Penn State Baseball Splits with Iowa Falls Short of Big 10 Postseason

Jack Anderson - PSU
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On Penn State’s Senior Day it was a freshman that ended up being the hero, as Connor Klemann (Royersford, Pa.) clinched a winning season with a walk-off, RBI-single in the bottom of the 12th inning to defeat Iowa, 5-4 in Big Ten baseball action Friday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

(Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

The 4 hour, 27 minute game, Penn State’s longest of the season, capped a doubleheader. Iowa (27-25, 12-12 Big Ten) won the day’s first game though, 8-0, to clinch the series and a crucial head-to-head tiebreaker over Penn State, which also finished 12-12. Accordingly, Penn State will not qualify for the Big Ten tournament. Depending on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan State-Maryland game the Lions will finish either in a three-way tie for seventh if MSU wins or tied for eighth if Maryland wins. Illinois could defeat Michigan Saturday as well to expand the number of teams tied.

Either way, it will be Penn State’s best finish since ranking third in 2012. Penn State concludes its season with a 27-28 overall record for its most wins and first winning season since claiming 29 in 2012. The 12-12 Big Ten record is also its best since 2012 (15-9).

Penn State was successful in the stands as well, as 1,430 fans attended the finale to push the Lions per date average to 1,001 for a 12.5% increase over the previous season.

In game one, Iowa RHP Tyler Peyton (4-5) limited Penn State to just three hits, throwing a complete game shutout. Catcher Daniel Aaron Moriel led five Hawkeyes with two-hit games, as he also drove in three runs.

Iowa got on the board with an unearned run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Moriel with the bases loaded. The Hawkeyes then added two more runs in the sixth inning, as Moriel drove in one from third on a ground out and then another run came across on an error on the next play.

Shortstop Nick Roscetti, who also went 2-for-5, drove in a run in the seventh. The Hawkeyes then added four runs in the ninth.

Game two did not appear to be going in Penn State’s favor, as the Hawkeyes tallied four runs in the first three innings. The Lions answered in the bottom of the third though, as senior Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) roped an RBI-single to left field. Guers went a team-best 3-for-6 in his final game,

The score would remain the same until the seventh when freshman right fielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) delivered with a single to left with runners on second and third and two outs to make it a 4-3 game.

Senior James Coates (Girard, Ohio) drew a lead-off walk in the eighth, was sacrificed to second and scored the tying on a single up the middle by shortstop Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.)

Iowa loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 12th inning, but Penn State worked out of the jam as LHP Taylor Lehman (2-9) (Pittsburgh, Pa.) earned a strikeout and a groundout. Lehman pitched the final five innings, striking out four and allowing three hits and three walks. RHP Nick Distasio (Oley, Pa.) had pitched the previous 4 2/3, striking out four and allowing just two hits after entering in the third inning, giving Penn State a total of 9 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Bowersox led the bottom half off with a single just off the third baseman’s glove. A sacrifice bunt moved him to second and a wild pitch moved him to third. Iowa brought in a fifth infielder, but Klemann found a hole anyways, roping a single between the third baseman and shortstop.

Following the game, the seniors – student manager Jesse Tull, student assistant coach Jordan Donmoyer (Lititz, Pa.), RHP Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.), Coates, RHP Jared Fagnano (Williamsport, Pa.), Guers, LHP Nick Hedge (Winnetka, Ill.) and first baseman Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) – were presented with framed jerseys and recognized for their accomplishments. Kendall had three hits on the day to become Penn State’s batting leader for the year at .320.

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