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|Duane Banks Field | Iowa City, Iowa | 364|
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IOWA CITY, IOWA – Penn State held Iowa scoreless until the seventh inning, but the Hawkeyes exploded for nine runs over the final two frames en route to a 9-1 victory over the Nittany Lions in Big Ten baseball action on a rainy and windy Saturday night in Duane Banks Field.
Penn State (14-29, 2-13 B1G) pounded out 11 hits but only managed the one run as 12 Nittany Lions were stranded on base. Left fielder Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.) and right fielder Braxton Giavedoni (Punxsutawney, Pa.) combined for six hits, as Riotto went 3-for-4 with a walk and the lone RBI, and Giavedoni went 3-for-4 with a walk and reached on an error.
Iowa (27-15, 9-6 B1G) also stranded 12 base runners, but was able to string together three hits and take advantage of a walk and error for four runs in the seventh for its first runs of the game. The Hawkeyes then added five more in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Penn State starting RHP Eric Mock (Shillington, Pa.) kept the Hawkeye bats in check through the first five innings, allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out seven and left the game with a 1-0 lead.
Second baseman Christian Helsel (Altoona, Pa.) and Riotto teamed up for Penn State’s lone run, which came in the fifth inning. Helsel moved into scoring position by drawing a one out walk and then advancing to second on a hit-and-run to avoid a double play, and he scored on a single through the right side by Riotto.
RHP Cole Bartels (Belmont, Mass.) (0-2) took over for Mock in the sixth and worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam with back-to-back strikeouts, but he was not as fortunate in the seventh. He retired the first two batters, but first baseman Jake Adams slugged his Big Ten-leading 16th home run of the season over the left field wall to tie the game at 1-1. Right fielder Robert Neustrom, who led Iowa with three hits on the night, followed with a fly ball to centerfield that was misplayed and able to drop in for a double, and then after a pair of walks loaded the bases, third baseman Matt Hoeg cleared them with a base hit to left that rolled to the wall on an error.
An error, RBI-hits by Adams and Neustrom and a two-run home run by Tyler Cropley resulted in five more Hawkeye runs in the eighth inning.
RHP Zack Daniels (7-2) earned the win in relief, yielding only a walk and striking out three over the final 2 1/3 innings. LHP Elijah Wood started for Iowa but was lifted after 3 1/3 innings, surrendering seven hits and a walk but not allowing any runs.
The first four innings featured several close calls with runners reaching but none scoring. The Nittany Lions opened with three base hits in the first inning, but had a runner thrown out at home to end it. The Lions then left two in scoring position in the top of the second, but Penn State first baseman Brett Davis (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) threw an Iowa runner out at home in the bottom half. A double play spoiled back-to-back one-out hits for Penn State in the top of the third, and Adams nearly homered in the bottom half, but Riotto gathered his deep fly against the wall in left despite the wind and rain. The Hawkeyes tried to rally with two outs in the bottom of the fourth with two runners in scoring position, but Mock earned his fifth strikeout to end the threat.
Each half-inning featured at least one base runner.
Penn State will not play a midweek game due to exams, but will return to action Friday evening against Minnesota, opening a three-game series Friday at 6:30 p.m. on Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Ticket options for the 2017 Penn State baseball season in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park are on sale at GoPSUsports.com or by calling the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park ticket office at 814-272-1711. Ask about the hospitality suite option for season ticket holders.
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