Michigan State was too much both at the plate and on the mound for Penn State on Thursday, taking the first game of the teams' three-game series, 16-1.
Four Spartans led the way with multi-hit games as the team hit safely 13 times.
Right fielder Jimmy Pickens picked up four RBI on a 2-for-4 hitting performance, while lead-off man Cam Gibson and cleanup hitter Blaise Salter each tallied three RBI.
The blowout started early, when the Spartans (32-16, 11-8 Big Ten) put two runs on the board in the first inning with a home run by Pickens. They added six more runs in the second, which was the last inning for Nittany Lions (13-35, 3-19 Big Ten) starting pitcher Nick Hedge.
Hedge's replacement, Geoff Boylston, did not fare much better. In three innings, he gave up five runs - three earned - and walked five Spartans.
Ian Parvin provided two solid innings of relief, allowing no hits in that span with only one walk.
Then, Zach Ell, who started the game in right field, tossed the final two innings of the game. Ell allowed three runs on two hits and three walks.
The Nittany Lions did not manage as well off of the Spartans' pitching, notching seven hits.
Third baseman Elliot Searer went 3-for-4, scoring the team's lone run. Ell, who was 2-for-4 at the plate, drove him in on a fourth-inning single.
Strong pitching from starter Andrew Waszak and the Spartans' bullpen kept the Lions at bay. In seven innings of work, he gave up six hits and two walks, striking out four.
The Spartans' relief pitchers, Anthony Misiewicz and Mike Mestdagh, combined for two innings of work, allowing just one hit and one walk.
Penn State has struggled to find Big Ten wins this season, but nonconference games have been a bit kinder recently and the trend continued Tuesday.
The Nittany Lions (13-34, 3-18 Big Ten) allowed three runs in the first inning, but they chipped away and ultimately took down Villanova (11-40) at Medlar Field, 7-4, in their final nonconference game of the season.
The Wildcats jumped all over starting pitcher Patton Taylor (1-3) in the first frame with three runs and three hits. The Lions played sloppy defense as both Taylor and third baseman Tyler Kendall had throwing errors.
Despite the early miscues, Penn State locked down its defense with no errors for the rest of the game and held the Wildcats off the scoreboard until the final inning.
The Lions wasted no time and began to claw back in their first at-bat. Left fielder James Coates and second baseman Luis Montesinos put back-to-back doubles together for the Lions first and only run in the inning.
Penn State continued the comeback in fourth inning when Coates crossed the plate for the second time in the game, but this time off of designated hitter J.C. Coban's single.
Facing a 3-2 deficit, the Lions took the lead in the fifth as Kendall and catcher Alex Farkes scored off of shortstop Elliot Searer's double to left field.
The Lions held on to the lead for the rest of the game with another run in the seventh and two more in the eighth inning.
The Wildcats added one run in the ninth, but it was not enough.
Despite Taylor's early struggles in the first inning, the sophomore starter recovered and went six strong innings, allowing just five hits and no runs outside from the first frame.
Blake Estep picked up his first save of the year by pitching three innings and allowing just two hits to close the victory for the Lions.
Penn State has one three-game series left before the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. The Lions will take on Michigan State (31-16, 10-8 Big Ten) at home with the first game of the series slated Thursday at 6:05 p.m.
Penn State took a lead on Illinois on Sunday for the first time in the teams' three-game series, but the margin proved too little to secure a win.
The Nittany Lions (12-34, 3-18 Big Ten) saw their shutout through five innings quickly unravel, and they were ultimately swept in their final away series of the regular season by the Fighting Illini (31-15, 12-9 Big Ten) with a 5-4 loss.
The defeat came after the Illini tied the contest with a three-run seventh inning and added their final run in the eighth. David Kerian, who scored the game-winning run, was brought home from third base on a single by Reid Roper.
Ian Parvin (2-2), the Lions' lone pitcher in the decisive eighth inning, took the loss.
Before the Illini battled back against the Lions' bullpen, starting pitcher Nick Hedge dominated on the mound. He tossed a one-hitter through five scoreless innings, striking out and walking two batters.
Hedge was backed up by four runs from his offense. The Lions tallied two runs in both the second and third innings.
Leading the way for the Lions' hitting was catcher Alex Farkes, who went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Third baseman Tyler Kendall also had a two-RBI game, finishing 1-for-4.
Despite the fast start, the Lions cooled off at the plate after the third inning. In the final six frames, they hit safely just three times.
The Lions will try to end a four-game losing streak with a matchup at home against Villanova on Tuesday followed by a three-game series against Michigan State to close out their regular season slate.
The Nittany Lions (12-33, 3-17) lost a second-straight game to Illinois (30-15, 11-9 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon, 8-6, in Champaign, Ill.
One day removed from a 9-0 shutout loss, the Lions bats came back to life with a .333 average in the game, but it would not be enough as the Illini got to starting pitcher Greg Welsh early.
After a scoreless first for the Lions, Illinois jumped out with five hits in the bottom half of the inning resulting in four runs. Left fielder Jordan Parr, Brandon Hohl and Reid Roper all batted in runs for the Illini.
The Lions got on the board in the second inning with an RBI single by third baseman Tyler Kendall that drove in catcher Alex Farkes, who had reached base on a double.
Though Welsh kept Illinois scoreless in the bottom of the second, the Illinois extended its lead in the bottom of the third. An RBI by Davis Hendrickson and two more tacked on with a single to left field by Jason Goldstein put the Illini up 7-1.
Welsh was pulled in the fifth after allowing nine hits, five walks and six earned runs.
Facing another potential blowout, the Lions began to chip away at the lead in the top of the fifth when left fielder
James Coates drove in right fielder Zach Ell by grounding out to first with two men on base.
The Lions strung together a three-run seventh to tighten it up 7-5. A double by Aaron Novak kicked off a frame that features runs batted in by center fielder Steve Snyder, shortstop Luis Montesinos and Coates. The Lions had four hits in total for the inning.
Illinois created some breathing room with a run in the seventh and the Lions could not come back despite an RBI by Novak in the eighth.
Trailing by two in the ninth, Farkes struck out swinging with two men on to end the game.
Penn State looks to avoid the series sweep with the final game Sunday at 12 p.m.
Penn State baseball was shut out in the first game of its final away series of the regular season by Illinois on Friday, 9-0.
The Nittany Lions (12-32, 3-16 Big Ten) were held to two hits by Fighting Illini starting pitcher Kevin Duchene, and were hitless through the first six innings at Illinois Field. Left fielder James Coates and second baseman Luis Montesinos both hit safely for the Lions in the seventh inning.
Duchene (7-1) pitched a dominant complete game for the Illini (29-15, 10-9 Big Ten). The freshman struck out 11 Lions and walked only right fielder Zach Ell once.
Ryan Harper (1-3), starting for the Lions, did not start off bad himself. But after he gave up a two-run home run in the third inning, the Illini ended Harper's day with a seven-run fourth inning.
The rally came after Harper retired the inning's first two batters. But the Illini then scored their final seven runs on him with the help of seven hits before Nick Hedge entered the game in relief and ended the inning.
For the rest of the game, Hedge and Tim Dunn kept the Illini off the scoreboard, combining for three hits allowed and three strikeouts. But with the damage already done, Duchene's effective pitching prevented any threat of a comeback.
Things were not going its way in the first two games of the series against Minnesota, but Penn State picked up a huge win when sophomore Taylor Skerpon propelled the Nittany Lions to victory Sunday afternoon.
With the score tied and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, Skerpon lined a ball to second base, just avoiding a double play to secure the victory for the Lions (12-30, 3-15 Big Ten) as they defeated the Golden Gophers (28-15, 11-4 Big Ten), 4-3, on Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Senior Steven Hill got the start Sunday, but the Gophers jumped on him early with a RBI by Minnesota third baseman Ryan Abrahamson off a fielder’s choice in the first inning.
The Lions countered in the third inning when Luis Montesinos knocked a double to left field to score Elliot Searer and knotted the game up at one.
Minnesota reclaimed the lead in the sixth inning with a triple to right field by Mark Tatera and a double by Matt Halloran to left for two more runs off of Hill that handed the Gophers a 3-1 lead.
Penn State caught a break in the bottom sixth, with the bases loaded, on a throwing error by Abrahamson that allowed sophomore J.C. Coban to score. J.J. White stepped up to the plate with no outs and grounded into a double play, but Skerpon was scored from third on the play to tie the game once again.
Neither team scored through the ninth and the game went into extra innings.
The Gophers loaded the bases with no outs off of relief pitcher Neal Herring in their at-bat in the 10th frame. However, a fielder's choice at home followed by a double play kept Minnesota off the board and ended the scoring threat, thus setting the Lions up for a walk-off.
After a single by Steve Snyder, a walk by Searer and a successful bunt by Montesinos, Skerpon stepped to the plate with just one out.
Skerpon delivered, hitting the ball to third base. Though Montesinos was thrown out at second, Skerpon was able to reach first on a fielder’s choice and Snyder crossed home plate to win the game.
The Lions will travel to Akron on Tuesday to face the Zips and they will resume Big Ten play over the weekend with a three-game series away at Illinois.
Penn State wasn't able to overcome Minnesota's strong batting for the second consecutive day, extending its losing streak to five games Saturday at Medlar Field.
Starting pitcher Greg Welsh (2-5) could only keep the Golden Gophers (28-14, 11-3 Big Ten) off the scoreboard in the first of his four innings of work. The other three innings at the plate were decisive for the Gophers, as they were shut out by the Nittany Lions' (11-30, 2-15 Big Ten) bullpen but still won, 7-3.
Welsh gave up seven runs, four of which were earned, and surrendered eight hits.
Meanwhile, the Lions hit safely six times all game, posting a single run in the second, sixth and seventh innings. After Ty McDevitt entered in relief to start the eighth inning, they were held off base the rest of the game.
In the second inning, the Gophers struck first with a three-run frame. With runners on second and third base, Alex LaShomb brought home the inning's first run on a ground out. Michael Handel singled in another run in the next at-bat, and two batters later, Troy Larson singled Handel home.
After the Gophers added two runs in the third inning, they scored two more in the fourth.
With two outs and Larson on second base, Kurt Schlangen extended the inning when he reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Tyler Kendall. Two consecutive singles scored the last of the Gophers runs before Welsh ended the inning and was replaced by Cody Lewis before the fifth inning began.
All three of the Lions' errors were committed in the innings the Gophers scored.
Offensively, the Lions did not muster much. Nobody registered a multi-hit game, and J.J. White drew the team's only walk. James Coates was a bright spot, though, as he went 1-for-3 and drove in two of the team's runs.
After Penn State won the first contest of Saturday's doubleheader with Iowa in walk-off fashion, both teams came out swinging to start the second game.
But while the Nittany Lions (9-25, 1-10 Big Ten) took an early lead, they squandered it just as quickly. The Lions did not pull off any late-inning drama the second time around, though, and the Hawkeyes (14-19, 2-8 Big Ten) prevailed 5-2.
In the day's first game, the Lions scored at least one run in every inning from the fifth frame on. They picked up right where they left off in the second contest. The Hawkeyes put a run on the board in the top of the first, but the Lions countered right away.
With the bases loaded, Luis Montesinos hit a ground ball to shortstop Nick Roscetti. He made the easy out at second base, but Steve Snyder scored on the play. In the next at-bat, Elliot Searer hit a single into left field, scoring Taylor Skerpon.
The early one-run lead did not hold for long, though.
With two outs and two on in the second inning, a throwing error by Skerpon loaded the bases for the Hawkeyes. A throwing error by Searer in the next at-bat tied the game, and third baseman Jake Yacinich then drove two runs home on a single to left field.
The costly errors helped secure the loss for starter Steven Hill, who struck out five in five innings but gave up 10 hits.
After the first inning, the Lions' bats became silent. They were limited to five hits in the following eight innings and left 12 men on base in the entire game.
“We had a lot of opportunities throughout the game, so it wasn't like we didn't get runners on,” said centerfielder Steve Snyder, who went 1-2 with three walks. “We had two guys on in a bunch of innings, so we just didn't get them in.”
Hill settled down after the second inning. A bunt from Roscetti in the fifth scored another run against him, but Hill allowed only two earned runs and struck out five.
Ryan Harper kept the Lions within striking distance in relief. Pitching the final four innings, Harper walked two batters but allowed only one hit.
“[Harper]'s great. He's a workhorse,” Snyder said. “I like when he's on the mound. He throws strikes, he does everything he can. He's a competitor.”
Despite the strong support on the mound, the Lions could never climb out of the hole they were in.
Even with the loss, though, catcher J.C. Coban said the team was still upbeat about the day, which featured its first win in the Big Ten this season.
“Everybody's loose right now,” he said. “Even though we lost, I really feel like we can comeback and take this series.”
Designated hitter J.C. Coban went 3-for-5 against Iowa in the first game of the doubleheader with Iowa, and it was his third hit that propelled the Nittany Lions to an 8-7 victory over the Hawkeyes on Saturday.
The Lions (9-24, 1-9 Big Ten) were swept in their first three Big Ten series and the start to the three-game weekend set with the Hawkeyes (13-19, 2-8 Big Ten) looked like it was going to continue to the trend.
Both teams were scoreless through three innings of play, but Iowa got to Penn State starting pitcher T.J. Jann in the fourth and chased him out of the ballgame.
The Hawkeyes scored their first run of the inning on a pass ball that allowed designated hitter Trevor Kenyon to cross the plate. After the inning was over, Iowa had five singles, one double and five runs.
The Lions struggled to find baserunners early in the contest while the Hawkeyes added two more runs in the fifth frame, however, it would be the last inning they would score.
Right fielder Aaron Novak got the Lions on the board with a single to left field in bottom of the fifth that brought home second baseman Luis Montesinos, who went 3-for-4 on the day.
The Lions slowly chipped away at the Hawkeyes' lead with two runs in the sixth and one run in each the seventh and eighth frame to set up the ninth inning.
Iowa brought in Taylor Kaufman from left field to pitch the ninth frame and preserve the Hawkeyes' two-run lead.
Catcher Alex Farkes got the rally going with a bloop single to left field in the first at-bat of the inning. After left fielder James Coates flied out to left, center fielder Steve Snyder picked up his fourth hit of the day with a bloop single of his own that pushed Farkes to second base.
Shortstop Taylor Skerpon recorded his first hit on the day when he drilled a double to left-center that scored Farkes and cut the difference to just one run.
Coban stepped to the plate and smacked a double of his own down the third baseline that scored Snyder easily and plated a sliding Skerpon as the Lions rushed the field to celebrate the win.
The comeback took Jann off the hook and right-hander Neal Herring picked up his first win of the year as he pitched an inning and two thirds giving up no runs and striking out two.
The two teams will play the second game of the doubleheader around 5:15 p.m. Saturday and then meet again for the finale Sunday at 12:05 p.m.
Penn State baseball coach Robbie Wine addressed the media followed by designated hitter Elliot Searer and second baseman Luis Montesinos after the Nittany Lions knocked off the Bison on April 17, 2013. The Lions won, 7-6, off of Searer's walk-off hit with the bases loaded, which drove home right fielder Aaron Novak, in the twelfth inning.