Nittany Lions Eliminate Top-Seeded Wolverines, 6-5
May 25, 2007
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - With tournament life on the line, Penn State put together a 6-5 win over top-seeded Michigan in extra-innings. Headed into the final inning with a 5-2 lead, the Nittany Lions had the game all but in their pocket as the Wolverines came back to tie the game and force a tenth frame. Penn State could have easily let down after losing a three run lead, but bounced back with the help of Cory Wine and in the form of a blast over the right field wall. The solo blast was enough to take back momentum and seal Michigan's fate.
Scoring started in the first when Penn State use two singles through the left side and a dropped third strike to load the bases to set up an early lead. With two outs and runners on second and third, Mike Deese came through with a clutch hit to left field to score lead off batter Matt Cavagnaro and an aggressive Scott Gaffney from second. Wolverine starting pitcher Mike Wilson settled down to come through with a strike out for the final out and end the inning without further damage.
Michigan answered in the fourth when catcher Doug Pickens hit a ball to the right side of the diamond to score Nate Recknagel from third. Prior to the inning, the Wolverines had been threatening with a runner in scoring position in each of the first and third innings. With another Wolverine runner standing 60 feet away at third, Derek VanBuskirk was not about to strand yet another runner, singling up the middle to even the score 2-2.
The Nittany Lions wasted no time in getting the inning back by manufacturing two more runs in the fifth inning. Cavagnaro lead off the inning by picking up his second hit of the game with a single through the left side. Clean-up hitter Joe Blackburn was intentional walked to place runners on first and second and two outs for Cory Wine. Wine made Michigan pay for the oversight by crushing a triple down the right field line and put another deuce on the board to take back the lead 4-2.
Garrett Field's triple in the sixth plated an insurance run for the Nittany Lions that proved to be useful as the Wolverines staged a late ninth inning rally. With runners on second and third and no out, Michigan used two fundamental ground out hits to the right side to decrease its deficit 5-4. Despite two outs and no one on, Eric Rose kept the inning alive with a hit to the left side that took a wayward bounce over the shortstops head. Nate Recknagel followed with a shot to centerfield to advance Rose to third and threaten once more. With the home crowd shaking the rafters with its cheers and stomping Zach Putnam sliced a shot to right field to score Rose and tie the game at 5-5.
Once again, Penn State wasted no time in answering in the following inning. Wine picked up his third RBI of the game when he took Michael Powers yard for a two out solo homerun. With the lead back in O'Neil's hands, the right-hander made sure to shut down the Wolverines this time. The reliever picked up the win for the Nittany Lions allowing one earned run and four hits in 2.1 inning performance.
With the win, Penn State plays in back-to-back games facing Illinois next at 3:35 p.m. ET. The Wolverines end their season with a 39-16 record and is eliminated from tournament action.