The Penn State baseball team scored nine runs in the final two innings, but its comeback fell short in a 16-15 loss to Elon in its season opener Friday.
The Nittany Lions trailed 16-6 going into the eighth inning and scored four runs to pull within six. Penn State then scored five runs in the ninth, cutting the deficit to 16-15 on an RBI single by Nick Riotto with two outs. Riotto advanced to second base on a passed ball, but pinch-hitter Aaron Novak struck out looking to end the game.
Elon’s John Antonelli earned the win after pitching 31/3 scoreless innings of relief. Joe McGillicuddy got the final out for the save. Penn State’s Dakota Forsyth took the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits in 31/3 innings of relief. Penn State used four pitchers and Elon used six.
The Nittany Lions (0-1) finished with 18 hits, while Elon (1-0) pounded out 23.
Taylor Skerpon and Jim Haley each went 4 for 6 to lead Penn State. Skerpon scored three runs and drove in a pair, while Haley scored twice and had a team-high four RBIs.
Chris King went 3 for 4 with five RBIs for the Phoenix. Austin Leeney and Quinn Bower led Elon with four hits each.
Penn State scored six runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 6-5 lead. But the Phoenix added two runs in both the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings before going ahead by 10 with seven runs in the seventh.
Nittany Lion starting pitcher Nick Hedge allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in three innings.
Penn State scored four unearned runs in the loss.
The teams finish the series with a doubleheader Saturday. The first game is set for noon..