Penn State Baseball Edges WVU

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A pinch-hit sacrifice fly by Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) in the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie and proved to be the difference, as Penn State defeated West Virginia, 5-4, in non-conference baseball action Tuesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Penn State improved to 8-10 with its third consecutive win and its third consecutive in the annual matchup with West Virginia (10-8).

Third baseman Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.) led the seventh off with a triple to right field, and with one out, the Mountaineers elected to intentionally walk reigning Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Week Willie Burger (Lancaster, Pa.) to bring up designated hitter Keith Leavitt (Manchester, Mass.) Penn State head coach Rob Cooper went to his bench though and sent Guers to the plate instead. Guers delivered with what appeared to be a home run off his bat, but the ball did not carry into the wind and it was caught against the wall, still allowing Haley to score.

RHP Jack Anderson (5) went to work from there, keeping West Virginia scoreless for the final two innings for his fifth save of the season. The total matches his season career high from each of the past two years, and was the 17th of his career, moving him within five of the Penn State record. He also moved within five of the Penn State all-time appearances record with his 80th trip to the mound.

His two innings were not without drama as an error and walk allowed two base runners in the eighth inning, and both moved into scoring position with two outs. Anderson was able to field a grounder to his left and sprint to first base to get out of the jam. He surrendered a single with two outs in the ninth, but ended the game with a backwards K.

Haley, freshman centerfielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) and sophomore catcher Nick Graham (Chambersburg, Pa.) led Penn State offensively with two-hit games.

The game was a back-and-forth contest in the second through fifth innings. Penn State stuck first in the second inning, taking advantage of a pair of walks and hit batsmen that loaded the bases with two outs. Shortstop Con Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) delivered with an infield single to short and the throw to first was mishandled, allowing an additional run to score for a 2-0 Lion lead.

West Virginia answered the very next frame though to take a 3-2 lead. Third baseman Kyle Davis drove in a run on a fielder’s choice with one out and then first baseman Jackson Cramer sent the first pitch he saw just over the railing in right field for a two-run home run.

Bowersox and Graham restored Penn State’s lead in the bottom of the fourth. Bowersox led the inning off with a double down the left field line and, after an out, Graham did the same to tie the game at 3-3. Graham later advanced to third on a groundout and then scored on a wild pitch for a 4-3 advantage.

West Virginia would tie the game again in the top of the fifth though. With one out, centerfielder KC Huth singled and then right fielder Darius Hill followed with an RBI-triple.

It would be the last run the Mountaineers would score though as RHP Dakota Forsyth (1-1) (Bethel Park, Pa.) and Anderson would hold them scoreless over the final 4 1/3 innings, allowing just a hit and walk each. LHP Nick Hedge started for Penn State and went 4 2/3 innings and surrendered four runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts.

RHP Connor Dotson (3-1) was tagged with the loss after entering in the fifth and surrendering Guers’ sac fly in the seventh. LHP Tanner Campbell started for West Virginia and struck out five in four innings but allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks.

Penn State will next host Rhode Island Wednesday at 6:30. LHP Marko Boricich is slated to start for Penn State.

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