Baseball Takes First Big Ten Series With 7-4 Win Over Iowa
April 21, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Winning its first Big Ten series of the season, the Penn State baseball team posted a 7-4 victory over Iowa on Sunday afternoon, with sophomores J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) driving in four runs in the fifth inning for the edge. The Nittany Lions improve to a 10-25 overall record with a 2-10 mark in conference play, while the Hawkeyes move to 14-20 and 2-9.
Breaking a 2-2 stalemate in the bottom of the fifth, Coban and Skerpon each posted a 2-RBI double to pull away from the Hawkeyes. Setting the game-changing inning in motion, junior Alex Farkes (Boston, Mass.) and freshman James Coates (Girard, Ohio) hit consecutive bunt singles to lead off, followed by redshirt junior Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) reaching on an infield error on an attempted sac bunt. With the bases loaded, Skerpon blasted a hit to deep center field for his fourth double of the season, driving home Coates and Farkes for a 4-2 lead. Coban immediately followed up with a well-hit double down the left field line, the 70th hit of his career, bringing home Snyder and Skerpon to pull ahead to 6-2.
Coban led his squad at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Farkes went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Coates, Skerpon and sophomore J.J. White (Lansdowne, Va.) each went 1-for-3, combining for three runs and three RBIs. Extending a six-game hit streak, Snyder collected one hit, an RBI and one run.
Earning the win for the Lions, junior Greg Welsh (Holland, Pa.) moves to a 2-3 record on the season and now sits with a 3.13 ERA. Welsh fired 5.2 innings before he was relieved by redshirt senior Cody Lewis (Laguna Niguel, Calif.), allowing six hits and two earned runs with three strikeouts. Lewis earned his second save of the season in his 3.1-inning outing, striking out five while allowing just two hits and one earned run. He now holds a 2.31 ERA with an opposing batting average of .195.
Iowa was first on the board in the series finale, posting two runs in the top of the third. The Lions had previously escaped a bases-loaded situation to hold off the Hawkeyes in the second inning, but were unable to halt an offensive surge kicked off by an infield single from sophomore Eric Toole. Toole eventually rested on second as Keith Brand stepped up to the plate, with the junior ripping a hit to right center. With Toole scoring on the play, senior Dan Sheppard went on to bat in sophomore Jake Yacinich with a base hit to right field, giving the Hawkeyes a 2-0 lead.
Penn State answered immediately in the bottom of the inning, with a sac bunt from Coates moving Farkes to second and White to third. White crossed home plate has Snyder grounded out to Iowa's Nick Roscetti, cutting the scoring deficit to one run. Farkes went on to tie the game with a run on a base hit from Coban, with the sophomore earning his first of three RBIs, setting the score at 2-2 heading into the fourth inning.
Following the Lions' four-run showing in the fifth, the Hawkeyes went on to score once more in the top of the eighth, with Jake Mangler's run moving the score to 7-4 in favor of Penn State. However, the Hawkeyes were unable to bridge the gap in the ninth inning, with Lewis catching Sheppard looking to end the game and give the Lions the victory.
Penn State returns to action on Tuesday, April 23 when it hosts La Salle for a non-conference game at 6:05 p.m. at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. On Wednesday, April 24, the Lions will welcome Mount St. Mary's for a 6:05 p.m. contest, before heading back out on the road to Ohio State for a weekend Big Ten series from April 26-28. Tuesday's contest is ROTC Night, with student's from Penn State's ROTC being recognized during the game, while Wednesday is a CODE Blue Blast. Free pizza from Rotelli's will be available outside of the Medlar gates and students will earn three CODE Blue points when they swipe in.
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.