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    Northwestern Drops Series Opener at Penn State, 7-3

    March 28, 2014

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    Penn State Penn State 7, Northwestern 3
    Medlar Field at Lubrano Park • University Park, Pa.

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    UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Northwestern led by two runs in the early going Friday night, but a four-run sixth inning for Penn State helped the Nittany Lions capture the Big Ten clash, 7-3, at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

    The Wildcats pounded out 10 hits in the ballgame, marking the 11th time this season that they posted double digits in that category, but they also surrendered a season-high 12 walks in the game. Four of Penn State's seven runs were scored by batters who reached via a free pass.

    The game began after a 75-minute rain delay, but when it did Northwestern dented the scoreboard in the first inning for the ninth time this season. First baseman Zach Jones singled to right-center field before Scott Heelan wrapped a sharp single to center. With runners at the corners, designated hitter Jack Livingston slapped a double down the left-field line on the first pitch he saw to score both Jones and Heelan, giving the Wildcats a two-run lead.

    The Nittany Lions looked to get the runs right back in the bottom of the first. Steve Snyder reached on an error and Taylor Skerpon walked, but NU's starting pitcher Brandon Magallones sent down the next three hitters in order to leave the two in scoring position and exit the field unscathed.

    NU continued to attack T.J. Jann and the Nittany Lions, but it was unable to scratch out another run over the next few frames. Cody Stevens earned an infield single to start the second, but he was stranded on third as the inning ended. In the top of the fourth, Luke Dauch punched a one-out single to right, and later stole second base, but the inning ended with the outfielder 180 feet from the dish.

    Penn State finally broke through against Magallones and the 'Cats in the bottom of the fourth. Tyler Kendall and James Coates drove in runs for the Nittany Lions to tie the game on a groundout and a double to right-center field. Magallones got out of any further trouble by striking out Zach Ell to end the inning with a Nittany Lion marooned in scoring position at second base.

    The offense went back to work in the top of the fifth. Jones, who celebrated a birthday Friday, poked a base hit through the left side for his second hit of the day. The first baseman moved to second, and then third, on separate wild pitches from Jann before Livingston drove in his career-high third run with a single that was knocked down by the PSU shortstop. After Joe Hoscheit singled, Penn State went to the bullpen and summoned Ian Parvin. Parvin got Jake Schieber out on strikes to end the inning, but not before the Wildcats regained the lead, 3-2.

    The home nine was able to equalize the score for the second straight inning with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Magallones issued back-to-back walks and Snyder was able to score from second on a single through the left side of the infield. Penn State loaded the bases with two away, but NU's starting pitcher reared back and got Coates swinging to end the inning and help the Wildcats get back in the dugout with the scored tied at 3-3.

    Penn State took its first lead of the evening by scoring for the third straight inning in the sixth. Jim Haley scored the go-ahead run when catcher Alex Malinksy singled past Northwestern's drawn-in infield. The Wildcats then went to the bullpen and called upon Ethan Bramschreiber, but senior surrendered back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out. Bramschreiber next walked J.J. White to bring in the second run of the inning before the Nittany Lions added a two-run single to take a 7-3 lead.

    Jake Stolley relieved Bramschreiber with the bases loaded and two outs. After a lengthy battle, the sophomore southpaw struck out Haley to turn it back over to its offense.

    Northwestern put runners on the corners with two outs in the visitors' half of the seventh, but Heelan was unable to come home when pinch hitter Jake Straub grounded out sharply to third base to end the stanza. Parvin got twin killings to end both the eighth inning and the game to pick up his second win of the season.

    The three-game series against the Nittany Lions continues on Saturday, March 29 at 9 a.m. CT. The game has been moved up from a 1 p.m. start because of the threat of rain later in the afternoon and evening. Sophomore left-hander Reed Mason is scheduled to take the ball for the Wildcats and he'll be opposed on the mound by a fellow southpaw, Penn State's Greg Welsh.

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