Heath Breaks Home Run Mark in Baseball's Hard-Fought 12-7 Defeat to Minnesota
May 14, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Despite junior Ben Heath's (Huntersville, N.C.) school record-breaking 18th home run of the season, the Penn State baseball team couldn't handle Minnesota's bats as the Gophers (23-27, 11-8 Big Ten) scored five first-inning runs on their way to a 12-7 win on Friday evening at the historic Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The long ball, which came in Heath's first at-bat, broke Dave Simononis' 32-year single-season record. The Lions (21-26, 8-11 Big Ten) look to bounce back in the middle game of the series, on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET.
Heath finished 2-for-4 on the evening, also hitting a double off the baggie in right. The historic home run came on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the second as he went the other way off Minnesota ace Seth Rosin. With his two extra-base hits, Heath's slugging percentage is back up to .773 while his on-base percentage is .460.
Freshman Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-4 with three RBI. It marked the ninth multi-hit effort in his last 10 games, including six of three or more hits. Junior Mario Eramo (Houston, Texas) reached base four times via a 2-for-3 effort along with two walks. Five others recorded a hit, including senior Louie Picconi (North Merrick, N.Y.) who reached base three times, including two hit-by-pitches.
Minnesota jumped out to the quick lead, with five first-inning runs to put the Nittany Lions into an early hole. After Andy Henkemeyer and Michael Kvasnicka singled to start the rally, Kyle Knudson was hit by a pitch. Nick O'Shea followed with a grand slam to left field to make it 4-0. A Matt Puhl triple and Trip Schultz RBI single later, it was 5-0 after one full inning.
The Nittany Lions answered right back in the second with four of their own to pull within 5-4. The inning started with Heath's historic home run over the baggie in right field. Sophomore Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.) and Eramo followed with singles. After a Michael Glantz (Marietta, Ga.) sacrifice bunt, sophomore Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) brought in DeBernardis with an RBI groundout. Picconi was hit by a pitch, then redshirt freshman Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) and Snyder followed with RBI singles to score two more.
After senior Mike Wanamaker (Upper Nyack, N.Y.) shut down the Gophers in the second, third and fourth, they responded with three in the fifth to open up an 8-4 advantage. A Knudson single to left plated AJ Pettersen, then Henkemeyer scored on an error. The scoring rounded out when a Kyle Geason bloop to right plated Knudson. It could have been worse, but with the bases loaded, Wanamaker struck out Troy Larson to retire the side.
As they had in the second, the Nittany Lions responded with three of their own in the sixth to once again pull within one at 8-7. After Eramo, Glantz and Picconi reached base, Searer hit a bouncer that was mishandled to plate Eramo. Snyder followed with a clutch two-run single up the middle to score Penn State's second and third runs of the inning.
Minnesota answered right back with a pair of solo home runs - by Henkemeyer and Knudson - in the sixth to make it 10-7.
In the eighth, a two-run double by O'Shea gave the Gophers insurance, as Scott Matyas threw a scoreless ninth to preserve the 12-7 final.
Penn State continues its series at the Metrodome on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET and Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The Nittany Lions' final home series of the year comes on May 20-22 against Michigan. Purchase your tickets today!
Season and individual game tickets are now available can be purchased online or over the phone. Please call 1-877-997-7453 or (814) 272-1711, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. for more information. Fans can also direct any additional questions or comments via phone, or by email (email@example.com).
Baseball camp information is now available. Call the Sports Camp Office at (814) 865-0561 or email them at SportCampInfo@outreach.psu.edu for more information.
Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.