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|Monongalia County Park | Morgantown, W.Va. | 1702|
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mountain State native and Penn State freshman Logan Goodnight (Wheeling, W.Va.) hit a three-run home run in the second inning and the Nittany Lions manufactured the game-winning run in the top of the ninth without getting a hit to defeat West Virginia, 6-5, in non-conference baseball action Tuesday night in Monongalia County Ballpark
Penn State (15-32) extended its winning streak over West Virginia (27-20), dating back to 2014, to four, and earned its biggest win of the season, as the Mountaineers entered the game ranking 13th in the NCAA in RPI.
The Nittany Lions did not trail again after Goodnight gave them a 3-1 lead in the second inning on his first career home run. West Virginia trailed by three after Penn State added two more runs in the fifth, but the Mountaineers battled back with two runs in the sixth and a solo home run by third baseman Cole Austin in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 5-5.
That set the stage for a dramatic ninth inning. Second baseman Christian Helsel (Altoona, Pa.) was hit on the first pitch he saw and catcher Ryan Sloniger (Punxsutawney, Pa.) drew a four-pitch walk. Goodnight then struck out, but pinch-hitter Keith Leavitt (Manchester, Mass.) drew another walk to load the bases and bring the top of the order up to bat. Freshman centerfielder Mason Nadeau (Lansdale, Pa.) hit a potential double-play ball, but used his speed to beat out the throw to first and allow Helsel to score the go-ahead run.
RHP Dakota Forsyth (Bethel Park, Pa.) (4-2) kept the Mountaineers at bay in the bottom half, striking out the first two batters and inducing a fly out to end the game after surrendering a two-out single. He pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and struck out, allowing just the home run on two hits and a walk. LHP Taylor Lehman (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was strong out of the bullpen, working 1 2/3 innings and allowing two inherited runners to score but just two hits with two strikeouts. RHP Schuyler Bates (Ossining, N.Y.) worked the first five innings, only running into trouble in the sixth. He was charged with four runs on seven hits and a walk with one strikeout, but three of the seven hits came in the sixth.
West Virginia struck first as designated hitter Braden Zarbinsky extended the inning by beating out an infield base hit by a step with two outs. Zarbinsky moved into scoring position after the next batter walked, and right fielder Darius Hill singled to right drive him home.
Left fielder Nick Riotto doubled to lead off the second but the next two Nittany Lions were retired. However, Sloniger battled to an eight-pitch walk, allowing Goodnight to step to the plate. Goodnight delivered by sending a 2-0 pitch over the left field wall for a three-run home run.
West Virginia pulled within one in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by centerfielder Brandon White, but Penn State restored its three-run advantage the very next frame on RBI-hits by shortstop Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) and Riotto. Both came with two outs as the first two batters of the inning were retired before Nadeau singled up the middle, stole second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Hughes singled home Nadeau, advanced to second on a walk, and scored on a single to right by Riotto.
The Mountaineers cut the deficit to one again in the bottom of the sixth. The Mountaineers led the frame off with three consecutive base hits to load the bases. Head coach Rob Cooper went to the bullpen and brought in Lehman and he induced a first-to-home double play to put two outs on the board but leave two runners in scoring position. Shortstop Jimmy Galusky delivered with a base hit to the gap in right to score both to make it a 5-4 game.
Austin tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run, but Penn State pushed across the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth.
Penn State and West Virginia will next travel to Pittsburgh to complete their two-game series in PNC Park, 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.
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