Penn State Drops Big Ten Opener

Story posted March 24, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Matt Lawrence

The Indiana Hoosiers (9-13, 1-0 Big Ten) used a seven run second inning to propel them to a 14-2 rout of the Penn State Nittany Lions (4-15, 0-1 Big Ten) in each team’s conference opener Friday night at Medler Field at Lubrano Park.

After retiring the side in top half of the first, Penn State starter John Walter (0-4) allowed seven runs in the second; all of which coming with two outs. Shortstop Michael Basil doubled for the Hoosiers following a Sam Travis ground out to lead off the inning. Walter then recorded a strikeout before the Hoosiers strung together six consecutive two-out hits.

Left fielder Chris Sujka began the rally with an RBI single to left, and the Hoosiers would then go on to score six more runs to take a 7-0 lead.

Kyle Schwarber would add a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 8-0. Penn State answered in the bottom half of the fourth when third baseman Joey DeBernardis doubled to score left fielder Sean Deegan. Deegan would later homer in the eighth to account for both of the Nittany Lions’ runs.

Indiana added on five more runs to open the seventh inning. Cody Lewis, who relieved Walter in the sixth, issued two walks and a hit before Tim Dunn took over with one out in the seventh. An error by Penn State shortstop Elliot Searer scored two runs for the Hoosiers and first baseman Sam Travis and Sujka each added RBI singles.

Hoosiers starter Joey DeNato improved to 4-1 on the year, allowing one earned run in six innings with ten strikeouts. The ten strikeouts were a season high for DeNato and one shy of his conference career record that he recorded last season against Illinois.

For the night, the Nittany Lions struck out 13 times, a point that Penn State head coach Robbie Wine harped on after the game.

"We can't have a runner on third based and then strike out twice in a row," Wine said. "We need guys to step up and put the ball in play."

After a four hit performance Wednesday against Pittsburgh, Penn State first baseman Jordan Steranka went hitless Friday, with three strikeouts. The Nittany Lions' offense struggled in the game without contributions from Steranka.

Wine cited the importance of getting his players to put a bad game behind them.

"It's baseball," Wine said. "You just have to flush this one. We just have to come out tomorrow and improve."

Penn State will look to turn things around in the final two games of the series with Indiana. The Nittany Lions will send Joe Kurrasch to the mound for Saturday's 2:05 p.m. game. Steve Hill will get the start for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. game. Both games can be heard live on ComRadio.

 

Matt Lawrence is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email mdl5249@psu.edu.