Nittany Lions Drop Middle Game to Iowa, 9-3
May 8, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After shutting out Iowa for the first three innings, the Hawkeyes came alive with five runs in the middle frames on their way to downing the Penn State baseball team, 9-3, on Saturday at a windy Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Freshman Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) and sophomore Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.) each extended their hit streaks to nine games in the loss. Three Lion (21-24, 8-9 Big Ten) players finished with multiple hits, including junior Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) who went 2-for-4 with his first triple of the season. The teams round out the series on Sunday at 11 a.m., live on the Big Ten Network.
One of DeBernardis' two hits left the yard for his second home run of the season, while he also doubled in the sixth. He was one of three Nittany Lions who finished 2-for-4, including Heath and sophomore Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.).
Freshman pitcher, Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) enjoyed a strong first three innings, but struggled from that point forward, allowing five runs over his next 2.2 innings of work. He finished with five strikeouts, one shy of his career-high. Juniors Mike Pierce (State College, Pa.), Heath Johnson (Alamagordo, N.M.), and Calvin Grumley (Johnsonburg, Pa.) came out of the bullpen to finish the game.
Penn State came out swinging, scoring a quick first-inning run, but it wasn't until the sixth until it scored again off Iowa (20-25, 7-10 Big Ten) starter Nick Brown, who threw 7.0 strong innings, allowing only two earned runs. The Hawkeyes started slowly, but scored all nine of their runs over the final six frames in cruising to victory.
Snyder got everything rolling with a one-out single in the bottom of the first, already his fifth hit of the series. Sophomore Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) followed with a single of his own, moving Snyder to third. Heath continued with the inning's third single to score Snyder, making it 1-0.
Iowa had runners on first and second with only one out in the second, but Hill responded by striking out Tyson Blaser and Trevor Willis to end the threat.
With the bases loaded and none out in the fourth, a Mike Corbeil double play ball scored Mike McQuillian to even the score at one. Ryan Durant then scored on a pass ball to give Iowa its first lead of the series, 2-1.
The Hawkeyes added to their lead in the fifth when Kurtis Muller crossed the plate on a single by McQuillan. Durant then bunted to advance Zach McCool and McQuillan to second and third and Phil Keppler followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1. Penn State had a golden opportunity to pull closer in the fifth when junior Michael Glantz (Marietta, Ga.) walked and Deegan followed with a double down the line. Both were stranded, however as Brown retired the next two Lion hitters.
In the sixth inning, two straight two-out triples - by Kurt Lee and Muller - gave Iowa its fifth run of the game. Pierce came out of the bullpen and promptly struck out McCool for the third out to keep Muller stranded in scoring position.
The Nittany Lions pulled within 5-2 in the sixth when Heath hit his first triple since his freshman season and later scored on a wild pitch.
Johnson came in to relieve Pierce in the seventh inning in his first outing since Apr. 25 at Ohio State. Iowa's Durant stole second base after singling earlier in the inning, but couldn't score as Johnson struck out pinch hitter Sean Flanagan for the inning's third out.
Tyson Blaser scored on a Muller eight-inning double to widen the margin at 6-2.
Iowa added three insurance runs in the ninth when McQuillan and Durant scored on Keppler's two-run single. Keppler later came homeward on a Lee RBI single.
With the Nittany Lions down to their last three outs, DeBernardis responded with a home run to right-center field, his second long ball of the season. It wasn't enough as Zach Robertson finished the ninth, retiring Picconi on a groundout to end the game.
Penn State will finish its seven-game homestand on Sunday in the third and final game against Iowa. Gametime is set for 11:00 a.m. at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park and will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. Purchase your tickets today!
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