Penn State Baseball Loses Sixth Straight, Swept By No. 23 Texas A&M
After getting swept by Elon in their last series, the Nittany Lions were looking to turn it around to start the season. However, Penn State continued its losing ways when it traveled to College Station to face off against No. 23 Texas A&M. In the weekend series with the Aggies, the Nittany Lions lost 9-3, 15-2, and 5-2.
I know that this is the end of THON weekend and everyone is still excited and happy and no one wants to hear about depressing news like this, so I’m going to make this quick.
How It Happened
In the first game of the series the Nittany Lions couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively, not scoring any runs until the eighth inning–scoring three–and ultimately falling to the Aggies 9-3. It was another tough outing for Penn State’s LHP Nick Hedge (4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 Ks, 2 BBs) as he could not handle A&M’s offense . Right fielder Aaron Novak had a strong showing, leading the Nittany Lions’s offense by going 2-for-3 with a two-run home run in the eighth. Left fielder Greg Guers (2-4) was the only other Nittany Lion to join the two-hit club. Both teams played great defensively as there were no errors for either team in a game that saw high winds.
Unfortunately, the second game of the series did not end as close as the first game. The score was 15-2 in favor of the Aggies and allowed Penn State to drop their fifth straight game. Third baseman Christian Helsel, center fielder Ryan Richter, and catcher Alex Malinsky (combined 6-for-11, 2 RBIs) provided the Nittany Lions with their only two runs of the game. Freshman pitcher Nick Distasio (4 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 2 Ks, 2 BB) received his second loss of the season (0-2) because of three errors in the first three innings by Penn State. The Nittany Lions were not supported well by their bullpen, combining for 4 IP, 7 hits, 9 runs, 9 ER, 5 Ks, and 6 BB between three pitchers.
In their third and final game, Penn State fell 5-2. Freshman LHP Taylor Lehman (3 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 2 Ks) also received his second loss of the season (0-2). DH Nick Riotto and right fielder Aaron Novak both had career gamess at the plate with three hits each–both went 3-for-4–while shortstop Jim Haley and catcher Nick Graham both had an RBI. The Nittany Lions could not keep the Aggies off of the bases as Texas A&M had the bases loaded on four different occasions. Texas A&M has been rolling through their opponents this season as they start off 7-0 for the year.
Penn State got some nice performances by some of their freshman pitching and a couple of stand-out players at the plate, but the team could not get the job done collectively. They played nice defensively while leaving Texas A&M with only five errors in three games, but the pitching rotation will need to improve in the next game if Penn State wants to get their first win of the season. Going into the USA/Notre Dame Classic in North Carolina with a record of 0-6 is definitely not what Rob Cooper had planned, so expect them to make some changes before their first game in the Classic.
Penn State will travel down to North Carolina from Friday, Feb. 27 to Sunday, March 1 to participate in the USA/Notre Dame Classic. They will face NC State (3-1) on Friday, Cincinnati (1-6) on Saturday, and Notre Dame (7-1) on Sunday.