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May 14, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Topping Villanova at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Tuesday, the Penn State baseball team picked up a 7-4, non-conference victory, outhitting the opposition 14-7. The Nittany Lions move to 13-34 on the season, while the Wildcats drop to 11-40 overall.
The Lions pulled away from the Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth, gaining their first lead of the contest following a two-RBI double from redshirt senior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.). With freshman Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) resting on second and junior Alex Farkes (Boston, Mass.) on third, Searer recorded his 175th career hit and 30th career double with a blast to the left field line, driving in Farkes and Kendall for his 16th and 17th RBIs of the season. Holding a 4-3 lead heading into the sixth inning, Penn State would control the momentum for the remainder of the game.
Earning his first victory of the season, sophomore Patton Taylor (Nichols, N.Y.) fired a career-high 6.0 innings, moving to a 1-3 record and an 8.64 ERA. Taylor set a new career record with seven strikeouts on the day, while allowing five hits and three unearned runs with just two walks. The sophomore threw 101 pitches before he was relieved by freshman Blake Estep (Choctaw, Okla.), who also notched a new career-high by striking out three in 3.0 innings of work. The rookie held Villanova to just two hits and one earned run to earn his first career save.
Moving to a 1-1 record on the season with the loss, sophomore Jeff Courter went for 6.1 innings with five earned runs and nine hits allowed. Courter struck out three before junior Chris Haggarty stepped in in the seventh, allowing four hits and two earned runs in one inning of relief. Senior Kevin MacLachlan closed out the contest for Villanova, holding the Lions scoreless in his 0.2-inning outing with just one hit allowed.
The Wildcats would strike first, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Senior Paul Rambaud, who led off with a base hit through the left side, would score following two consecutive Penn State throwing errors, giving Villanova its first run with just one out. Junior Connor Jones followed with a base knock to left field to drive in senior Tyler Sciacca, with junior John Cialone batting in freshman Max Beermann on the following play for a three-run advantage.
Answering in the bottom of the inning, freshman James Coates (Girard, Ohio) would post a two-out double to right field to kick start his squad. Senior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) followed suit at clean-up, ripping a two-base hit to bring home Coates for his 23rd run of the season and cut Villanova's lead to 3-1. With Taylor striking out four consecutive batters between the second and third inning, the Lions were able to slowly inch their way back from the early energy surge produced by the Wildcats. Leading off the fourth with a bunt single, Coates eventually managed to rest on third following his eighth stolen base of the season. Sophomore J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.) then stepped to the plate, collecting his second hit of the contest with a single to center field to drive home the rookie. It was Coban's 23rd RBI of the season, moving the score to 3-2 in favor of the Wildcats.
Penn State gained the lead following Searer's two-RBI double in the fifth, and would be backed by Estep as the freshman stepped in for Taylor in the seventh. The Lions' defense proved to be relentless, with Coates making a diving catch on Steve Schrenk in top of the inning to prevent an inevitable double from the senior. Estep went on to strike out Tyler Sciacca to shut down Villanova's offense, setting the Lions up to inch away further with the lead in the bottom of the seventh. With sophomore Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) leading off of second, Kendall posted a hard-hit single to center field to bring home the right fielder for his 40th career run and move the score to 5-3.
The Lions went on to tally two more runs in the bottom of the eighth, with Coban recording his 80th career hit before scoring on a base knock through the left side from Farkes. Another single to center field from Kendall would earn the rookie his second RBI of the contest, driving in Novak once again from second for a 7-3 lead. Although the Wildcats would move the score to 7-4 in the top of the ninth, it would prove too little, too late with Estep striking out Adam Goss to end the game.
Kendall and Coban each went 3-for-4 to lead the Lions at the plate, with the rookie collecting two RBIs and a run scored. Coban posted a run and an RBI, while also tallying his eighth double of the season with two stolen bases. Coates and Novak each went 2-for-3 with two runs, with the freshman additionally posting a stolen base and his second career double. Searer recorded one hit, two RBIs and a double, while Snyder posted his 50th hit of the season, his 15th career double and his 27th career stolen base. Rounding out Penn State's stellar offensive showing, Montesinos collected a double, an RBI and a stolen base, and Farkes recorded one hit, an RBI and a run scored.
The Lions return to action on Thursday, May 16 when they host Michigan State for the final series of the 2013 season. Thursday's first pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m., while Friday's contest will begin at 2:05 p.m. at Medlar Field. The Big Ten series finale will begin at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday, where Penn State will honor its eight graduating seniors for Senior Day.
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