Penn State baseball (9-28, 1-16 Big Ten) took on Northwestern (13-24, 4-14 Big Ten) over the weekend in State College. The Nittany Lions struggled immensely, failing to come away with a win against an underwhelming Northwestern side.
How It Happened
Northwestern plated the first run of Friday night’s game in the second inning on a pair of hits. Penn State got the run back in the bottom of the third after Kris Kremer led off with a double. Joe Weisenseel moved him over on a sacrifice bunt, setting Jordan Bowersox up for an RBI sacrifice fly to left.
The Wildcats answered in the next half inning thanks to a pair of doubles and a costly Penn State fielding error, making it 2-1 Northwestern. The Nittany Lions retook the lead on a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth. Weisenseel drew a walk then Bowersox drove him home on a double down the line in left. Ryan Sloniger followed with an RBI single to make it 3-2 Penn State.
Another two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh led to a big inning Nittany Lions. Penn State loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a base hit. All-runners advanced on a Northwestern wild pitch and Bowersox scored. Then, Parker Hendershot capitalized with runners in scoring position, driving a two-RBI single to right to make it 6-2 Penn State.
Northwestern got back two-runs in the top of the eighth on a pair of singles and another fielding error by the Nittany Lions. Penn State starter Justin Hagenman went eight full innings with eight strikeouts, and despite allowing 10 hits, the junior held the 6-4 lead for the Nittany Lions before thunderstorms halted play on Friday night.
Mason Mellott took over in the top of the ninth when play resumed Saturday afternoon; however, he could complete the save. The Wildcats rallied for three runs on four hits en route to a 7-6 victory over Penn State in the first of three games.
After losing the first game of the double header, Penn State looked to bounce back in the second game against Northwestern on Saturday.
The scoring began in the bottom of the second with the Nittany Lions scoring two runs on one hit with two errors. Curtis Robison got hit by a pitch, stole second, and then was able to advance to third on a throwing error by Northwestern. Conlin Hughes then singled and brought Robison in to home. Hughes easily advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then made it home on a fielding error by Northwestern.
With the Wildcats still producing little offensively, the Nittany Lions continued to put runs up where they could. In the bottom of the fourth, Hughes scored again that began with him getting a single. Braxton Giavedoni doubled, advancing Hughes to third. Hughes would later score on a wild pitch during the inning to give Penn State a two-run lead. Northwestern would not answer in the top of the fifth, and Penn State would add one run to Northwestern’s deficit in the bottom of the fifth.
The Wildcats finally got on the board with a run in the top of the sixth. The Nittany Lions were able to answer immediately in the bottom of the sixth. This run came from Hughes again, who was walked, stole second, and eventually made it home on a walk with the bases loaded. Northwestern cut Penn State’s lead to three in the top of the seventh, but Penn State would answer again in the bottom of the inning. Kris Kremer led things off with a double to right center. He would score on a Giavedoni RBI single. Giavendoni stole second and would advance to third on a throwing error. Jordan Bowersox would then knock him in on a RBI triple.
Northwestern needed to produce on offense at some point, and the eighth inning turned out to be when the bats would come alive. Down five runs, a more perfect time could not have come for the Wildcats to score six runs to take a one run lead. The Nittany Lions would not score in the final two innings to lose this matchup at home.
Northwestern got on the board early against Penn State on Sunday. Shortstop Jack Dunn scored from third base after singling to left field and advancing to second base on a fielding error. Second baseman Alex Erro pushed him home after being walked and advancing on a wild pitch. Penn State came back in the bottom of the second inning when three men were walked to load the bases. Shea Sbranti flied out, but let Kris Kremer score. Northwestern’s Jack Dunn came back to score again after Alex Erro doubled to right center. Erro scored himself on the next at bat when catcher Jack Claeys doubled to right center, as well.
Penn State answered in the same inning, with a Connor Klemann score after being walked, stealing second base, and rounding home on a Braxton Giavedoni foul out to left field. Penn State didn’t score again until the seventh inning, but the Wildcats put up three more runs in the fifth inning to make the game 6-2 in Northwestern’s favor. The seventh inning score came from a Shea Sbranti single to right field. Penn State catcher Derek Orndorff walked after being hit by a pitch, advancing Sbranti to second. Jordan Bowersox then walked also to load the bases. Connor Klemann flied out, but brought Sbranti home to make the game’s final score 6-3.
Player Of The Game
Braxton Giavedoni | Sophomore | OF
Giavedoni played well in the series, tallying up multiple hits and RBIs. His efforts were unfortunately not enough to lift the Nittany Lions past the Wildcats this weekend.
Penn State will look to get back on the winning side of things when they face Michigan State in another weekend series at Medlar Field. First pitch on Friday is at 6:30 p.m.
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