Eramo, Dunn Lead Penn State Past Bucknell, 7-3
April 27, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A three-run bomb by Mario Eramo supported an outstanding start from freshman Tim Dunn as the Penn State baseball team wrapped up its homestand with another strong performance as the Nittany Lions toppled Bucknell, 7-3, on a cloudy Wednesday evening at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
In his first career start, Dunn held the potent Bucknell bats to just two hits and no runs over five stellar innings on the mound. He was supported on the offensive end by a huge five-run rally in the second, highlighted by Eramo's moon shot.
With the victory, Penn State (25-13) wrapped up its home stretch with a 6-3 record and moved to 12 games over .500 for the first time all year. On the other hand, Bucknell (21-25) saw its three-game winning streak snapped and dropped its 17th straight decision to PSU dating back to 1998.
After Dunn held the Bucknell offense in-check over the first two frames, the Penn State lineup unloaded in the bottom of the second. Bobby Jacobs worked a one-out walk before Luis Montesinos punched a single through the left side of the infield.
With a pair of runners on, Eramo stepped to the plate looking to do some damage. After working a full count, the senior slugger absolutely obliterated the next pitch. Blasting the shot straight into the driving wind, he still launched it well into the seats above the stacked wall in right.
Following that jolt, Penn State kept up its attack. After a single by Ryan Clark and a double by Elliot Searer put two men on, Blake Lynd chased in the fourth run with a groundout to second before Sean Deegan fired a two-out RBI single to right that capped the surge.
With a 5-0 advantage, Penn State cruised behind Dunn's left arm and a strong defensive performance. In the early innings, the gloves were on their game. Montesinos made a great out-stretched grab on a live drive smash up the middle in the first. With a runner on, Lynd made a nice catch on a full-out sprint to the warning track, which saved a run and ended the second.
Continuing the highlight reel performances, Searer made back-to-back gems in the third. The first came on a rocket to his left that he snagged on the run with full extension. The very next batter ripped a bullet to nearly the exact same spot on the field. This time, Searer gloved the ball on a hop, spun around to his left, and fired a perfect strike across his body to nail the runner by a stride.
Still clutching a five-run lead entering the bottom of the fourth, the Lion lineup quickly went back to work and tacked on two more runs. During the rally, Clark drove a double to left before Searer drew a walk. After a groundout allowed both runners to move up, Deegan blasted a shot towards first, which was momentarily mishandled and allowed Clark and Searer to sprint home.
Now holding a 7-0 advantage, Dunn posted his second perfect inning of the game after retiring the Bison in order in the fifth. After that, the southpaw handed the ball off to the bullpen to finish out the last four frames.
Although Bucknell was able to scratch out a run in the seventh following a leadoff triple by Justin Meier, the Bison never could put together a sustained rally. Two innings later, after Mike Pierce and Neal Herring made scoreless appearances out of the PSU bullpen, the visitors put together one last-ditch effort in the ninth.
Aided by a pair of Penn State miscues, Bucknell chased in two runs to pull within four at 7-3. Despite the late surge, closer Heath Johnson settled in and slammed the door shut. Eventually, he induced a groundball to third, which Jordan Steranka easily handled to clinch the non-conference victory.
Deegan finished the day with two RBI while also making a sensational diving grab on a shallow pop to left center. Clark also tallied two hits for Penn State, while Sam August recorded his first career base knock after lining a clean single to left in the eighth.
The game was delayed nearly an hour in the beginning after several weather advisories for the area. Penn State also spent some time battling a runaway tarp while trying to cover the field before the game. However, after order was restored following some Bucknell assistance and a great job by the grounds crew, the game was played at a crisp pace and completed without any further weather issues.
With their homestand in the books, the Nittany Lions will venture west for a crucial three-game series at Michigan State beginning on Friday at 3:05 p.m.