Penn State Baseball Falls To Kent State 6-2 At Home
Baseball played host to Kent State on a beautiful Wednesday at Medlar Field. The Nittany Lions wanted revenge after their 10-9 loss at Kent State last week, but their disappearing offense was a key factor in the 6-2 loss to Kent State.
How It Happened
Nick Hedge got the start on the mound for the Nittany Lions and fell into some trouble in the third inning. Hedge allowed two runs in the top of the third to let Kent State take the first lead of the day 2-0.
The offense had some trouble. Penn State only had one hit through the first five innings and Kent State’s Joey Murray was putting on a show with a good rotation of pitches and nice velocity to keep Penn State from getting any big hits. Eli Nabholz came in during the fifth inning and allowed two runs along with an error by Jim Haley to let Kent State go up 5-0 after five innings.
The rout continued for Kent State when it scored one more run in the sixth inning to increase the lead to 6-0 after Nick Distasio came in for relief. Jim Haley finally broke the slump with a single up the middle in the sixth, but the team couldn’t capitalize to strand runners at second and third to remain trailing 6-0.
A hit, a walk, and an error loaded the bases for Kent State with two outs in the seventh inning. Tom Mullin pitched his way out of the jam as he struck out the final batter of the seventh, stranding three runners and keep the deficit at six. A deep double into right center field in the seventh by Ryan Sloniger looked promising but the Nittany Lions couldn’t bring him around to score to strand their third runner of the game.
Haley added some life to the offense in the eighth with another single up the middle. Kendall followed that up with a single to left field with two outs trying to get the first run of the game for Penn State. Immediately after Kendall’s single, Willie Burger drove in his team-leading 29th and 30th RBIs of the season with a two-run single into left field to inch closer to Kent State at 6-2. Burger got thrown out at second after Kent State’s catcher lost the ball to end the inning.
The Nittany Lions put their rally caps on and attempted to pull off a four-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth. James Coates led off and walked for the 31st time this season to put a man on base with no outs. After two consecutive fly outs by Christian Helsel and Ryan Sloniger, Austin Riggins came to the plate with only one out left for Penn State.
Riggins grounded out to first to kill the comeback effort as Penn State dropped its fourth in five games in a 6-2 loss. Four errors plagued the Nittany Lions in the loss and continues this season’s sloppy defensive play. Nick Hedge moves to 4-2 on the season and Kent State walks away with its tenth straight victory.
Player Of The Game
Jim Haley | Junior | Infielder
Haley was the most productive hitter on the team on Wednesday night like usual. The junior infielder went 2-for-4 with a run and provided the offense with ample opportunities to get some runs across. Haley raised his batting average to .355, showing off his hitting prowess.
Penn State stays at home to start a three-game series with Big Ten rival Maryland starting on Friday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m.