Illinois fights back to top Penn State baseball
Adam Walton delivered a go-ahead two-run, two-out single in a four-run seventh inning, during Saturday’s matinee at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, as the Illinois Fighting Illini (20-14, 8-3 Big Ten) fought back to defeat Penn State (17-18, 5-5 Big Ten), 8-3, in game two of the three-game weekend series.
The Fighting Illini jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, thanks to a Ryan Nagle single to center field that scored Reid Roper from second base. Illinois then extended its lead to 2-0 in the third inning on Jason Goldstein’s sacrifice fly, scoring Will Krug.
Penn State used a three-run fourth inning to take the lead.
The Nittany Lions tied the game on a Taylor Skerpon single to right field, that scored both Greg Guers and J.J. White, and then took the lead on a terrific bunt from Ryan Richter down the third base line to score Skerpon.
Highlighted by Walton’s two RBI single through the right side, Illinois scored four runs in the seventh inning to regain the lead. The Fighting Illini never looked back, adding two more insurance runs in the eighth inning, to take a commanding five-run lead.
"We got a lot of clutch hitting with two outs today," said Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb. "It was good to see some guys take good swings in key situations. The one that was huge was Adam Walton taking the ball to right field with the bases loaded and two outs. Road wins aren't easy, but we found a way to win again."
Not only did the sophomore Walton give the Fighting Illini the lead, but he also extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games.
John Kravetz registered the win for Illinois, allowing three runs (two earned) on nine hits, two walks and six strikeouts, in six and two-thirds innings pitched.
T.J. Jann, the starting pitcher for the Nittany Lions, gave up four runs on five hits and two walks in six innings of work.
“I had a good rhythm,” said Jann. “I was working ahead of a lot of guys and just continued to pound the zone. When I was pounding the zone things were going my way.”
With the win, Illinois takes over sole possession of second place in the Big Ten, matching its best conference start under Hartleb since 2009.
After starting conference play 4-0, Penn State has now lost five of its last six Big Ten games.
“We have to do a better job during BP to get ourselves ready to go,” said first-year Penn State head coach Rob Cooper. “This is part of the learning process … good teams learn how to close out close games.”
First pitch for the final game of the three-game series is set for Sunday at noon at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, where Penn State’s Ian Parvin (3-1, 3.38 ERA) will make his first career start against fellow righty Ryan Castellanos (3-2, 4.41 ERA).
Tyler Feldman is a sophomore dual majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Marketing
Currently, Feldman is an executive producer, reporter and anchor for the Centre County Report, as well as ComRadio’s senior sports director. He also is the host of the Penn State Coaches Show featuring Guy Gadowsky, which airs live from Lettermans on ESPN Radio 1450 and GoPSUSports.com every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Additionally, he was the first to report the hiring of Joe Moorhead as Penn State football’s new offensive coordinator on December 12, 2015.
He’s a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism within the College of Communications and enrolled in the Smeal College of Business.
Feldman, a Pittsburgh native, has broadcasted sporting events from a number of international and professional venues, including Estadio Latinoamericano in Cuba, Madison Square Garden, CONSOL Energy Center, Wells Fargo Center, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, and EverBank Field.
Last spring, he traveled with the Penn State men’s volleyball team as their play-by-play man, announcing his very first NCAA tournament matches at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
He has gained valuable broadcasting and reporting experience interning and working at WTAJ-TV, MLB Network, GoPSUSports.com, 105.9 The X, 970 AM ESPN, Big Ten Network Student U, and State College’s ESPN Radio 1450.
Feldman has a strong passion for sports and dreams to become a sports anchor/reporter in a national market and/or a hockey play-by-play announcer.