Penn State baseball (9-13) took the field this weekend for a four-game series against Columbia (3-13). The two teams split the set, winning two apiece over the course of three days.
The Nittany Lions have had an up-and-down season thus far, but have now won three of their last five games as they near the end of the non-conference schedule. Columbia came into this series with only one win on the season, but managed to steal two games from the Diamond Lions.
How It Happened
Friday’s game was a high-scoring affair with the teams combining for 18 runs in the series opener. Sal Biasi picked up his third win of the season for the Nittany Lions, allowing three runs on two hits. The junior also struck out eight batters in his five innings of work. The bats came alive in this one for Penn State, scoring 11 runs on 12 hits from eight different Nittany Lion batters. The fifth inning was the dagger when Penn State scored nine runs on seven hits in the frame to take full control of the game and come out on top 11-7.
Columbia won the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader by a score of 4-2. Justin Hagenman took the loss for the Nittany Lions despite a solid performance on the mound. He gave up four runs, one earned, in 7.1 innings pitched while striking out nine batters. Offensively, this game was much different than the night before. Penn State only managed two runs on six hits leading to the team’s 12th loss of the year.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Nittany Lions found themselves on the winning side of the column. Dakota Forsyth tallied his third win of the season with stellar work out of the bullpen. The senior pitched four innings of relief work without allowing a single hit while striking out eight of the 13 batters he faced. Conlin Hughes had a solid game at the plate for the Nittany Lions, recording three hits and a walk with one run driven in. Jake Pilewicz notched his first save of the year for Penn State, closing out the final three innings of this 10-6 win.
The teams finished the series on Sunday afternoon with Columbia picking up the come-from-behind win. Penn State had a 4-3 lead heading into the top of the ninth inning with Nick Distasio trying to seal the deal at the mound. Columbia tacked on five total runs in the ninth — four coming against Distasio — to take an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Hughes drove in Austin Riggins in the final frame to give Penn State some life, but a Nick Riotto groundout ended the game, handing Penn State the 8-5 loss to wrap up the weekend.
Player Of The Series
Willie Burger | First Baseman | Sophomore
Burger tallied four crucial hits over the weekend for a team-high five RBIs against Columbia.
The Nittany Lions have two games this week before Big Ten play starts. On Tuesday, Penn State will take on Binghamton, 6:30 p.m at Medlar Field. Then on Wednesday, the Nittany Lions stay at home to play Cornell with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.