Baseball Swept By No. 15 South Carolina In Weekend Series
Penn State baseball traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to take on its first ranked opponent in No. 15 South Carolina. The Nittany Lions couldn’t stay with the 2010 and 2011 College World Series champs and dropped to 2-5 after its 2-2 start last weekend.
How It Happened
The offense for the Nittany Lions was scarce in the first matchup with the Gamecocks. Only two Penn Staters had a hit in this game: Jim Haley and James Coates. Penn State didn’t have a hit until the fifth inning, which was a single up the middle on a 2-2 pitch. The final hit of the game was a Jim Haley home run, the first of his career.
Taylor Lehman (5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 K, 3 BB) got the start and struggled initially to keep South Carolina at a distance. The Gamecocks scored four of their seven runs in the first two innings and took advantage of Penn State’s lack of run support. South Carolina then scored its final three runs off of Tom Mullin in the sixth inning and took the first game of the series 7-1.
Penn State’s offense in the second game was a bit more productive than it was in the first. Unfortunately, South Carolina was ready to combat the offensive showing with its own. The Nittany Lions only had six hits in the game but scored five runs thanks to three Gamecock errors. Willie Burger and Christian Helsel contributed RBIs to the Nittany Lions’ efforts; besides those two, Penn State really relied on South Carolina’s errors to score runs, but it wasn’t enough.
Sal Biasi (2.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 K, 3 BB) fell behind from the very beginning. Biasi allowed three runs off three hits in the first inning and couldn’t recover from the deficit. The Gamecocks then scored seven runs in the third — three against Biasi and four against Marko Boricich. South Carolina scored one in the fourth, and had another big inning in the sixth where it scored five more runs all against Nick Distasio. It kept rolling and downed the Nittany Lions 16-5.
The third and final game of the series was much closer, but it ended with the same result as Penn State fell to South Carolina 4-2. The Nittany Lions had a better offensive showing in terms of hits, but could only contribute two runs as they left seven men on base during the game.
Penn State’s eight hits were the most in a game during the series against the No. 15 team, and it scored two runs in the first four innings. Right fielder Nick Riotto and designated hitter James Coates were the only Nittany Lions to have multi-hit games, and were also the only ones to contribute an RBI. Defense cost Penn State the game as errors in the first and third innings allowed South Carolina to score two more runs which ultimately were enough to take the final game.
Justin Hagenman (5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 3 BB) had another impressive start in his freshman campaign. Besides the two runs scored on errors, Hagenman only allowed two earned runs in almost six innings, but lacked the run support to take the lead. Hagenman was the most dominant starter on the weekend and had a high pitch count after pitching less than six innings with 102 pitches. After Hagenman, Jack Anderson took the mound and finished the game and only allowed one hit.
Penn State stays on its southern road trip as it heads to Wilmington, South Carolina to take on UNC-Wilmington for a three-game series on March 5-7.