up a crucial three-game series with Big Ten rival Ohio State at 6:35 p.m.