UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
A potential inning-ending double play went awry for Penn State, allowing Northwestern to score six times in the top of the eighth inning en route to an 11-5 victory for the Wildcats at Medlar Field. NU collected 19 hits in the contest, paced by Chris Lashmet who went 4-for-5 with four RBI.
The game was tied 5-5 with one out and a runner on first in the eighth when Arby Fields hit a comebacker to Steven Hill. What looked like it would result in a double play resulted in both NU runners being safe when shortstop Louie Picconi dropped the throw to second.
Penn State opted to bring in Heath Johnson in relief, but a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and Trevor Stevens then brought home Geoff Rowan with a single to left to give the Wildcats the lead. An RBI double by Chad Noble and a run-scoring single by Paul Snieder gave Northwestern an 8-5 lead before Lashmet plated two with a basehit to center. Zach Morton capped the six-run inning with an RBI single to center of his own.
That was more than enough for David Jensen who worked three shutout innings to pick up his first win of the season.
Penn State (12-16, 1-3 Big Ten) struck first in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a miscue in the field by the Wildcats. A one-out error put Elliot Searer aboard and he scored two batters later on a double down the left-field line by Ben Heath.
Northwestern (8-20, 2-2) got the run right back in the top of the second against Mike Wanamaker. Lashmet started the inning with a single, he stole second, moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt by Morton and scored on an RBI single by Colby Everett.
The Wildcats surged in front with two runs in the top of the third. Fields led off the inning with a single in his second consecutive at-bat, moved to third on a one-out double by Noble and scored on a groundout by Snieder. Lashmet plated Noble by going the other way for a booming double off the wall in right.
However, the Nittany Lions answered right back in the bottom half of the frame as two singles set the table for Jordan Steranka who hit his sixth homer of the season to give the hosts a 4-3 lead.
Another Northwestern error in the bottom of the fourth allowed Penn State to extend its lead to two. With two on and two out, Francis Brooke appeared as though he would get out of the inning unharmed as he got Searer to pop up on the infield, but the ball was misplayed allowing Bobby Jacobs to score from second.
After failing to cash in on two-out doubles in the fifth and sixth innings, the Wildcats broke through for two runs in the seventh to tie the game. Four consecutive singles, including run-scoring hits by Snieder and Lashmet, off Hill got NU back to even.
David Jensen entered in relief of Brooke in the seventh and mowed down the Nittany Lions, striking out the side in order.
Northwestern would then cash in big time in the decisive eighth inning.
Brooke worked the first six innings, allowing eight hits, five runs (three earned) and one walk while striking out a career-high eight batters. Jensen allowed just two hits while striking out three in his three inning of work to earn the victory.
In addition to Lashmet's four-hit performance, Noble and Snieder added three hits apiece.
The teams resume their three-game series at 1:05 p.m. Central time Saturday.