Penn State Baseball Rallies Past Pitt; Anderson Earns Team-Record 12th Save

Jack Anderson - PSU
PITTSBURGH – Penn State rallied from a three-run deficit and broke open a tie game with five runs in the eighth inning to complete a home-and-home series sweep of Pittsburgh, 11-6, in non-conference baseball action Wednesday evening in Charles L. Cost Field.

(Photo of Jack Anderson courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

Senior RHP Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) secured the win to earn his team-record 12th save of the season.

Penn State (26-23) has now won its last four over Pitt (25-20) and its last 12 against in-state opponents.

The Nittany Lions trailed the Panthers 5-2 after the fourth inning, but outscored them 9-1 over the final five innings. The game was tied 6-6 entering the eighth inning, but catcher Alex Malinsky (Apex, N.C.) slapped a single through the right side to drive in the go-ahead run, an error allowed another run to score, and then left fielder Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) blasted a three-run home run to right field to put the game out of reach.

Designated hitter Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) powered the Lion offense throughout the game, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

Penn State used five different pitchers with the last two earning decisions. RHP Dakota Forsyth (1-2) (Bethel Park, Pa.) entered in the seventh inning but loaded the bases in the eighth after an error with a hit and walk allowed. Anderson took the mound and retired the first batter he faced to end the inning and then retired the side in order in the ninth.

It was the first inning Pitt failed to get a base runner on, as the Nittany Lions struggled with command by issuing 12 walks and hitting three to nullify its 12-9 edge in hits. However, four Pitt innings ended with the bases loaded as it stranded 18 for the night. Conversely, Penn State stranded just five bases runners.

Penn State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, third baseman Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.) singled to left on the first pitch, Guers followed with a walk, and Kendall poked a single through the right side for the first run. First baseman Willie Burger (Lancaster, Pa.) followed with a double off the left field wall to score Guers.

Pitt scored the next five runs though. The Panthers halved the deficit in the bottom half of the first on an RBI-single by first baseman Nick Yarnall. The Panthers threatened to tie the game or more but left the bases loaded.

Pitt went ahead, 3-2, in the second though on an error and sacrifice fly. The third inning was scoreless, but Yarnall drove in another run in the fourth and right fielder Frank Maldonado hit an RBI-single as well for a 5-2 advantage.

Penn State started clawing back in the fifth, as Haley singled with one out and Kendall doubled with two outs to drive him home. In the sixth, second baseman Christian Helsel (Altoona, Pa.) led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) to pull within one.

Pitt got one run back on a RBI-single by designated hitter P.J. DeMeo for a 6-4 lead. However, Penn State tied the game in the seventh. Right fielder Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.) singled to lead-off and then Guers walked with one out, and Kendall followed with a single through the right side to plate Riotto. Burger flied out to foul ground in right to plate Guers from third.

Penn State exploded for five runs in the top of the eighth. Helsel and centerfielder James Coates (Girard, Ohio) led the inning off with singles, and with one out, Malinsky poked a single through the right side. An error on a throw home on a fielder’s choice allowed Penn State to take an 8-6 lead, and after another out, Guers crushed his fifth home run of the year and second in as many games for the final margin.

Penn State will return to Big Ten play at Nebraska with a three-game series opening Friday.

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