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May 6, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Despite having a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning, Penn State baseball (24-23, 10-8) was unable to hang on and dropped the final game of its series with the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday. Penn State exits the weekend winning its fourth-straight Big Ten series. The last time the Nittany Lions accomplished that feat was 2007.
Junior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) recorded three hits in the victory and drove in a run. Freshman Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) recorded two hits in the loss. Junior John Walter (Haddonfield, N.J.) pitched 5.1 innings in his start, giving up three earned runs and striking out two.
In the bottom of the fourth, Minnesota had a great opportunity to put some runs up on the board. The Golden Gophers loaded the bases with one out. Michael Handel lined a ball that was heading towards the right centerfield gap, but junior Montesinos made a phenomenal leaping catch and threw the runner out at first for a double play.
Penn State had a near identical opportunity a half inning later. In the top of the fifth inning with one out, junior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) continued his great weekend with a base hit. Senior Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) worked a walk and sophomore Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) singled to load the bases. However, a double play groundout would end the inning.
Minnesota was the first team to strike, scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on first and third, Andy Henkemeyer doubled down the right field line to give the Golden Gophers a 1-0 lead.
Nevertheless, Penn State would capitalize in the top of the sixth. With one out, Novak ripped an RBI double into the left field gap to give the Lions a runner in scoring position with one out. Montesinos hit an RBI single to left field to tie the game up at one. Montesinos, who advanced to second on the throw home, scored on an RBI single by sophomore Alex Farkes (Boston, Mass.). Penn State had a 2-1 lead at that point.
Minnesota then broke the game open with a two-run sixth, four-run seventh and one-run eighth to take an 8-2 lead. The Gophers had back-to-back homers in the bottom of the seventh. Coming into the game, Penn State had not given up a homer in Big Ten play.
Penn State returns to Happy Valley on May 11, 12 and 13 for the final home series of the year against Illinois. Nittany Lion baseball will be honoring a ticket exchange with Penn State softball as both teams are home that weekend. All ticket stubs bought at softball can be used for free entry at baseball and visa versa. PSU softball hosts OSU on Friday at 4 p.m. for a doubleheader while Penn State baseball hosts Illinois on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday softball is at 1 p.m. for Senior Day, while baseball continues its three-game series Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday afternoon (1 p.m.). The ticket stubs can be used any day of either game. Penn State baseball's Senior Day will be on Sunday.
Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.
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