Penn State Baseball Falls to Pitt

Story posted March 27, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Bill DiFilippo

Penn State baseball (5-15) lost its home opener to No. 30 Pittsburgh (16-6) today 10-8 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, despite a five-run outburst in the first inning.

The Nittany Lions pounced on the Panthers early, batting around their lineup to start the game. Penn State forced the Panthers to pull senior starter Alex Caravella after 1/3 of an inning and finished the inning with five runs off of two hits.

Pittsburgh responded with a run in the second and the third innings, cutting Penn State's five-run lead to three. After two innings, manager Robbie Wine pulled sophomore starting pitcher Ryan Harper, who allowed a run on two hits and two walks.

In total, Penn State used eight pitchers including Harper, freshman Nick Hedge, freshman Jack Anderson, redshirt sophomore Geoff Boylston, junior Ian Parvin, redshirt senior Cody Lewis, redshirt senior David Walkling and sophomore Casey Kulina. Wine said he had to get creative with his pitchers out of necessity.

"Well, we needed to," Wine told reporters after the game. "We've been on the field, this is the fourth day in like 17 days that we've been on the field. We needed to run guys out there.”

"It was planned out like that," Wine said. "We wanted Anderson to go two, we wanted Hedge to get two or three, and then the rest of them were going to go out there and see some hitters."

Penn State responded by scoring a run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth by redshirt senior third baseman Elliot Searer that drove in redshirt junior Steve Snyder. Searer, along with left fielder James Coates, led the way for the Nittany Lions with two RBIs.

Pittsburgh battled back, eventually tying the game at 6-6 behind a five-run sixth inning, but Penn State responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead. Sophomore Taylor Skerpon drove in Aaron Novak, and Searer drove in James Coates with a bunt the following at-bat.

Pittsburgh tied the game in the top of the seventh inning at 8-8, and took the lead permanently with two runs in the top of the ninth off of redshirt senior Walkling. Walkling was the seventh pitcher used by the Lions, and was pulled for Kilina after an inning of work with two runs, two walks and two strikeouts to his name.

In the bottom of the ninth, the tying run reached base for Penn State with two outs. Redshirt freshman Ryky Smith walked, but Novak struck out against Pittsburgh's J.R. Leonardi to end the game.

After the game, Coach Wine said he is optimistic despite losing seven straight games.

"I like our offense, I like our pitching, too," said Wine. "I like our defense. We're just not clicking on all cylinders."

Penn State returns to action on Friday, March 29 against Purdue at 4:05 p.m. at Medlar Field. The game can be heard live on ComRadio.

Bill DiFilippo is a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in English. To contact him, email bdifilippo1@gmail.com