Sloniger Four RBIs Helps Penn State Baseball Top Bucknell

Ryan Sloniger PSU
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Freshman catcher Ryan Sloniger (Punxsutawney, Pa.) drove in four runs and NCBWA National Hitter of the Week Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) posted his sixth-straight multi-hit game to lead Penn State to a 9-5 victory over Bucknell in non-conference baseball actionTuesday night in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

(Photo of Ryan Sloniger courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

The win extended Penn State’s (23-14) winning streak to six and completed a two-game series-sweep of Bucknell (16-24). It was also the Nittany Lions’ 11th-straight victory over an in-state opponent.

Penn State used an all-freshman battery as it matched its season-high of six freshmen in the starting lineup. Sloniger went 2-for-4 with a double and his third four-RBI game of the season to bring his season total to 13. RHP Eli Nabholz (Pottsville, Pa.) (2-0) matched his career highs of five innings pitched and five strikeouts, allowing just one run on two hits and two walks in his fifth start of the season.

However, it was a trio of seniors that joined Sloniger in powering the Penn State offense. First baseman Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.) went a game-high 3-for-4 with an RBI, walk and run scored. Guers went 2-for-4 with an RBI, walk, two runs and three of Penn State’s season-high seven stolen bases on the night. Centerfielder James Coates reached base five times, going 2-for-2 with two walks, a hit by pitch and a run.

Senior RHP Jack Anderson (9) pitched the final two innings for his 21st career save, moving within one of the Penn State record.

The Nittany Lions totaled 21 earned bases runners on 11 hits, eight walks and two hit batsmen, while only surrendering seven hits, three walks and one hit batsman.

Penn State jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, sending 11 batters to the plate. Guers drove in the first run with an RBI-single, and Burger drove in the second with a sacrifice fly for the first out. Second baseman Connor Klemann (Royersford, Pa.) was then hit with a pitch to load the bases, and right fielder Keith Leavitt (Washington, Pa.) drew a walk to bring in the fourth run. After a pitching change and strikeout, Sloniger singled through the right side to drive home two more runs for the five-run advantage.

Bucknell got its first hits and run in the top of the fourth. After a pair of singles left fielder Chuckie Scales, grounded out to score one. However, the Lions extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth, as Sloniger doubled to score two for a 7-1 advantage.

Bucknell would fight back in the seventh though, scoring four runs to pull within two, as second baseman Joe Ogren took advantage of Medlar Field’s spacious dimensions for a three-run inside the park home run. Ogren hit a deep fly ball to right-center that went off Coates’ glove as he dove for it, and it rolled far enough to let him score as the throw in was just late.

An error and an RBI-single by Kendall in the bottom of the eighth gave the Lions a four-run cushion heading into the ninth though. Anderson was aided by sensational defensive plays by second baseman Christian Helsel (Altoona, Pa.) and shortstop Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) for a perfect inning to end the game.

Penn State will play its next four on the road, starting Wednesday at Kent State at 6 p.m.

GUERS NAMED NAMED NCBWA NATIONAL HITTER OF THE WEEK

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) added another weekly accolade Tuesday evening, as the senior was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) National Hitter of the Week for the week ending April 17.

The national honor is Guers’ first and the first for a Big Ten player this season.

Named the Big Ten Baseball Player of the Week Monday, Guers batted .765 the preivous week, making just four outs in four games going 13-for-17 with eight RBIs, a home run, two doubles and five stolen bases. He also added two walks for a .789 on-base percentage. Guers opened the week by reaching base in all five plate appearances against Bucknell Wednesday, going 4-for-4 to set a new career high for hits, while adding a season-high four RBIs, two runs and a walk.

Guers then went 9-for-13 at Northwestern with three-straight three-hit games. He had back-to-back 3-for-4 games to open the series, adding two doubles and two RBIs in the second contest. In the finale, he went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run, double, three runs scored and three stolen bases.

Guers was batting just .189 through his first 24 games dating to the April 1 game against Purdue, but hit at a .511 clip in the next 11 to raise his season average 125 points to .314 entering Tuesday night’s game against Bucknell.

Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. For more information about the NCBWA, visit the association’s official Web site, www.ncbwa.com.


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