Penn State, Pitt Baseball Both Lose Friday

The Penn State and Pitt baseball teams both lost Friday.

PENN STATE FALLS TO NIAGARA

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Niagara rallied with four runs in the sixth inning to spoil Penn State’s home opener, 4-3, in non-conference baseball action Friday evening at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Freshman shortstop Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) went 4-for-5 and first baseman Willie Burger (Lancaster, Pa.) drove in two runs to lead Penn State (5-10), but the Nittany Lions were unable to score again after taking a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Niagara (3-15) was paced by third baseman Geoff Seto, who went 3-for-5, while shortstop Greg Cullen and right fielder Taylor Hackett both had two hits and an RBI. Hackett’s RBI proved to be the game winner.

The Nittany Lions totaled 12 hits but stranded 12, including five in the last two innings. RHP Matt McCuen earned his first save of the season for Niagara, pitching the final 1 2/3 innings, and striking out two and surrendering just one hit and two walks. RHP Cody Eckerson (1-2) earned the win, pitching six innings and allowing three runs on nine hits with four strikeouts.

Penn State held a 3-0 lead early, scoring runs in the second and fourth innings. The Nittany Lions loaded the bases in the second and had a run score on a double play hit into by Willie Burger for the game’s first run. Burger then delivered with a two-RBI double in the fourth.

LHP Taylor Lehman (Pittsburgh, Pa.) cruised through the first five innings but surrendered four runs in the sixth inning as Niagara rallied and took the lead. With two runners in scoring positon the first run came across on a wild pitch, and then Cullen followed with an RBI double that blooped into shallow left field to pull within one. With one out, another wild pitch with a runner on third tied the game, and Hackett singled up the middle with two outs for the go-ahead run.

RHP Dakota Forsyth (Bethel Park, Pa.) and RHP Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings each in relief to keep the Lions in contention. It was Anderson’s 78th career appearance, moving him within seven of the program record. Lehman worked 5 2/3 innings, and yielded the four runs on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

Penn State and Niagara will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at 1 p.m. The series was originally scheduled to conclude Sunday, but was moved up to Saturday due to the threat of poor weather.

PITT CAN”T STAY WITH NO. 11 FLORIDA STATE

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team faced a setback in its home opener Friday evening, falling to No. 11 Florida State by a score of 17-4 under the lights at Charles L. Cost Field.

“Once again we got ourselves behind early and clawed our way back into it only to let the game get away in the last four innings,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “Florida State did a phenomonal job of taking advantage of our miscues and free passes to let 12 runs touch the plate. This game was very similar to last Friday at Carolina where midway through the game and you’re very competitive and you make a couple of mistakes and then you’re down by a bunch of runs.”

Florida State jumped on the Panthers early, pushing four runs across in the top of the first. After issuing a walk and hitting a batter, the Seminoles strung together three hits to get out to an early 4-0 lead.

Pitt pushed across its first run of the evening in the third inning. Designated hitter Ron Sherman led off the inning, ripping a triple to left field. Two batters later, Sherman scored on a Jacob Wright sacrifice fly to left field.

The Seminoles capitalized on a Pitt error in the top of the fourth and used a pair of sacrifice flies to push two more runs across and extend their lead to 6-1. In the bottom half of the inning, singles by Alex Kowalczyk and David Yanni set the stage for a three-run shot by Aaron Schnurbusch. The homer by Schnurbusch was the senior’s fifth of the season and marks the second consecutive game in which he went yard.

It was a one-two-three inning for Falk in the fifth as the starter retired the side with a groundout, fly out and swinging strikeout. The Panthers left two men stranded in the fifth, as Nick Yarnall walked and Kowalczyk took a pitch to the body.

Florida State extended its lead in the sixth, plating four runs off of three hits and an error. It was another big inning for the Seminoles in the seventh as they added five more. The scoring came to an end in the ninth as Florida State scored a pair with a double down the leftfield line from John Sansone to secure the 17-4 victory for the nation’s 11th-ranked team.

With the loss, the Panthers fall to 8-7-0 on the season and 1-3-0 in the ACC.

Falk earned the loss, falling to 2-1 on the season. He went 5.2 innings, allowing five hits, eight runs, five earned runs and three walks, while striking out five. Relief pitcher Jextin Pugh was the only Pitt pitcher to blank the Seminoles, going a single inning and surrendering just one hit with a strikeout.

Schnurbusch continued his power streak, recording his second consecutive home run game. The senior brought around three of Pitt’s four runs, going 1-of-4 on the evening. Wright recorded the Panthers’ only other run batted in, going 0-of-2 but drawing a pair of walks.

“When you’re playing a great opponent like Florida State, you simply can’t give them that many opportunities, we have to regroup and have a very short memory and come back tomorrow,” added the skipper.

The Panthers will return to the field tomorrow for game two of the series with a 3 p.m. scheduled first pitch. The series finale will take place on Sunday at 1 p.m.


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