So far, the 2012 season has been a struggle for the Penn State baseball team, but the Nittany Lions got some much-needed offense in yesterday’s home opener against Pitt at Medlar Field.
Senior third baseman Jordan Steranka had four hits, including a three-run homer, and four RBIs to lead the Lions (4-14) to a 5-3 victory over the Panthers.
Senior Sean Deegan and sophomore Steve Snyder both added two hits each in the game, and left-hander Mike Franklin had an effective outing, throwing 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs, and picking up his first win of the seasons.
Penn State went on top in the second inning after both Deegan and Snyder led off with singles. Then, with one out, Steranka blasted a 3-run shot into the right field stands that gave PSU a 3-0 lead.
Pitt came back in the fourth inning when Elvin Soto hit a two-run single, but Penn state struck again in the fifth. Snyder again singled and was driven home by Steranka’s third hit, and then junior Luis Montesinos was walked with the bases loaded to give PSU a 5-2 lead.
Pitt would score another run off Franklin in the fifth, but relievers Greg Welsh and freshman Casey Kullina combined to shut the Panthers out the rest of the way. Kullina picked up his second save of the season.
The win comes after a very tough weekend for the Lions at East Carolina. ECU swept the three games against PSU, the last of which was a stinging 6-5, 10-inning win on Sunday.
Penn State went into the bottom of the ninth inning in that game with a 5-1 lead. But ECU’s Corey Thompson nailed a three-run homer that gave his team life, and then John Wooten hit solo shot to tie the game at five. ECU then went on to win on a throwing error in the 10th that scored a runner from second base.
Yesterday’s Pitt game began a six-game home stand for the Lions. Indiana comes into Medlar Field on Friday to start a three-game series, and then Coppin State visits for a double-header on March 28th.
The Nittany Lions are hoping that a little home cooking will help them begin to turn their season around.