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May 11, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball (25-24, 11-8) picked up its fifth win in its last six Big Ten games with a 3-2 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday night at Medlar Field. With the game tied at two in the bottom of the sixth, senior Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) hit a solo homer to centerfield to seal a 3-2 win for Penn State.
In the bottom of the first, senior Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) got things started with a leadoff triple. Sophomore Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) hit an RBI groundout to the shortstop which gave the Nittany Lions a quick 1-0 lead. However, Illinois would come right back in the top of the second and tie the game up at one.
With sophomore Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) on first and one out in the fourth, junior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) reached first on an error, which moved Novak to third. Freshman JJ White (Lansdowne, Va.) followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Novak and giving the Lions a 2-1 lead.
Sophomore Joe Kurrasch (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) was relieved by sophomore Greg Welsh (Holland, Pa.) in the fifth inning after the Illini added a run to tie the game up at two. Kurrasch struck out six and gave up three hits in the no-decision. Welsh was flawless, going 2.2 innings of no-hit ball with three strikeouts as he picked up his fourth win of the season.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Steranka took a 2-0 pitch and drilled it over the centerfield fence, an estimated 430 feet for the game-winning run.
Junior Dave Walkling (Nanaimo, Canada) came in to relieve Welsh in eighth, attempting a five-out save. Walkling threw just 19 pitches and didn't give up a hit to pick up his third save of the season. The game-saving play came from Novak though in the eighth, Will Krug hit one to the gap in right centerfield. Novak came over from his left and made a highlight-reel diving catch for the third out of the inning. Illinois had the game-tying run at third on that play.
Game Notes: Dave Walkling has not allowed a run since April 14 and has held opponents scoreless in his last eight innings of work...Elliot Searer extended his hitting streak to seven games and has now reached base safely in his last 10 games...With two hits tonight, Jordan Steranka trails Michael Campo's school hits record by 14...Steranka's sixth inning home run gives him 30 for his career, tying him with Chris Wright and Michael Campo for fourth in the school record books...Steranka's six total bases tonight puts him six away from breaking the school record...Greg Welsh has now pitched 4.2 consecutive scoreless innings...Penn State improves to 8-4 in games decided by one run this season.
Penn State returns to action on Saturday, as it will be Keystone Little League day. The 201l Keystone team that advanced to the Little League World Series will play an exhibition game after Penn State's 2:05 game against Illinois. Sunday's noon start will be Senior Day and Penn State Baseball's first Pink Zone game. Five Penn State seniors will be honored prior to first pitch. In addition, all players will be wearing pink wristbands for breast cancer awareness. Fans in attendance will receive those Penn State pink wristbands while supplies last.
Sunday's noon game will air live on the Big Ten Network. All of this weekend's contests can be heard on ESPN Radio 1450 State College with Loren Crispell and Brian Tripp calling the action. Live stats will be available via a Gametracker link on GoPSUSports.com. In addition, fans can follow @psubaseball on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.
Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.