No. 10 TCU Sweeps Penn State Baseball Saturday

Ryan Sloniger 3 PSU
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in both ends of a non-conference baseball doubleheader, but No. 10 TCU held on to win by scores of 6-2 and 5-4, respectively, Saturday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

(Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

The game was played before 2,185 fans, ranking as the seventh largest crowd for Penn State (25-22) at Medlar, while TCU (32-12) became the first-ever baseball team from Texas to ever play at Penn State.

The Nittany Lions’ best chance to win came in the second game, as they out hit the Horned Frogs, 13-8, and committed only two errors to TCU’s three, but they stranded 13 runners and left the bases loaded in the ninth without scoring a run. TCU had just six saves in 30 wins entering the day, but needed two to close out the Lions.

Pacing the Lions offensively were left fielder Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) and first baseman Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.), who both went 2-for-4 with an RBI and right fielder Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.) also went 2-for-4 and added two runs.

Designated hitter Luken Baker led TCU in the second game going 2-for-4 with a run while left fielder Josh Watson went 1-for-3 with an early two-run home run.

TCU scored the go-ahead run in the eighth. The game was tied at 4-4 when catcher Evan Skoug led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. RHP Jack Anderson then entered in a 1-1 count to Baker after the wild pitch, but Baker singled to right and the throw to the plate was not quite in time to get Skoug at home.

Penn State was able to get runners on first and second in the eighth after a hit batsman and an error, but was unable to advance any further.

In the ninth, Willie Burger (Lancaster, Pa.), who had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top half, singled with one out in the ninth in his lone at-bat of the game. He was replaced on the base paths by centerfielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) after a fielder’s choice and the second out, but second baseman Connor Klemann (Royersford, Pa.) battled out of an 0-2 count for a single to right field and designated hitter James Coates (Girard, Ohio) was plunked for the second time in as many plate appearances to load the bases

That brought shortstop Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) to the plate, and he was able to hit a sharp liner, but it was right at the right fielder, Austen Wade, who was able to pluck it just above his shoes as it dipped late.

RHP Brian Trieglaff (2) was able to earn the save, pitching the final 1 1/3 innings and allowing only two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. RHP Durbin Feltman (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning pitched after earning the save facing just one batter in the first game. TCU used five pitchers total after starting LHP Dalton Horton only went one inning.

Penn State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Riotto and Guers drew walks, and they scored on a single by Kendall and groundout by Bowersox.

TCU answered the next inning though. Baker led the frame off with a double and Watson followed with a home run to right field to tie the game at 2-2. After an out and single, centerfielder Dane Steinhagen doubled to center field to drive in the go-ahead run for a 3-2 lead.

The score would remain the same until the seventh inning. TCU added an unearned run on a pair of errors in the top half, but the Nittany Lions tied the game at 4-4 on an RBI-single by Guers and an error on a potential inning-ending double play ball.

TCU was able to go-ahead for good though in the eighth. RHP Dakota Forsyth (Bethel Park, Pa.) (1-3) suffered the loss as he was charged with the game-winning run. He worked two innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on a hit and walk.

Anderson also worked two innings and lowered his ERA to 0.60 as he extended his school record for appearances to 93. He allowed only two hits and a walk with one strikeout. RHP Sal Biasi (Hazleton Township, Pa.) started and only had trouble in the second inning, surrendering the three runs on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts in five innings.

Game 1

In the first game, Penn State brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases, but Feltman was able to get the save.

Bowersox went 2-for-3 with a walk, while Guers went 2-for-4 and Riotto went 2-for-5. Third baseman Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.) and catcher Ryan Sloniger (Punxsutawney, Pa.) had an RBI each. The Nittany Lions had five of their nine hits in the last two innings as they scored two runs.

TCU RHP Brian Howard (6-2) worked seven scoreless innings to earn the win, allowing four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Second baseman Cam Warner led five different Horned Frogs with an RBI going 4-for-5.

TCU first got on the scoreboard in the second inning on a solo home run by third baseman Elliot Barzilli. The Horned Frogs then added two runs in the third for a 3-0 lead on a based-loaded walk and an RBI-fielder’s choice play. A wild pitch on a strikeout with a runner on third and back-to-back RBI singles by Warner and catcher Evan Skoug resulted in a three-run fourth inning and a 6-0 lead.

RHP Tom Mullin (Springfield, Pa.) entered in the fourth inning for the Lions to get them out of the jam and shut the Horned Frogs’ offense down over the final 5 1/3 innings. He faced just one over the minimum in a career-long outing, yielding just two hits and a walk.

The Penn State offense had success against the TCU bullpen. In the eighth, Bowersox and Riotto singled and Haley drove in Bowersox with a two-out single to center. The Lions loaded the bases and Sloniger drove in one with an infield single.

TCU turned to Feltman to get the final out, and he answered with a strikeout to end the game.

LHP Taylor Lehman (1-9) (Pittsburgh, Pa.) suffered the loss, pitching 3 2/3 innings and allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts.

Penn State will conclude the series with TCU Sunday with first pitch set for 1 p.m.

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