Lions Down the Buckeyes 5-4 in Nail-Biter
April 28, 2012
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Trailing by one run in the bottom of the eighth, the Lions plated two runs, one on a wild pitch and second on a balk, to score a crucial victory in a nine-inning back and fourth showdown, evening the pivotal conference series to one apiece.
Junior Steven Hill took the mound for the Nittany Lions, his first start since the no-hitter at Iowa. Though it wasn't his best outing, Hill went strong through seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.
Manufacturing runs was the name of the game for both teams as Ohio State got on the board early in the second after a single with runners on first and second gave the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead.
Penn State would respond in the bottom of the second when, with two outs, junior Luis Montesinos reached first on a walk, stole second, and was driven in by a base hit down the third base line from freshman designated hitter J.J. White.
After Ohio State broke the 1-1 tie in the fifth with a two-out RBI single, the Nittany Lions put together a two-run sixth on four hits. Senior third baseman Joey DeBernardis sparked the rally with a double and scored on a single by senior first baseman Jordan Steranka. With two outs, White singled to put runners on first and second for freshman catcher J.C. Coban, who ripped a single of his own to score Steranka and give Penn State the 3-2 lead.
"Playing a team like Ohio State with the Big Ten on the line and everything like that, it's just a bigger game and everyone comes out really ready to play their best," said White. "We fought the entire game and it was a battle out there."
In the eighth, Ohio State put runners on first and third with nobody out and knocked Hill out of the game. Junior Dave Walkling took the mound and battled to limit the Buckeyes to two runs on the inning. Nevertheless, Penn State trailed 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth.
After White took his base on a hit-by-pitch to start the inning, Ohio State reliever David Fathalikhani walked the bases loaded on eight straight pitches. The Buckeyes made a pitching change that would result in a wild pitch to tie the game at four and then a balk to give the Nittany Lions a 5-4 lead.
"That's baseball, you create your own breaks," said head coach Robbie Wine on the inning. "You take advantage of some opportunities you have and last night they did and we didn't and tonight good things happened for us."
The drama continued in the ninth as Walkling returned to the mound and gave up a double to put the tying run on second with one out. The runner then advanced to third on a tight groundout to shortstop Elliot Searer. With two outs, Walkling struck out the final batter of the game with three straight spectacular sliders.
"I'm starting to gain a lot of confidence knowing that I'm going to go in with a little bit of adversity and just in my mentality and my focus know I'm going to go in and throw strikes and have my other pitches working for me," said Walkling. "It's worked out."
The rubber match to decide the series is slated for tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. John Walter will have the start for the Nittany Lions as they try to win a key game three against rival Ohio State.