Eight-Run Fifth Leads Nittany Lions to Sweep of Hawkeyes, 11-8

Weekend marks first-ever sweep of Iowa at home

Ryan Boonie equaled a career high with three RBI and went 2-for-5.

Ryan Boonie equaled a career high with three RBI and went 2-for-5.

May 11, 2008

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Coach Bell on the radio postgame show (mp3)

University Park, Pa. - Penn State scored eight runs in the fifth inning, the most runs the Nittany Lions have scored in a single inning this season, and Mike Lorentson turned in a solid performance after giving up three runs in the first inning as he put up six consecutive scoreless innings after that to lead Penn State to an 11-8 win over Iowa and the series sweep on Sunday afternoon. Penn State finishes the year with a 15-9 mark at home and will remain in fourth place in the Big Ten standings entering the final weekend of the regular season next weekend.

With the win, Penn State also moved to 15-13 in the Big Ten, the first time this year the Lions have been two games above .500 in league play. Ryan Boonie equaled his career high with three RBI on the day and went 2-for-5 while Cory Wine went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Lou Picconi went 2-for-3 and also scored a pair out of the nine spot in the lineup while Joe Blackburn added a pair of RBI. Six different players recorded an RBI in the game.

Lorentson had the longest outing of his career as he pitched into the eighth inning, working 7.2 innings and scattering nine hits and allowing five runs. He walked just one and struck out a career high four. Four of his nine hits allowed came in the first inning as he set down 13 of 14 at one point from the second through the fifth innings. He allowed only one hitter to make it past second base from the second through seventh innings

Iowa held a 3-1 lead going into the fifth inning on the strength of its three-run first. Kevin Hoef and Justin Toole started the inning with back-to-back singles through the infield. Hoef scored on a sacrifice fly and Toole then scored on a double by Tyson Blaser, who was later sacrificed to third and scored on Kkyle Riffel's single.

Cory Wine went 3-for-4 and scored a pair of runs.

After Iowa starter Mike Jacobs allowed just two baserunners on a walk and a single through the first three innings, Penn State finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth as Rob Yodice drew a one-out walk and a fielder's choice and an infield hit later, scored on Rick Marlin's sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.

In the fifth, Penn State put out its largest offensive output of the year to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 9-3 lead. The inning started with a single to right center by Picconi and then back-to-back walks to Wes Borden and Landon Nakata loaded the bases for Blackburn, who blooped a double down the right field line to drive in both Picconi and Borden and put runners on second and third. That hit also chased Jacobs from the game and left-hander Matt Douglas came into face Rob Yodice and got him to ground out to second for the first out that also scored Nakata. Brian Ernst followed with a double to left center to score Blackburn. Cory Wine drew a walk and Marlin single to shallow left to reload the bases for Boonie, who smacked a single back up the middle to score two more runs, ending the day for Douglas and bring on Kyle Heim to pitch. Marlin was then erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of Picconi but Picconi went to second when Hoef's throw from third got away from the first baseman. Toole's throw to first from short on Borden's grounder then pulled the first baseman off the bag, allowing Boonie to score and sending Picconi to third. Borden stole second and when the throw went into center field, Picconi came home and scored before Borden was thrown out trying to go to third for the final out of the inning after 11 batters went to the plate.

Penn State tacked on two more runs in the seventh to take an 11-3 lead. Wine led off with an infield hit and Marlin drew a walk. Wine came around to score on Boonie's second RBI single of the day and Marlin then trotted home on Picconi's sacrifice fly to center.

Lorentson gave up a run on a fielder's choice grounder in the eighth after walking the leadoff hitter and giving up a single through the infield. He got the second out on a fly out to center but was then lifted after 122 pitches. John Karr came on and hit Zach McCool with a pitch and gave up an RBI single to Hoef before getting the final out of the inning as Iowa cut the lead to 11-5.

Lou Picconi scored a pair of runs and went 2-for-3.

In the ninth, Karr gave up a leadoff single to Caleb Curry but got pinch hitter Matt Mossey to fly out. David Lutz was then brought on and after retiring the first hitter he faced, gave up four straight hits that produced three more runs for the Hawkeyes before striking out Hoef to end the game.

With the win, Penn State solidifies its hold on fourth place as most of the rest of the Big Ten games involving teams around Penn State in the standings were rained out today. Both series finales in the Illinois-Ohio State and the Michigan State-Purdue series were rained out while the game between Indiana and Northwestern is currently in a rain delay. Penn State is now just a half-game behind Illinois for third place and now leads fifth place Ohio State by a full game, sixth place Northwestern by a game and a half (pending the outcome of its game today if played) and seventh place Michigan State by two games.

The Nittany Lions will head to Minnesota for a series to be played this coming Thursday-Saturday looking to clinch a spot in the Big Ten Tournament, which begins next Wednesday.

Notes: This weekend marked Penn State's first-ever sweep of Iowa at home. Penn State had swept Iowa before on the road in 2000, which was also the last series win over the Hawkeyes for the Nittany Lions until this year....Seven Penn State seniors were honored prior to the game as part of Senior Day. They were Joe Blackburn, Brian Ernst, Paul Hawkins, Ryan Stobart, Seth Whitehill, Rob Yodice and Drew O'Neil, who still has one year of eligibility remaining but will graduate this year and will embark on a professional career after this season....This years marks the first time under head coach Robbie Wine and the first time since 2000 that the Nittany Lions have swept two four-game Big Ten series in the same season. The Nits swept both Iowa and Michigan in 2000. They also swept two series in 2001, sweeping both Michigan and Michigan State, but one of those series was a weather-shortened three-game series....The Nittany Lions swept the series despite being outhit in three of the four games....Ernst has now doubled in three straight games.

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