Catapulted by a three-run home run off the bat of Greg Guers in the top of the eighth inning, Penn State came away with a 11-5 win over in-state rival Pitt at Charles L. Cost Field Wednesday night. With the victory, the Nittany Lions earned a season sweep over the Panthers and have claimed 11 of their last 14 meetings against Pitt.
The Nittany Lions wasted no time getting on the board against Pitt with two runs in the top half of the first inning. Third baseman Jim Haley singled and scored on a Tyler Kendall seeing-eye single to put the Nittany Lions on the board. Willie Burger followed up Kendall’s single with a double off the left field wall to plate left fielder Greg Guers reached via walk.
Jacob Wright led the Pitt charge in the first with a double to right field off starting pitcher Eli Nabholz. Wright would later score with Nick Yarnall’s one-out single that scooted under an outstretched Burger at first base. The Panthers loaded the bases, but were unable to get anything going as Nabholz struck out P.J. DeMeo to end the Pitt threat.
Pitt would plate two runs in the second and fourth innings to go up three runs over the Nittany Lions.
Penn State struck in the fifth inning when Tyler Kendall laced a double to left-field to plate Jim Haley to get within two runs of the Panthers.
The Nittany Lions would go on to score a run in the top of the sixth while Pitt answered to bring the lead back to one. A two-run seventh for Penn State knotted the game at six runs a piece before Penn State took the lead with Christian Helsel scoring on an Alex Malinsky single. Conlin Hughes took advantage of a Nick Riotto grounder to third and scored on an error to boost the Penn State lead to two before Nick Guers came to the plate with two runners on in the eighth inning.
Guers proceeded to send the first pitch of the at-bat over the right field fence for a three-run home run and seal the deal for the Nittany Lions.
Jack Anderson came on with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning and induced a ground ball to shortstop to end the Pitt threat. Anderson followed that up with a flawless ninth inning to earn his 12th save, a single-season record for Penn State.
Dakota Forsythe got the victory for the Nittany Lions, going one and two-thirds innings giving up one hit, and two walks to earn his second victory of the season. Sam Mersing went six and one-third innings of work giving up seven hits, six earned runs and four walks to earn his third loss of the season for the Panthers.
Free bases were the theme of the night for Penn State as it used five pitchers to notch the victory tonight, and it took until the fourth pitcher to settle down the Pitt offense. Starting pitcher Eli Nabholz went two innings giving up three runs, two of them earned, five walks and one strikeout.
Tom Mullin followed Nabholz giving up a singular walk, but hitting two Pitt batters. Mullin also gave up three hits and two runs in his two innings of work. Nick Distasio went two innings giving up one run, but yielded four walks.
Forsythe was able to shut down the Pitt offense and did not give up a run in his one and two-thirds innings of work. Forsythe earned the victory while he gave up one hit and two walks before giving way to Anderson for the last out of the eighth inning.
Penn State capitalized on some small ball action in the eighth inning to put them in position for the season sweep of the Panthers.
Helsel led off the inning with an infield single followed by a single through the left side by center fielder James Coates. Alex Malinsky executed a perfect hit-and-run, scoring Helsel and moving Hughes to third. Nick Riotto hit a ground ball to third as Hughes scampered home to beat a dropped throw and give the Nittany Lions a two-run lead before Guers stepped to the plate and delivered the dagger.
History in the Making
With each save, Anderson continues to make history for the Penn State program. The submarine-pitcher added to the record books with his 95th career appearance and his 24th career save.
The reliever was able to etch his name into the record books again earning the single season saves record for the Nittany Lions with 12.