Penn State Baseball Drops Two Of Three Against Michigan State
Now that Penn State baseball’s home games are finished for the year, Blue Collar Baseball fans everywhere will nervously follow the remaining series from afar. It started with a weekend series against Michigan State, and resulted in a competitive set of games.
Both teams put up a fight as the three games ended with very close final scores. Penn State took the first 5-3, while Michigan State claimed the second 5-4. The third game was a pitcher’s duel, but the Spartans left victorious in the rubber match, 3-1.
How It Happened
Coming into the game, Penn State had momentum after a four-game winning streak against Pitt and Rutgers. The team would hold that momentum with two Nittany Lions going yard for the first time, and outlast the Spartans to take its fifth game in a row, 5-3. Nick Hedge (6.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER) got the start and pitched a fine outing with sufficient run support to never fall behind and cruise to his third win of the season (3-6). Jack Anderson was the last pitcher to come into the game and also did well, allowing three hits while striking out four and earning his team-leading fifth save of the season.
The offense did its job on Friday as it was able to outscore the Spartans, led by Jim Haley (3-for-4, 2 R, 1 SB) and with RBIs by Aaron Novak, J.J. White (2), Christian Helsel, and Tyler Kendall. Greg Guers 16-game hitting streak ended as the sophomore went 0-for-5 in the game.
The Nittany Lions started off the scoring in the second with a run thanks to a solo homer by Tyler Kendall on a 2-2 count. The Lions wouldn’t score again until the fifth when J.J. White hit a single into left field which brought home Haley and Nick Graham, making the score 3-1. In the sixth they would add another run after a solo home run by Helsel, bringing the lead up to 4-1. The Spartans would score two leading up to the ninth, but the Lions would put the game away in the ninth with an RBI-groundout to third base by Aaron Novak, allowing Penn State to take the first game, 5-3.
The second game of the series was a back-and-forth affair, tied heading into the final innings. The Spartans were able to come out at the end to take the game 5-4. Taylor Lehman (4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 K’s, 3 BB) had a decent start, but eventually ended up with the no decision. Jared Fagnano (2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 K’s, 1 BB) and Jack Anderson (1.2 IP, 1 R, 1 K, 1 BB) were the final two pitchers of the day and allowed the final two runs, both unearned. Anderson ended with the loss (4-4).
The bats were not getting it done consistently in this game as Penn State was only able to score in the bulk of three innings — third, fouth, and fifth — while only recording three hits combined in the rest of the game. Guers led the team in hits as he went 3-for-5, while four different Nittany Lions had an RBI — Novak, Nick Riotto, Helsel, James Coates.
The Nittany Lions scored their four runs in the span of three innings. In the third, Aaron Novak brought home a run with an RBI-sac fly into right field with the bases loaded. Unfortunately, they would leave two men on base to end the third, keeping the score tied 1-1. The Spartans then scored two more runs to take the lead. In the fourth, two runs scored on an RBI-single into left by Helsel immediately followed by and RBI-triple into right center field by Coates. Their last run came in the fifth when Nick Riotto hit an RBI-single into center field to allow Penn State to take the lead, 4-3. The Spartans would come back and score two runs in the final two innings to take the second game of the series, 5-4.
The final game of the series was a pitcher’s duel as both teams only combined for 11 hits in the game. Dakota Forsyth (6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 K’s 1 BB) had a nice outing until the seventh inning when he allowed the Spartans’s three runs of the game which led to the loss. Sal Biasi pitched the remainder of the game while only allowing a hit, striking out two, and walking one. Forsyth got his second loss of the year (1-2).
It was a weak offensive performance for Penn State, which only mustered four hits in the game. Greg Guers (1-for-3, 1 RBI) had the only RBI for the Nittany Lions, a single into right field to bring home Coates. Penn State would fall to Michigan State and lose the series, 3-1.
Next up for Penn State is its final series of the year at Purdue, starting on May 14 at 5:00 p.m. The Big Ten Tournament will commence in Minneapolis on May 20.
Photo: Mark Selders/GoPSUSports