Penn State baseball sweeps Bucknell in Saturday doubleheader

Story posted March 22, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Uriah Tagle

Carrying momentum from the mid-week sweep of NYIT on Tuesday and Wednesday, Penn State (9-12) took both games in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, against the in-state rival Bucknell (7-10-1).  The Nittany Lions won game one 7-3, with right-hander T.J. Jann (1-4) picking up the win, senior Ian Parvin getting a four inning save, and the Bison’s Bryson Hough (2-3) being charged with the loss. 

In the condensed seven-inning game two, senior lefty Tim Dunn (1-1) tossed five innings for the win, and sophomore closer Jack Anderson shut down the Bison for his second save of the season.  6-foot-7 senior Dan Weigal took the loss for the Bison, after surrendering four runs, two earned, in 5 and one third innings of work.

“I’m really proud of our guys, they played hard,” Penn State head coach Rob Cooper said after the doubleheader.  “We had great offensive approach, we squared some balls up, and we executed some things with the short game.”

The bats were hot for Penn State in game one, as the Lions rocked Bryson Hough to the tune of 12 hits and seven runs in 5 and two thirds innings of work.  Redshirt sophomore Greg Guers led the offensive for the blue and white, going 3-4 with three RBIs.  Two of the three RBIs came in the bottom of the third, when the Langhorne, PA, native ripped a triple into the right-center field gap, clearing the bases.  After game two, Guers focused on how well the Nittany Lions played as a team.

“We weren’t swinging at bad pitches, and everybody wasn’t trying to do too much,” said Guers.  “We had singles, doubles, and we hit with runners in scoring position, which is an overall great performance by your team.”

On the mound, Jann surrendered only four hits and no earned runs, while fanning six Bison through his five innings of work.  Despite his stat line, Jann didn’t seem to have his best stuff in game one.

“T.J. Jann didn’t really pitch all that well, but he competed,” said Cooper after the game.  “I mean, he absolutely competed.  He fought himself all day trying to find the zone.”

While Jann picked up the win with a solid performance, it was Ian Parvin who impressed the most.  The right-hander dominated the Bison lineup, throwing four innings of no-hit ball, and striking out the last seven Bucknell batters that he faced.

“That was unreal, I’ve never had anything like that before,” said Parvin when asked about the strikeout streak.  “That was pretty cool.  Obviously I’m pretty thrilled to get a win for the guys, but seven in a row, that doesn’t happen too often.”

Parvin was so dominant on the mound, that first base umpire Steve Vozar stopped the action in the ninth to run out to the mound, and examine Parvin’s hat, as well as the ball.

“I guess they thought I was doctoring the ball or something like that,” Parvin said.  “He asked to check my hat and the ball, but I just thought it was kind of funny.”

In game two, the Nittany Lions played some small ball, manufacturing runs through the use of sacrifice bunts and infield singles.  After trailing 1-0 going into the bottom of the 1st, redshirt senior Steve Snyder led off with an infield single, followed by consecutive bunts for hits by outfielder James Coates and first baseman J.J. White.  Thanks to an RBI on a fielder’s choice from second baseman Taylor Skerpon, the Nittany Lions were able to tie the game at one.

The run in the first was not the only score that Penn State would manufacture in the 4-3 win.  With no extra-base hits in the second half of the doubleheader, the Nittany Lions scored their runs by making the most of every at-bat.

“I don’t want a great hitting team, I want a great offensive team,” said Cooper.  “I want a team that can find a way to score a run, even when they’re not hitting.”

The Nittany Lions were energized by a sizable contingent of Penn State baseball fans throughout the doubleheader.  Perhaps the most vocal part of the crowd was the new student section "Cooper’s Town", which is located behind the visiting dugout on the third base line.

“I thought the students were awesome,” said Cooper postgame.  “I think it can be a great environment here and a fun atmosphere, especially when the students take over like they do.  If they take ownership of it, which they are, it’s going to be a neat deal.”

With the two wins over Bucknell on Saturday, Penn State has now won 21 straight games against the Bison; a streak dating back to 1998.  The Nittany Lions will look to extend the streak on Sunday with another doubleheader against the Bison, just down I-80 in Lewisburg.  First pitch for game one is scheduled for noon.

Uriah Tagle is a junior majoring in communication arts and sciences and economics.  To contact him, email uriahtagle@gmail.com.