Boylston Shines In Home Opener As Penn State Beats Canisius, 11-1
On a chilly night in State College, the Nittany Lions were glad to be back in their friendly confines as they beat Canisius in their home opener, 11-1. Senior LHP Geoff Boylston (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K’s, 0 BB) got the start for Penn State and had another stellar outing following a career night against No. 7 South Carolina. Boylston struck out a career-high eight batters while not walking any of the 22 that he faced. The bats were on fire in this game as Penn State had 13 hits. Tuesday’s win against Pitt and this win results in a two-game winning streak, the first multi-game winning streak since April 11, 2014.
How It Happened
Boylston started the game strong as he struck out the first two batters, then allowed his only run of the game on two straight doubles from Canisius. After the first, Canisius couldn’t find an answer for Boylston as he struck out two in the second, one in the third, two in the fifth, and one in the sixth, setting a career high for K’s with eight. Relief was solid in this game as the bullpen of Tom Mullin, Marko Boricich, and Sal Biasi combined for 3.0 IP, 0 H, 8 K’s, 3 BB. Mullin and Biasi both struck out the only batters they faced.
Penn State’s offense picked up where it left off from the 12th inning against Pitt on Tuesday. The top five starters in the lineup combined to hit 8-for-16 with 9 runs and 5 RBIs. Senior third baseman Ryky Smith (3-for-4, 4 RBIs) led the Nittany Lions offense as J.J. White, Jim Haley, Tyler Kendall, and Aaron Novak provided the team with 7 RBIs.
The Nittany Lions came out to win from the start, as they scored four runs in the first inning. Ryky Smith provided the team with a two-RBI single to end the first. In the fifth inning, senior right fielder Aaron Novak hit a two-RBI single and was able to steal second, reach third on a wild pitch, and score on a passed ball to give Penn State a 7-1 lead. In the seventh, Ryky provided Penn State with a two-RBI double to right center, which brought in Haley and junior DH Tyler Kendall to score. In the next inning, J.J. White hit an RBI double to right center, and White was able to score because of a fielding error in left on a pop-fly by Haley.
Everything that Penn State did in this game was well-executed. The pitching was on point, the bats were hot, the defense played well, and it was an overall team win. Having 16 strikeouts and one walk from your pitching staff is definitely something that coach Rob Cooper likes to see, and credited assistan coach Brian Anderson with the success of the pitching the past couple of games.
“Coach Anderson does a really good job with our pitching staff,” Cooper said after the game. “He had out on the pitching plan the other day that ‘however this week goes, we are going to attack.’ We’re going to have commitment and conviction with every pitch that we throw.”
The top five players in the lineup seemed to work well again just like they did against Pitt on Tuesday, so this may be a recurring lineup — especially against a good pitching team in Indiana. Penn State will play its first Big Ten series against the Hoosiers this weekend. When asked about preparing for Indiana, Coach Cooper said, “we’re going to come out and try and have a great practice, but the biggest thing we’re going to focus on is remembering what, over the past four games, has been the difference and that’s been the mindset; the choice to go out and compete.”
Penn State will stay home to face off against Indiana for a three-game series starting Friday at 5:30 p.m. before playing Villanova on Wednesday, March 25, at home at 6:30 p.m.
Photo: Mark Selders/GoPSUsports.com