Penn State Walks off with Extra Inning Win over Indiana

Story posted March 25, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Artyom Kneuer

The Penn State Nittany Lions (5-15, 1-1 Big Ten) defeated the Indiana University Hoosiers (9-14, 1-1 Big Ten) in 10 innings by a score of 4-3 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park Saturday evening.

The game was delayed by more than three hours because of rain, but the weather held up long enough to get the game underway and completed fully without any further delays.

The second game of the three game series was a low scoring affair with runs difficult to come by. With Penn State leading 3-2 heading into the top of the ninth inning, head coach Robbie Wine stuck with relief pitcher Greg Welsh to close out the game.

However, after a strong eighth inning in which Welsh struck out two of the four batters he faced, he gave up the game tying run on an RBI double by Hoosier second baseman Chad Clark.

The Hoosiers could not take the lead and the Nittany Lions then had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth with the heart of their batting order coming to the plate.

But after a strikeout by left fielder Sean Deegan and ground outs by both first baseman Jordan Steranka and designated hitter Aaron Novak, the game headed to extra innings.

Neal Herring got the call to pitch the top of the 10th for Penn State, and after allowing the leadoff hitter to get a single, Herring retired the next three batters in order and gave his team a chance to win the game in the bottom of the frame.

After second baseman Luis Montesinos led off the inning with a single and was advanced to second by a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Zach Ell, shortstop Elliot Searer drove in the winning run with a single up the middle.

Joe Kurrasch started the game for Penn State, throwing seven solid innings. He gave up two earned runs while striking out three Hoosiers.

It seemed that the delayed start time did not affect Kurrasch’s approach to the game based on his performance. When asked if the rain delay changed up his regular routine, he noted that for the most part it was business as usual.

"I was on edge this morning," said Kurrasch. "But when you start stretching, it's basically just the same thing."

Some of Kurrasch’s success Saturday was made possible by a couple of stellar defensive plays by the Nittany Lions. Both occurred in the fifth inning as centerfielder Steve Snyder made a diving catch to record the first out of the inning. Second baseman Luis Montesinos followed up with a diving snag to prevent a ball from escaping the infield and recorded the final out of the inning. Kurrasch was sure to offer his gratitude for his teammates’ effort after the game.

"It was unbelievable," Kurrasch said. "I've never had two web gems behind me. I don't know if I've ever had one web gem behind me. So to see two like that gives me more confidence to just throw it out there, because I know I've got guys behind me making plays like that."

Penn State, already last in the Big Ten, was coming off an ugly 14-2 loss to Indiana the day before. When asked what he said to his players after the loss, head coach Robbie Wine stated that he is stressing his team to take games one at a time and not get hung up on one loss.

"[Friday's game] just counted as one loss," Wine said. "Didn't matter if it was 1-0 or 14-2. That was one loss, today was one win and we have another game tomorrow."

The hero of the game, Elliot Searer, had struggled so far this season hitting only .159 and getting only 10 hits. Wine discussed how this kind of game may affect him in the future.

"He needs some confidence right now," Wine said. "He's doubting himself, as are several of our guys. We just need to start thinking positive and believing in ourselves. He laid off a couple tough pitches and hits his pitch and hits his base hit."

Searer, usually number 26, had a mix up before Saturday’s game and he was unable to wear his usual jersey. Instead, he had to switch to number 10. When asked if he will keep the number 10 in the future based on his performance Saturday, with a smile he rejected the notion and simply stated that he will be going back to 26 as soon as possible.

Penn State closes out the three game series against Indiana Sunday afternoon at 1:05 as they look to win their first series of the season. The game can be heard live on ComRadio.

Artyom Kneuer is a sophomore majoring in Telecommunications. To contact him, email aak5215@psu.edu.