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Penn State Baseball Freshmen Pounce on Pitt, 7-3

Courtesy of GoPSU Athletics

Williams drives in four, Ford scores three times, Shingledecker gets first win


PITTSBURGH – A trio of freshmen led Penn State to a 7-3 victory over Pittsburgh in non-conference baseball action Tuesday afternoon at Charles L. Cost Field.


The win improves Penn State’s record to 10-3, marking its best start since 1980 (11-2), and its winning percentage to .769, marking its best start before playing a home game since Penn State started playing games in February and March in 1983.


A pair of freshmen making their first starts led the offense from the eighth and ninth spots. Batting eighth, designated hitter Ryan Ford (Freehold, N.J.) reached base four times, walking three times tallying a double for his first career hit and scoring three times. Batting ninth, third baseman Justin Williams (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) hit a two-run double in the second inning for his first career hit, and finished the day batting 3-for-5 with four RBIs.


On the mound, freshman LHP Tyler Shingledecker (Huntersville, N.C.) (1-1) earned his first career win, throwing a career-high four innings in relief and limiting Pittsburgh (6-8) to one run on four hits and a walk. He also struck out four.


Sophomore Kyle Virbittsky (Media, Pa.) (2) earned his second save of the season, keeping the Panthers off the board over the last 2.2 innings, striking out three and allowing just two hits.


Penn State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but Pitt tied the game with a run each in the in the bottom of the second and third.


The Nittany Lions built their initial lead as Williams roped a two-out double to the corner in right field, allowing catcher Jacob Padilla (Wylie, Texas) and shortstop Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) to score from the corners of the base paths. Padilla had doubled and Hughes had walked with one out, and Hughes just beat out the throw home to score all the way from first.


Padilla finished with a career-high two hits and Hughes walked three times.


The Panthers quickly halved the deficit as right fielder Nico Popa led the second off with a walk, stole second and scored from third on an RBI-single by second baseman Gregory Ryan. They tied the game in the third with a run scoring from third during a rundown between first and second.


The fourth was scoreless, but Penn State went back ahead by two in the top of the fifth on RBIs by right fielder Kris Kremer (Hershey, Pa.) and left fielder Mason Nadeau (Lansdale, Pa.). Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) led off with a double off the top of the left field wall, first baseman Parker Hendershot (Barton, N.Y.) followed with a walk, and both advanced into scoring position on a passed ball, allowing Kremer to drive home Bowersox with a ground out and Nadeau to drive home Hendershot on a sacrifice fly to left.


Penn State briefly extended its lead to three, 5-2, on an RBI-double by second baseman Gavin Homer (Battle Creek, Mich.) in the top of the sixth, driving home Ford who had walked to lead off the inning. However, Pitt answered in the bottom half, with shortstop David Yanni leading off the inning with a double and later scoring from third on a fielder’s choice RBI by third baseman Andres Antonini.


Williams drove in the final two runs with a base hit in the ninth inning, as Hughes had walked and Ford had doubled to move both into scoring position.



Penn State opens its home slate Friday at 4 p.m., starting a four-game, three-day series with UMass Lowell. Tickets are on sale online by clicking here or by calling the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park ticket office at 814-272-1711.


Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter and Instagram at @PennStateBASE and Facebook at /pennstatebaseball for all of the latest news and updates and behind the scenes action.


NOTES: Justin Williams and Ryan Ford were the first freshmen to start for Penn State this season … Penn State improved to 88-45-1 all-time against Pitt.


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