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|Medlar Field at Lubrano Park | University Park, Pa. | 955|
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State third baseman Willie Burger (Lancaster, Pa.) went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, but Minnesota once again used early runs to defeat the Nittany Lions, completing a series sweep with a 12-4 victory in Big Ten baseball action Sunday afternoon on Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Minnesota (29-15, 12-6 Big Ten) scored three runs each in the first three innings to build an early nine-run cushion. Third baseman Micah Coffey continued his hot hitting by going 3-for-3 with a double, RBI, run, walk and hit-by-pitch to reach in all five plate appearances. Shortstop Joe Vavra also went 3-for-3, adding a walk, sacrifice fly, triple, two RBIs and four runs. Left fielder Jordan Kozicky and first baseman Toby Hanson both had two-hit, three-RBI games.
Penn State (14-32, 2-16 Big Ten) outscored Minnesota over the remaining innings though, led offensively by Burger, who assembled his second career four-hit game and the first in a Big Ten contest. Left fielder Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.) went 2-for-5 with an RBI, run and double, and centerfielder Mason Nadeau (Lansdale, Pa.) went 2-for-4 with a walk and run.
An RBI-single by Hanson and a pair of errors resulted in a three-run opening frame for Minnesota. Penn State loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but none scored. Kozicky (single), Vavra (triple) and Coffey (double) followed with consecutive, one-out RBI hits in the second for a 6-0 advantage, and then Kozicky drove in two more in the top of the third and Vavra added a sacrifice fly for a 9-0 lead.
The fourth was scoreless but Hanson drove in two more with a double in the top of the fifth for an 11-0 advantage.
Penn State was able to get on the board in the bottom half on an RBI-single by Burger. The Nittany Lions then scored two more in the sixth. Shortstop Logan Goodnight (Wheeling, W.Va.) led the frame off with a double to the left gap, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Alex Malinsky (Apex, N.C.). Nadeau followed with a two-out single and then stole second, allowing him to score from second on a double down the right line by Riotto.
Minnesota added a run in the seventh and Burger drove in another run in the ninth for the final margin.
RHP Reggie Meyer (3-0) pitched the first 4 2/3 innings for the Golden Gophers and yielded one run on four hits and four walks, while RHP Eric Mock (0-4) suffered the loss. RHP Nick Distasio (Oley, Pa.) struck out six in 3 1/3 innings of relief for Penn State and LHP Blake Hodgens (Tampa, Fla.), RHP Schuyler Bates (Ossining, N.Y.) and RHP Myles Gayman (Greencastle, Pa.) held Minnesota hitless over the final 3 1/3 innings.
Penn State will play its next five games away from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, starting with a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday against West Virginia. The first game will be played in Morgantown starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, while the Wednesday game will start at 7 p.m. in PNC Park, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tickets to the PNC Park game are available for $10 for the general public, $7 for Penn State and WVU season ticket holders, partners, donors, alumni and faculty as well as Pirates season ticket members, and $2 for students of either university. Tickets will be general admission and are available at Pirates.com/collegebaseball.
Fans can enter PNC Park through the Peoples Gas Home Plate Gate at the corner of Mazeroski Way and General Robinson starting at 6 p.m. Limited concession stands will be open on the main concourse.
Just four home games remain for the Nittany Lions. Tickets can be purchased at GoPSUsports.com or by calling the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park ticket office at 814-272-1711.
Check back to GoPSUSports.com for continued updates on Penn State Baseball. Follow on Twitter at @PennStateBASE and Facebook at Penn State Baseball.