Penn State Outlasts MSU In Baseball Series Finale, 12-11

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State's Scott Gummo delivered the game-winning double in the bottom of the ninth Sunday as the Nittany Lions outlasted Michigan State, 12-11, in the series finale to earn a split in the four-game set. The game featured six lead changes as the teams combined for 23 runs and 34 hits as nine pitchers took the mound. Eleven players recorded multiple-hit games, including seven Nittany Lions and four Spartans.

Penn State (11-23 overall, 5-7 Big Ten) out-hit the Spartans, 20-14, with Brian Ernst producing a career-high five hits.

The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Gummo's two-out RBI single. Back-to-back two-out triples by Steve Gerstenberger and Sean Walker in the second inning combined with a wild pitch accounted for two runs as Michigan State took a 2-1 lead.

The Spartans (17-15, 6-6) struck again with two outs in the third as Kyle Day drew a walk, which was followed by three-straight singles by Adam Tripp, Ryan Basham and John Lee, plus a passed ball to give MSU a 5-1 advantage.

Penn State scored twice in the sixth to cut its deficit to 5-3, but the Spartans got a run back in the seventh on Basham's RBI double for a 6-3 lead. The Nittany Lions answered with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. A two-run single by Garrett Field tied the game at 6-6. Penn State took its first lead at 7-6 as Field scored on a fielding error.

Michigan State pulled even in the eighth as Oliver Wolcott scored on Day's sacrifice fly to left field. Tripp then greeted Penn State reliever Scott Gaffney, who started the game at shortstop, with a two-run single to put the Spartans back on top 9-7.

The Nittany Lions responded with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to reclaim the lead at 10-9.

Basham led off the Spartan ninth with a double to right center and three batters later scored the tying run on an infield hit by Walker, who eventually trotted home on a wild pitch for an 11-10 lead.

Ernst opened the bottom of the ninth with a bunt single and two batters later scored on Matt Cavagnaro's RBI single to right field to tie the game at 11-11. Cavagnaro scored the game-winning run on Gummo's walk-off double to right center.

Gaffney (1-0) picked up the win while making his first pitching appearance of the 2006 season, allowing one earned run on three hits in 1.1 innings. Penn State starter Craig Clark threw 121 pitches in seven innings and permitted five earned runs on 10 hits while recording eight strikeouts.

Chris Cullen (2-1) took the loss, surrendering three runs on five hits in one inning. Spartan starter Craig Brookes threw 111 pitches in six innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits.

Michigan State returns to action Wednesday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. for a non-conference game against Central Michigan at Oldsmobile Park in Lansing, Mich. The Spartans resume Big Ten play April 21-23 for a four-game series against Minnesota at Kobs Field.