Penn State Baseball Benefits From Villanova Errors, Wins 5-2
After losing 13 of its first 14 games on a grueling road stretch to open the season, Penn State baseball has won three of four since returning home. With four games at Medlar Field under its belt, the team is starting to gain an identity: one that scores runs with the top of its lineup and is extremely reliant on its bullpen.
This was shown Wednesday against Villanova as left fielder Greg Guers — who was batting second in the lineup — was responsible for three of Penn State’s five runs en route to a 5-2 victory. Geoff Boylston got his second start in four games for the Nittany Lions, but did not have as much magic as he did in his career game against Canisius.
How It Happened
Like many of the games that the Nittany Lions have played this season, they were trailing early, down 1-0 heading into the fifth inning. Senior lefty Boylston (5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 Ks) got the start and had a decent outing against Villanova. He allowed numerous hits, and it didn’t help that his defense was not there for him in the beginning of the game as Penn State had two errors in the first three innings. Both defenses were sloppy in this game as Villanova had four errors in nine innings. The relief for Penn State saved the Lions as Jack Anderson and Sal Biasi combined for 3.2 IP, one hit, three Ks, and one walk.
Penn State’s offense had some trouble hitting the ball early. The Nittany Lions were able to find their groove in the fifth as they scored an unearned run thanks to one of the Wildcat’s many errors. Shortstop Jim Haley had an RBI single up the the middle, which scored Penn State’s second run of the game.
With the game tied at two in the bottom of the eighth, Greg Guers hit a 3-RBI double into center to bring in two unearned runs after a Villanova error at the beginning of its half of the inning. The Wildcats scared the Nittany Lions with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth, but freshman righty Sal Biasi was able to close out the inning to grab another save and Penn State’s fifth victory of the year. Guers led the team on 1-for-4 hitting with 3 RBIs, but most of Penn State’s offense came from Villanova’s inability to play defense.
This was a very sloppy win for Penn State, as it only had six hits and scored four unearned runs because of four errors by Villanova. Like I said above, Penn State is starting to find its identity in being reliant on its bullpen. This could end up being a bad thing later in the season, but a good bullpen is clearly an asset. However, if it doesn’t perform then the Lions will have a hard time winning.
The Nittany Lions also showed that they don’t like to score until the game’s halfway over, clearly an uneasy trend. This current winning spree is a shift in the positive direction, but if Penn State can’t score early when it faces dominant pitching teams, then it it could get shut out in more than a few games this season, as it has already.
Penn State will stay home this weekend to play Central Connecticut in a three-game series. The first game is on Friday, March 27 at 5:30 p.m. After Central Connecticut, the Nittany Lions will stay home and face Binghamton on Tuesday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m. before playing in an April Fool’s Day matchup with Kent State at 6:30 p.m.
Photo: Craig Houtz/GoPSUSports