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April 25, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State baseball team dropped its fourth consecutive game as Illinois defeated the Nittany Lions by a score of 11-5 in front of 2,749 on Saturday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Illinois out-hit Penn State by a margin of 17-7. The Nittany Lions managed to score five runs off of Illinois starter Will Strack, who came into today's game with a 2.00 ERA.
Five players for Illinois had multi-hit games. Casey McMurray had four hits, and Willie Argo, who had a home run in the first game of the series, blasted two home runs for five RBIs on the game.
Illinois clinches the series with a game to go. The Fightin' Illini move to 25-12 overall and 10-4 in the Big Ten. Penn State falls to eighth place in the Big Ten with a 21-18 record and 5-9 in conference play.
Mike Lorentson took the loss, giving up four earned runs in four innings. Jesse Alfreno, who played in the football team's Blue/White Game hours earlier, pitched two-third of an inning without allowing a runner.
Illinois tallied five extra base hits. A double by Boonie and a bases-clearing triple by Nakata were the Nittany Lions' only extra-base knocks.
Illinois jumped out to a six-run lead through the first four innings. The Nittany Lions cut the deficit to four when Cory Wine (Stillwater, Okla.) reached on one of two errors by Illinois second baseman Josh Parr. Steranka moved him along with a base hit up the middle before Boonie sliced a double down the left line to score two.
Penn State came within two runs and eventually had the tying run at the plate in the seventh inning. Rick Marlin (Orlando, Fla.) found open real estate in left field to get the first runner of the frame. A walk to Wes Borden (Charlotte, N.C.) yielded a two-out RBI single by Blake Lynd (Deer Park, Texas). Nakata then cleared the bases as he drilled a pitch to the leftfield nook to make it a 7-5 game.
The Fightin' Illini scored four runs in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach. Alfreno came in to end the damage with two-thirds of perfect work.
Ben Heath gunned down one runner in the fifth. Only six of Illinois' 27 ours were groundball outs.
Penn State and Illinois close out the series on Sunday morning at 11 a.m at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Paul Cianciolo (Charleston, S.C.) makes his first Big Ten start for the Nittany Lions.