Penn State Baseball’s Road Woes Continue, Swept By Minnesota
This Penn State baseball team (12-23, 2-9 Big Ten) doesn’t know what to do on the road. Penn State is 1-6 in its last seven road games with a combined run differential of -17 in those games — including its latest series against Minnesota (16-19, 6-9 Big Ten). This isn’t a good stat for a team that plays well at home, but seems to be feeling a bit homesick this season.
The Nittany Lions went to Minneapolis to face the Golden Gophers for a three-game series, looking to capitalize from winning both of their previous matchups. The offense really struggled in this game and couldn’t stop Minnesota’s offense as Penn State lost all three games: 6-1, 8-1, 9-5.
How It Happened
Nick Hedge (7.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 7 Ks, 1 BB) got the start for the Lions and stayed in the game for a while hoping for some run support, but may have been kept in for a bit too long in this one. Hedge allowed three runs in the first two innings, but was able to turn it around as he struck out seven in seven innings. Coach Rob Cooper let Hedge stay out on the mound, but paid the consequences as Hedge allowed three runs while recording two outs in the eighth before being replaced by Jack Anderson, who earned one out. Hedge (1-5) received his fifth loss of the season.
The Lions had trouble scoring runs early as they left the bases loaded at the end of the first inning on two hits while only having six in the game. Greg Guers (1-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI) provided the power once again as he smacked his fifth home run of the season going into right center field in the third inning. After the third, Penn State only recorded three more hits, which didn’t amount to any threats as they got into scoring position just three more times in the final six innings. Penn State lost to Minnesota,6-1.
Taylor Lehman (6.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 K’s, 4 BB) was on the mound for the second game and added another disappointing start to his freshman campaign, striking out a season-low three batters. Lehman (1-4) hasn’t been as strong as he was predicted to be as after losing his fourth game of the season with an ERA of 7.41. Dakota Forsyth came in for relief and allowed three more runs before Marko Boricich finished the game, allowing no runs on one hit and two walks.
The offense struggled once again as it could only muster up six hits for the second straight game. Greg Guers (2-for-5, 1 R) was the offensive leader in this game once again, as he was the only Nittany Lion with a multi-hit game. The team tried to rally late, as it scored in the sixth thanks to a throwing error by Minnesota, giving Jim Haley the sole RBI. The Lions couldn’t capitalize, however, as they had six runners left on base in those three innings combined. Penn State would lose to Minnesota once again, 8-1.
Game three was the closest of the series as Penn State was able to score three runs in the first inning. Despite the early run support, the starting pitching ruined the upper hand. Nick Distasio (0.2 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 1 K) had one of the shortest outings of the season for Penn State as he couldn’t survive the first inning. He allowed six runs on just four hits and was shortly replaced by Sal Biasi (2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB). After Biasi, Jared Fagnano (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 K, 1 BB) came in, only allowing one run, with Jack Anderson (3.o IP, 3 H, 1 K, 1 BB) coming in to finish the game. Distasio (1-5) received his fifth loss of the season.
The Nittany Lions came out swinging, scoring three of their five runs in the first inning. After the first inning, however, Penn State could only score two runs on four hits and couldn’t come back to take the win from Minnesota in the end. Alex Malinsky (2-for-4) led the team in hits, while James Coates, Greg Guers, and Jim Haley all had an RBI in the game.
Penn State scored its three runs in the first inning on a throwing error by Minnesota that brought home Guers, an RBI-groundout by Jim Haley, and Aaron Novak scoring on a wild pitch. The Lions scored two more runs in the sixth inning from an unusual RBI hit-by-pitch on James Coates and a sacrifice fly to right field to bring home Ryan Richter. The Nittany Lions couldn’t rally to take the final game as they were swept in Minneapolis, 9-5.
The Nittany Lions seem to miss home this season. Every time they go on the road, they have some sort of issue. Whether it’s the offense, defense, or pitching, there is always something that costs this team the victory. In this series, it would be the combination of subpar offense and starting pitching. While Nick Hedge had a decent outing for the number of innings he pitched, the two freshman — Lehman and Distasio — didn’t help this team out at all.
As for the offense, there were a combined 20 hits in this three-game series. That’s decent, but you would like to see more as Penn State came in facing a team that only had one more Big Ten victory under its belt. Greg Guers had a nice showing, having a hit in all three games while belting his team-leading fifth home run of the season. This team needs work on the road with a 3-18 record away from Medlar Field.
Penn State will be traveling to Kent State for a game on April 21 at 6 p.m.before coming home for its last seven games of the season, beginning with a series against Illinois. The first game against Illinois will begin on April 24 at 6:30 p.m.