Nittany Lions Stay Hot, Roll by Rhode Island

Story posted March 24, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Brandon Pelter

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- It was another strong outing for the Nittany Lions on Wednesday night when they took on the University of Rhode Island Rams. The Nittany Lions (9-10) extended their win streak to four with a 5-3 win over the Rams.

“I’m very proud of the way they’re coming to the ballpark everyday,” Penn State head coach Rob Cooper said. “Whether it’s a practice, whether it’s a game, the mindset, they’re starting to do some things that are putting us in a team in a good position to win games. I thought tonight was a team win.”

The Nittany Lions came out hungry and in the first inning, forced Rams’ pitcher Mark Silvestri to throw 26 pitches, but didn’t have anything to show for it. After giving up just one hit in the second, a single up the middle to Austin Riggins, Ram’s manager Raphael Cerrato decided to pull Silvestri after only 1.2 innings pitched to bring in Dom Grillo. Grillo immediately gave up an RBI triple to deep right center to Nick Riotto. Riotto later scored on a failed pickoff attempt from Rhode Island catcher Chase Livingston.

After two more walks and an infield single, Penn State freshman Willie Burger hit a hard, two-RBI single to take an early 4-0 lead.

The Nittany Lions added their fifth run in the seventh when Conlin Hughes, who singled through the right side, scored on an error by shortstop Matt O’Neil off the bat of Riggins.

“I’ve been working hard with coach Oeder making some adjustments,” said Riggins, who went 2-4. “I’ve been just trying to get my foot down and see the ball. I just give credits to my teammates also.”

The Nittany Lions pitching staff shined in the win. Marko Boricich started on the bump for 3.1 innings allowing just two runs on three hits. Right hander Nick Distasio came in relief, allowing just one run on two hits in 4.1 innings, good enough for his first win of the season.

“I thought I did well coming out of the pen,” Distasio, a sophomore, said. “The guys behind me really helped me out making some tough plays in big spots, and even especially when Jack was throwing there at the end, just three nice plays to get us out. Just a great team win overall I think.”

Closer Jack Anderson came in for the Nittany Lions and shut the door on the Rams for his sixth save of the season, after a shaky two-walk start to the ninth.

“I feel like we just have to keep it rolling,” Distasio said. “We just have to keep building off what we got going right now. It’s been a good streak, everyone is having good times at home here, we just have to take it on the road and build on it.”

Brandon Pelter is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. To contact him, email brandon.pelter@gmail.com.