Penn State Baseball Splits Two Games Against Bucknell and St. Bonaventure
Penn State baseball (15-9) made easy work of Bucknell (8-21) on Tuesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in a 9-3 victory. Wednesday night was a different story though — the Nittany Lions fell to St. Bonaventure (6-13) 18-6.
The Nittany Lions could do no wrong against Bucknell with strong offense and a pitching staff that allowed four hits. The offense was still there on Wednesday night, but the solid pitching and defensive effort was clearly missing against St. Bonaventure — the Bonnies ran riot with 18 runs on 21 hits.
How It Happened
Penn State wasted no time to get the scoring going against Bucknell on Tuesday. Jordan Bowersox drove in Gavin Homer on a single to left field in the bottom of the first inning. The center fielder then scored on a throwing error to third to give the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead.
Rob Cooper used five pitchers to get the win, but the Penn State bullpen allowed just four hits to the Bison. Bailey Dees got the start for the Nittany Lions and struck out three batters in two innings of work. Connor Larkin was credited with the win after relieving Tyler Shingledecker in the fourth inning. The freshman threw for 2.2 innings and struck out three batters; he now has a 2-0 record on the season.
The Nittany Lions gave plenty of run support to their pitchers throughout the game. Kris Kremer was able to break the game open in the fourth inning for Penn State with a bases–clearing double down the line that gave the Nittany Lions a 7-1 lead. Mac Hippenhammer also had a a big game offensively with three hits and an RBI.
Jared Freilich closed out the Bison in the top of the ninth inning, and Penn State won by a score of 9-3.
The Bonnies scored early and often on Wednesday night, including a four spot in the top of the first inning. Penn State quickly battled back with a huge five-run rally in the second — doubles from Gavin Homer and Isaiah Payton drove in three runs in the inning.
The 5-4 lead Penn State held after its second inning rally would be its last of the night. St. Bonaventure went on an offensive tear that the Nittany Lions were helpless to match.
Some of the standout performers for the Bonnies were Brandon Henshaw (four hits) and Kevin Higgins (five hits). Higgins terrorized the Nittany Lions all night — he finished the game with six RBIs and three runs scored.
After a strong performance on Tuesday night, Penn State’s pitching staff never found its footing against St. Bonaventure. Cole Bartels got the start on the mound but only lasted one inning. Kyle Virbitsky came in relief for Bartels for three innings, but he allowed five earned runs to. After Virbitsky, a total of five pitchers came in for the Nittany Lions, and all of them allowed at least one run.
It was actually a pretty strong night for Penn State from an offensive standpoint. Each batter in the Nittany Lions’ lineup registered at least one hit, and the team finished with 11 total. It simply couldn’t keep up with the Bonnies, though, which doomed the Nittany Lions in an 18-6 loss.
- After Rob Cooper used five arms in Penn State’s win over Bucknell, the pitching staff seemed to be depleted on Wednesday. No one besides Kyle Virbitsky threw for more than an inning — St. Bonaventure got hits off all seven Penn State arms with ease.
- Penn State finished with a total of eight errors over the course of these two games. The pitching was strong enough to make that not matter against Bucknell, and errors were the least of the Nittany Lions’ worries on Wednesday. However, those mistakes will make a difference down the stretch this season.
- If there are any positive takeaways from Wednesday’s game, it’s absolutely the offense. Each member of Penn State’s starting nine got on base with a hit, and the squad finished with 11 total base knocks.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Bloomington this weekend to take on Indiana in a three game series. First pitch of the series is slated for 6:05 p.m. Friday at Bart Kaufman field.
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