SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Steve Snyder (West Chester, Pa.) came through in a big way for the Nittany Lions on Thursday evening with a clutch eighth inning, two-out single through the right side of the infield to score what became the winning run in Penn State’s 6-5 victory over Santa Clara.
Snyder continued to perform at the plate in game one of the three-game series against the Broncos, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, a run and a stolen base in the win. With the two hits, the senior extended his current hitting streak to 11 games, matching the longest of his career. Snyder’s steal was his fifth of the season, which leads the team.
Another Nittany Lion batter who came recorded a solid evening was Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla.). The third baseman drove in a team-high three runs off a double and a sacrifice fly.
On the mound Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) came in with two outs in the seventh and shut down the Broncos’ attack. The sophomore allowed just one base runner in his 2.1 innings of work and struck out two Santa Clara hitters on his way to his fourth win of the season, all coming in relief appearances. Anderson now leads the Big Ten in victories.
Penn State opened the game with a golden opportunity to score the evening’s first run, after Coates doubled to lead off the game followed by a Snyder walk. However, neither Nittany Lion was able to come around to score as the Broncos managed to get out of the jam.
In the bottom of the frame, the Broncos capitalized on their scoring opportunity after they recorded a leadoff single. The Bronco base runner moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then advanced to third on a steal. Santa Clara’s Zach Looney then flied out to center to plate the opening run run and give the Broncos an early 1-0 lead.
The Blue and White responded immediately in the top of the second with a run of its own to knot the score up at 1-1. The run came from two Penn State doubles, the first from Zach Ell (Plains, Pa.) and the second from Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.) to drive in Ell. The RBI was Haley’s first of his collegiate career.
The Nittany Lion lead was short lived, as the hosts matched Penn State with a run of their own in the second to go back on top by a score of 2-1. The Broncos scored the run off a Jose Vizcaino single with two outs.
Penn State answered by scoring twice in the third to grab its first lead of the night at 3-2. The Nittany Lions loaded the bases with no outs and scored their first run of the frame off a walk to Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) to tie the game. The Blue and White then took the lead off a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of Kendall.
After Penn State grabbed the lead, the Broncos scored a run in the third and fourth to retake the lead at 4-3.
The see-saw battle continued in the fifth, as the Nittany Lions battled back to score two runs in the frame and went back on top by a score of 5-4. The Blue and White got back-to-back singles from Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) and J.J. White (Landsowne, Va.) with no outs followed by a sacrifice bunt by Skerpon to move both runners into scoring position. Kendall stepped up to the dish and shot a pitch the opposite way down the right field line to clear the bases for a two-run double.
Following the Lions’ two run top of the fifth, both teams’ pitching staffs started to settle in. Penn State held the Broncos scoreless in the bottom of the fifth and sixth and Santa Clara matched by not allowing PSU to plate a run in the sixth and seventh stanzas.
The hosts managed to tie the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, despite recording no hits. The Broncos put a man on base by way of a hit-by-pitch and the runner moved up two bases off an errant pickoff throw. With runners on the corners and one out, Anderson struck out an SCU batter and the runner on first broke for second. The Blue and White got the runner out after a rundown but not before the Santa Clara runner on third crossed home plate to tie the game.
Once again, after giving up a lead Penn State showed its resiliency by scoring a run in the very next inning to reclaim the lead. With Ell on second and Coates on first and two outs in the eighth, Snyder came through for the Nittany Lions with a clutch hit. The senior lined a pitch through the right side to allow Ell to come around from second to put Penn State back on top.
Anderson shut down the Santa Clara offense in the final two innings, allowing just one base runner off a single en route to the 6-5 victory, his Big Ten leading fourth win of the year.
The Nittany Lions return to the field Friday evening for the second game in the three game series against the Broncos. The first pitch is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.