Baseball Sweeps Northwestern Behind Strong Hitting Display
The 2016 season has been a successful one for Penn State baseball thus far. More than halfway through the season, Rob Cooper’s squad sits above .500 while enjoying success both on the home front and on the road. This weekend the team hit the road for Evanston for a three-game series with Northwestern. Penn State continued its hot stretch and earned another sweep to go to 8-4 in conference play.
How It Happened
Taylor Lehman took the mound in game one and had an impressive outing despite a short body of work. Lehman pitched 4.1 innings and only allowed four hits while striking out one batter. Penn State’s defense was sloppy and was credited with three errors, which allowed two runs to score late to tie the game. Luckily, Forsyth and Anderson finished the game without allowing a hit, while Anderson earned his fourth win of the season after three scoreless innings.
The offense took the early 2-0 lead after freshman Willie Burger hit his first career home run over the right field wall. Northwestern came back to tie the game at 2-2 after the seventh inning from scoring two unearned runs. The Nittany Lions reclaimed the lead in the eighth inning with a run from Jim Haley’s sacrifice fly to bring home Nick Graham. The Lions added an insurance run from an RBI single from Jordan Bowersox in the ninth and took the first game 4-2 over the Wildcats.
The second game of the series with Northwestern was a great one on the mound and at the plate for Penn State as it won 8-2 on Saturday.
Sal Biasi tossed a gem as he went 6.1 innings and allowed one run on four hits and fanned six batters. Biasi had a slow start to the season, but seems to have found his stride and has been performing well in the starting rotation. Nick Distasio finished the game and only allowed an unearned run as the pitching was stellar for the Diamond Lions.
Greg Guers led the offense during the second game after he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. The Nittany Lions took the early 2-0 lead in the second inning and held the lead throughout. A big four-run fifth inning highlighted by a 2-RBI double by Nick Riotto catapulted Penn State to a 6-0 lead. Penn State’s 11 hits led the way to a dominating eight-run performance and led to clinching the series over its Big Ten rival, looking for the sweep on Sunday.
Nittany Lion ace Justin Hagenman saw the mound in game three and struggled by his standards inititially, giving up three runs in the first inning. Hagenman shook off the bad inning and played well as he finished with six innings pitched allowing three runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts. Hagenman is now 5-1 on the season. Nick Hedge finished the game and recorded his first career save.
The offense was alive for both teams on Sunday as the two teams ended with 13 hits each. Penn State scored first with two runs in the opening inning thanks to a two-run shot by the hot-hitting Greg Guers, but was immediately followed with a three-run inning by Northwestern.
James Coates answered Guers with a two-run homer of his own in the second inning to put the Nittany Lions up 4-3. Guers ended the game going 3-for-5 with three runs and three stolen bases. Jim Haley also had a big day at the plate hitting 4-for-6 with three runs scored.
After the second inning, Penn State took the lead and stayed with that pace. The Nittany Lions scored nine unanswered runs and 11 total as they defeated Northwestern 11-3 to take the series sweep.
Player Of The Series
Greg Guers | Senior | Outfielder
Guers was on another level this weekend in Evanston. The senior had a shaky start to his 2016 campaign, but is really starting to hit his stride now. Guers is now batting .314 on the season, which is much better than the sub .200 average he sported earlier this year. Guers provided plenty of offense, as he had three hits in every game of the series, for Penn State this weekend and was a crucial factor in the sweep over Northwestern.
Penn State is home for one game against Bucknell on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. before going on the road to face Rutgers for a three-game series this weekend.