IU Sweeps Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Indiana baseball team bounced back from its Friday loss at Penn State and took a pair of games from the Nittany Lions on Saturday in State College. Indiana won the first game, 13-9, and the nightcap, 8-4, behind hot bats and some help from its bullpen. The victories move the Hoosiers (29-16) back into fourth place in the Big Ten race with a 12-11 record. Penn State fell to 19-23 overall and 11-12 in league play.
IU pounded out a total of 21 hits in the two games and hit seven home runs, five in the first game and two in the second. Over the last three games against the Nittany Lions, the Hoosiers have blasted 11 long balls for a season total of 34.
Sophomore second baseman Corby Heckman hit two home runs and went 5-for-8 with six RBI. In the second game, Heckman was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Senior designated hitter Nick Evans had three hits, including a pair of roundtrippers in the first game. Evans also collected four RBI and scored four runs.
Game 1: Indiana 13, Penn State 9
Indiana continued the home run barrage that started in the first game of the series on Saturday, with two long balls in the top of the second inning. Senior designated hitter Nick Evans hit a leadoff blast out of the park in left-center. The homer was his first of the season and third of his career. After a pair of Hoosiers fell victim to strikeouts, junior first baseman Kevin Mahar nailed a shot to left-center to give Indiana a 2-0 lead.
Penn State came back to tie it up. Designated hitter Aaron Greenfield started the inning with a base hit. Shortstop Willie Melendez walked and then Colin Runt laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up. Greenfield came home and Melendez went to third on a wild pitch. PSU added its second run as Melendez scored on a ground out.
The Hoosiers quickly regained the lead in the third on another home run by Evans. With two outs, senior third baseman Vasili Spanos drew a walk and then Evans drove him in with another shot to right-center field.
The Nittany Lions got one run back in the bottom half of the frame on a a pair of two-out doubles. With two outs, senior Kevin O'Brien came on to relieve IU starter Chris Behrens.
IU extended its lead with a four-run fourth capped by sophomore second baseman Corby Heckman's home run to right. Junior shortstop Seth Bynum reached on an error by the Penn State third baseman and Mahar was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second. Junior catcher Cody Wargo sacrifice bunted the pair over to second and third. Bynum then scored on a sacrifice fly from senior leftifelder Mark Calkins before Heckman cleared the bases with his second long ball of the season.
The see-saw battle continued as the Nittany Lions put three runs on the board in their next at bat on three hits, including an RBI single by Zach Smithlin, and a pair of sacrifice flies. PSU pulled within 8-6 heading into the fifth.
IU scored a trio of runs on yet another homer in the next frame and took an 11-6 lead. Evans drew a base on balls to lead off. With two away, Mahar reached on an error before Wargo launched his fourth home run of the season out of the park in left.
Penn State got two runs back in the sixth inning on its first home run of the game. Wes Roehr ball hit the top of Calkins glove in left field and bounced over the fence. DeRenzo, who reached on a base hit, scored ahead of Roehr to make it 11-8
Wargo smacked a two-run double to deep right in the seventh for 13-8 lead. Bynum and Mahar both had base hits and scored on Wargo's hit.
In the bottom of the seventh, Penn State was able to muster one final run on a pair of singles and another sacrifice fly.
O'Brien picked up the win in relief for the Hoosiers and improved his season record to 3-0. He gave up six hits to PSU and three runs while walking one and striking out two. Behrens scattered six hits as well in the initial 3.2 innings. He walked four, struck out one and allowed six runs.
Josh Palm started the contest and took the loss in 4.1 innings of work. Palm allowed six IU hits and nine runs, four of them earned, walked two and recorded pair of strikeouts.
Game 2: Indiana 8, Penn State 4
In the Hoosiers' first trip to bat, they tallied four hits and scored two runs. Mark Calkins lined a single into center field and then scored on Corby Heckman's double to the gap in left-center. Nick Evans collected another RBI with a base hit that plated Heckman with two outs.
In the third, Calkins drove in Cody Wargo, who had reached on a fielder's choice. Kenny Marrs came around to score on Heckman's base hit through the left side. Vasili Spanos belted a three-run shot to right field and scored Calkins and Heckman for a 7-0 Indiana lead.
Penn State scored three times in the bottom of the second. IU pitcher Josh Lewis walked the first two batters he faced in the inning. Matt Harter drove a double to the wall in left-center and scored Lance Thompson and Mike DeRenzo. Harter eventually scored on a sac fly from Mike Milliron. The Nittany Lions added a single run in the bottom of the third as well. Derrick Barr walked and moved to second base on an errant throw to first by the pitcher. He came home on Wes Roher's base hit to the shortstop.
Heckman homered for the second time today in the fourth, nailing a solo shot to right to give the Hoosiers an 8-4 lead.
Lewis (3-1) got his third win of the season on the mound. The righthander scattered five Nittany Lion hits and gave up four earned runs. He also issued five walks and struck out two. Freshman southpaw Troy Ragle came on to finish the game for Lewis. He entered the game with no outs and two runners on in the sixth and earned the first save of his career. Ragle walked one and struck out two of the six batters he faced. Aaron Tressler took the loss for Penn State and fell to 2-3 on the season. He gave up eight earned runs and struck out six.
The Hoosiers and the Nittany Lions will close out their series on Sunday with a single game at Noon (EST). The live radio broadcast can be accessed on Penn State's web site at www.gopsusports.com.
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