Nittany Lions Take Down Hoosiers
April 27, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A Scott Kelley home run in the top of the sixth inning broke a 4-4 tie as Penn State topped the Indiana baseball team 6-4 on Friday. Keith Haas and Andrew Means each had three hits while Jon Fixler drove in three runs in the loss.
The Hoosiers got on the board first for the fourth consecutive game, putting a pair of runs up in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead. Haas led off the game with a walk and Evan Crawford reached base after being hit by a pitch. After Means sacrificed the runners over, Fixler sent both home with a line-drive single into center field.
But in the second, Penn State rebounded for four runs of its own. The Nittany Lions batted around in the inning, scoring the runs on five hits and one walk, with all the damage coming with two men out. With runners at the corners, Kelley got the scoring started with a bloop RBI single to right. Jim Leitgeb followed with a hard liner to deep center that fell just out of the reach of Means in center and resulted in a two-run triple. A Matt Cavagnaro single just inside the bag at third gave the Lions their fourth run of the inning.
In the top of the third, PSU rallied again for a single and a double off Joe Vicini, giving the road squad a pair of runners in scoring position with nobody out. Chris McCombs slammed the door, though, as he struck out Brian Ernst, retired Dan Blackburn at home on a grounder from Rick Marlin and got Kelley on a liner to short.
The Hoosiers knotted the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Haas kicked off the inning with a single to left, and bunt singles by Crawford and Means loaded the bases with no one out. Fixler earned his third RBI of the day on a four-pitch walk, and Tyler Tufts earned his first career RBI two batters later when he hit a sacrifice fly to right. But the damage ended there for the Hoosiers, as Tyler Cox popped out to end the inning.
After Kelley's home run to lead off the sixth, neither team scored until the eighth inning when PSU expanded its lead. Cavagnaro was hit by a McCombs offering and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt. Blackburn drove him home with a double that fell just out of Means' reach to give PSU a two-run lead.
The Hoosiers threatened in the bottom of the frame with some two-out production. Chris Hervey reached with a single up the middle, and pinch hitter Reid Briglia and Haas followed with walks to load the bases. Closer Drew O'Neil came on in relief and caught Crawford looking on a back-door tailing fastball to end the threat. O'Neil retired the Hoosiers 1-2-3 in the ninth for his seventh save of the season.
McCombs picked up the tough-luck loss, allowing two runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. Seth Whitehill improved to 4-4 on the season after allowing four runs on six hits and four walks in his six innings of work. Chris Squires allowed one hit and one walk in his 1 1/3 innings of work to finish the game.
The two teams will face off again on Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. Tufts and Craig Clark are slated to pitch the opener, while Matt Bashore and Ryan Stobart are slated to do battle in game two.
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