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May 17, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Penn State senior Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) added another page to his Penn State baseball success story on Thursday afternoon, drilling a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Nittany Lions past Michigan State by a score of 3-2. With Indiana winning today, Penn State sits in a tie for second place in the Big Ten standings.
Steranka's homer came with the Nittany Lions trailing 2-1 at the time. The senior accounted for all three Penn State RBIs and had three hits on the day. Steranka trails Michael Campo by seven hits for tying the school record. Sophomore Joe Kurrasch (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) pitched his way to a win, going seven innings and giving up just one earned run. Kurrasch lowers his season ERA to 1.98.
In the bottom of the first inning, Michigan State put the first run on the board. A walk, infield hit and an error loaded the bases with nobody out. However, Kurrasch forced a double play later in the inning and the Spartans would come out of it with just one run.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Spartans would add another run in impressive fashion. With two outs and nobody on base, Ryan Jones and Justin Scanlon reached. That set things up for the Spartan outfielder Jordan Keur, who singled to left field to score Jones, giving Michigan State a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the sixth, the bats would come alive for the Nittany Lions. Senior Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) and sophomore Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) got things going with back-to-back singles. Senior Joey DeBernardis (Lake Zurich, Ill.) flew out to left field but hit it deep enough to advance Deegan and Snyder a base. Steranka then ripped an RBI single down the right field line. Snyder attempted to score from second, but John Martinez made a great throw to get him at home. Michigan State had a 2-1 lead.
Steranka would execute in a huge way in the eighth inning. With one out, DeBernardis hit a double to deep right field that landed on the hill in front of the fence. Steranka followed with arguably one of the biggest hits of his career, a two-run shot that flew off the bat over the right field fence. Steranka's homer gave the Nittany Lions a 3-2 lead.
Penn State's bullpen, which has been phenomenal as of late, pitched two scoreless innings. Sophomore Greg Welsh (Holland, Pa.) allowed a hit in his one inning of work in the eighth inning. Junior Dave Walkling (Nainamo, Canada) earned the save in his fourth-straight game, as he struck out two in ninth. Walkling has now pitched 10.1 straight scoreless innings.
Penn State now turns to Friday's game with the Spartans at 3:05. Junior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) will make the start on the mound for the Lions.
Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.
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