ELON, N.C. – A late rally by the Elon University baseball team came up just short as the Phoenix dropped an 8-6 decision to the visiting Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, Feb. 17.
On the mound, Elon starter Kyle Brnovich struck out nine hitters in 5.0 innings and allowed just one run on three hits. Four Elon (0-2) pitchers combined to strike out 17 hitters on the day. The loss went to Robbie Welhaf (0-1) who was charged with seven runs on six hits in 0.2 innings of work.
A trio of Phoenix players posted two-hit days at the plate – Ryne Ogren (2-for-4, two RBI), Shawn Blake (2-for-3, three runs, home run, one RBI) and Zach Evers (2-for-3, one run, triple, one RBI).
For Penn State (2-0), starter Taylor Lehman (1-0) picked up the win after giving up one run on three hits in 5.0 innings. Despite walking the first two hitters he faced, Mason Mellott recorded the final three outs for his first save of the year.
Braxton Giavedoni paced the Nittany Lions at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Connor Klemann homered and drove in three.
How It Happened: For the second straight day Penn State led off the fourth inning with a homer, this one from Klemann, to take a 1-0 lead.
Elon tied it up in the last of the fifth. With two outs, Blake singled to right before Evers tripled down the right field line.
The Nittany Lions’ offense came to life in the sixth. With a runner at second with two outs, Penn State strung together seven consecutive hits, including a two-run homer from Logan Goodnight, to plate seven runs and build an 8-1 advantage.
The Phoenix chipped away over the next few frames. Three straight walks started Elon’s half of the seventh before Joe Satterfield’s one-out single made it an 8-2 contest. Ogren drove home a pair with a single through the left side of the infield before a James Venuto single tacked on one final marker in the inning as Elon cut its deficit to 8-5.
In the eighth, Blake made it 8-6 when he turned on a 2-2 pitch and hit his first homer of the season.
Elon would put more pressure on in the ninth as Satterfield and Ogren both drew walks to start the inning. Mellott then got a line drive out to right, a strike out and a ground ball to third to end the game.
Notes: Over the first two games of the series, Elon pitchers have recorded 33 strikeouts… Brnovich has now recorded nine or more strikeouts in five of his 15 career starts.
On Deck: Elon and Penn State will close out the series with a 1:30 p.m. game at Latham Park on Sunday afternoon.