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May 5, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Penn State baseball (24-22, 10-7) clinched its fourth-straight Big Ten series on Saturday evening, defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers by a score of 5-1 at Target Field. Penn State is a season-high three games over .500 in Big Ten play and two games over .500 overall.
Junior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) was dominant on the mound for the Nittany Lions. The junior picked up his fifth win, and his fourth win in his last five starts. Hill went 7.1 innings, striking out seven batters and allowing just seven hits. The one run he gave up was unearned. Senior Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.), senior Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.), junior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) and junior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) each recorded two hits for the Nittany Lions in the victory. Searer's two hits were doubles.
In the top of the second, the Nittany Lions put together four hits and converted on some Minnesota miscues to score three runs. Steranka led things off with a single and then advanced two bases on a failed pick-off attempt. Freshman Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) would drive Steranka in with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Later in the second inning, Montesinos reached base on a single, stole second and then moved to third base on a passed ball. Freshman JJ White (Lansdowne, Va.) followed with an RBI base-hit to right centerfield. Junior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) provided the big hit of the inning, an RBI double to left centerfield scoring White from first. Penn State had a 3-0 lead through two innings.
In the top of the sixth, Penn State would add another run. Montesinos reached on his second base-hit of the game. He would advance to second on a groundout and then stole third. With two outs, a wild pitch scored Montesinos to give the Nittany Lions a 4-0 lead.
The Lions would do more of the same in the top of the seventh inning. Sophomore Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) singled, stole second and then advanced to third on an errant throw by the catcher. With DeBernardis at the plate, Snyder scored on another wild pitch to up the Penn State lead to 5-0.
Minnesota would add one in the bottom of the eighth. Sophomore Tim Dunn (Newport Beach, Calif.) came in to relieve Hill and get the final two outs of the eighth.
Penn State closes out its series with Minnesota tomorrow at 2:05 p.m. ET. Junior John Walter (Haddonfield, N.J.) will make the start for the Nittany Lions at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome.
Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.
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