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May 23, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite having a 5-1 lead, Penn State baseball (29-26) gave up 11-straight runs to drop its Big Ten Tournament opener to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Wednesday afternoon. With the loss, Penn State will play in an elimination game with the Nebraska Cornhuskers tomorrow at noon.
Senior first baseman Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) recorded three hits in the victory and hit two doubles to tie the school record for two-baggers. Sophomore Joe Kurrasch (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) had a solid outing, going six innings and giving up three runs, two of which were earned. The Nittany Lions collected 14 hits as a team.
In the bottom of the first inning, Penn State put together three base-hits and manufactured a run. Senior Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) led off with a single and then advanced on a sac bunt by sophomore Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.). With two outs, Steranka singled up the middle to score Deegan, giving the Lions an early 1-0 lead. Nevertheless, the Buckeyes would respond in the next half inning. An RBI single by Ohio State's Patrick Porter would tie the game up at one.
The Nittany Lions would break things open in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Steranka walked and freshman JJ White (Lansdowne, Va.) singled to give the Lions runners on first and second. Junior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) hit an RBI single to score Steranka. Freshman Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) hit a scorching double down the left field line to score White. Sophomore Alex Farkes (Boston, Mass.) finished a three-run inning for the Lions with a sacrifice fly. Penn State had a 4-1 lead.
After upping its lead to 5-1 in the fourth, Penn State's bats would be silenced by Brett McKiney, who gave up just four hits in 4.2 innings of relief.
The Buckeye rally would begin in the sixth inning, putting up a two spot to shrink Penn State's lead to 5-3. One of the two runs Kurrasch gave up that inning was earned. The sophomore was lifted after six and the ball was given to sophomore Greg Welsh (Holland, Pa.). After holding the Buckeyes scoreless in the seventh, Welsh struggled in the eighth and Ohio State rallied.
Junior Dave Walkling (Nanaimo, Canada) came in with the bases loaded to attempt a two-inning save. The Buckeyes strung together three hits in the inning and a costly error would lead to three runs and a 6-5 Buckeye lead. The ninth inning would not fare any better for the Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes put together six runs to extend the lead to 12-5.
Steranka's double in the bottom of the ninth tied him in first place for the school doubles record.
All of the Big Ten Tournament games will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network. Additionally, all of Penn State'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.