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Penn State Baseball Adds One Win, Two Losses Against Rutgers

Penn State baseball (7-11) went on the road to Bainton Field in Piscataway, New Jersey to play the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (13-8) over the weekend. The Knights were able to take the first two games of the series, with the Nittany Lions taking the last game to end the weekend at 1-2.

How It Happened

Game One

Penn State’s offense showed promise in the first inning in the first of its three-day trip to Piscataway. Jordan Bowersox reached first on a throwing error, and Ryan Sloniger doubled down the right field line to put runners in scoring position for the Nittany Lions early. However, they could only amount one run on a Connor Klemann sacrifice fly. It was a pitcher’s duel from then on. Justin Hagenman toed the rubber for Penn State opposite of Rutgers right-hander John O’Reilly. Hagenman held the scarlet Knights hitless through the first three innings, and neither offense could really get anything going after the Nittany Lions’ one-run first inning.

The Scarlet Knights finally got to Hagenman in the bottom of the sixth. A leadoff single followed by a walk, then a sacrifice bunt, put the Scarlet Knights on second and third with only one out in the inning. Chris Folinusz capitalized on the scoring opportunity for Rutgers, delivering an RBI single to bring in the first run of the ballgame for the Scarlet Knights. Kyle Walker followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 2-1 Rutgers. Kevin Welsh added two more insurance runs on a two-RBI single, making it 4-1 Rutgers.

Hagenman got out of the sixth inning; however, that was the end of his day, as Mason Mellott offered relief in the bottom of the seventh. O’Reilly, on the other hand, stayed in the game for the Scarlet Knights and dominated the late innings. The 6’5″ righty put down the next nine Nittany Lions he faced in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings to finish out the complete game in which he didn’t let up a single earned run. Rutgers took game one on the back of his stellar performance on the mound.

Game Two

After dropping the first of the three-game series to Rutgers, the Nittany Lions hoped to even the series at one apiece Saturday afternoon. With only ten hits throughout the course of the game, it was clear to see that this was a pitcher’s duel between the Penn State and Rutgers. Taylor Lehman pitched six innings for the Nittany Lions, and gave up the only run of the game.

Rutgers’ pitcher Harry Rutkowski got the win, pitching for 6 and 2/3 innings and dealing out seven strikeouts in the process. The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the second inning by a Luke Bowerbank single that brought in Carmen Sclafani from second, who doubled to right earlier in the inning. The Nittany Lions unfortunately ended multiple innings with men in scoring position, but the offense never seemed to be able to produce the runs they needed.

Game Three

In its highest scoring game of the season, Penn State routed the Scarlett Knights 9-3 Sunday in the final game of the three-game series to end 1-2 on the weekend. The first score of the game came off a Connor Klemann solo homerun in the top of the third inning. The Lions scored again in the third, after shortstop Curtis Robison stole to second, advanced to third on a walk, and scored after an error by Rutger’s shortstop.

Steady movement around the bases by Penn State’s Jordan Bowersox, Ryan Sloniger, Conlin Hughes, and Braxton Giavendoni, combined with an errant pitch by Rutgers pitcher Tommy Genuario, gave the Lions a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. Rutgers tacked on its first score of the day later in the fourth with a solo homerun by catcher Nick Matera. Both teams went quiet for a few innings, but eventually both scored again in the seventh inning and brought the game to 7-2.

Scores later in the top of the ninth inning by Jordan Bowersox and Mason Nadeau gave Penn State a 9-2 lead and made a comeback by the Scarlett Knights unlikely. Rutgers scored once more in the bottom of the ninth inning to bring the final score to 9-3.

Player of the Series

Ryan Sloniger | Junior | Catcher

Sloniger had a great game on Sunday. He tacked four hits on six at-bats, homered, and grabbed two RBIs to help the Lions get their first win of the weekend.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions play Binghamton University at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home, followed by Cornell University Wednesday night at 6:30, as well. Both games will be played at Medlar Field.

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About the Author

James Turchick

James is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism, James enjoys writing about anything weird and is deadly allergic to bees. Onward State people are very nice to him.

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