Penn State Baseball Downs Rhode Island

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A four-run second inning and strong pitching from Nick Distastio (Oley, Pa.) and Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) led Penn State past Rhode Island, 5-3, in non-conference baseball action Wednesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Distasio (1-0) earned the win for Penn State (9-10) with 4 2/3 innings of relief, allowing just an unearned run to Rhode Island (6-10) in the seventh inning on two hits and a walk while striking out three. Anderson (6) closed the game out by pitching the final inning, surrendering two walks but nothing else. Just 19 games into the season Anderson, has now surpassed his single-season career high with his sixth save of the year. It was also his 81st career appearance to move him within four of Penn State’s career record, and his 18th career save to move within four of that program record, as well.

Along with LHP Marko Boricich, the trio held the Rams to just five hits.

Freshman third baseman Willie Burger, the reigning Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Week went 1-for-3 with two RBIs that proved to be the game deciding runs. Left fielder Nick Riotto tripled and went 2-for-5 with an RBI and run, while shortstop Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.), first baseman Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and freshman outfielders Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) and Austin Riggins (Greer, S.C.) all had two hit games to contribute to the Lions total of 12 hits.

The four second inning runs were all scored with two outs. With two already down, Riggins singled up the middle, and then after a pitching change, Riotto roped a triple to the right gap to drive him home. After Haley walked, Riotto then scored from third on a failed pickoff attempt when the catcher’s low throw bounced away from the third baseman.

Guers walked and Kendall reached on an infield single to load the bases, and Burger delivered with a shot up the middle to score both Haley and Guers.

Boricich held Rhode Island without a hit through the first two innings, but was touched for two runs in the fourth and was relieved by Distasio after 3 1/3 innings. Boricich finished with a line of three hits, two runs, a strikeout and three hit batters in his first collegiate start.

Martin Figueroa tripled to right center to leadoff the fourth for Rhode Island, and Ryan Olmo plated him with a single up the middle. The Rams then loaded the bases with one out, and Matt O’Neil scored one with a sacrifice fly, but the runner on first was doubled off on the play to end the inning.

A leadoff error in the top of the seventh allowed Rhode Island to pull within one, as left fielder Mike Corin doubled to drive in the run.

The Rams used eight pitchers in the game, and the final six did not allow an earned run. RHP Mark Silvestri (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing the game’s first run. He worked 1 2/3 innings and also yielded two hits and a walk while striking out two.

Penn State stranded two in the fifth and left the bases loaded in the sixth inning before adding an insurance run in the seventh. With two outs and second baseman Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) on third after singling to leadoff the frame, Riggins hit a grounder that was misplayed by the shortstop, allowing Hughes to score for the final margin.

Penn State will next open Big Ten play with a three-game series at Illinois starting Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

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