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Penn State Baseball Swept By Nebraska In Home Series

Penn State baseball (17-15, 1-10 Big Ten) dropped three in a row to Nebraska (20-10, 10-2 Big Ten) in a three-game series over the weekend at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

The Nittany Lions lost the opening game of the series 3-2 on Friday night. Penn State played a strong game overall, but a sixth-inning rally from the Cornhuskers was all they needed to take game one.

The two squads played a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon due to poor weather in the forecast Sunday. Penn State struggled to find much of any success against the Nebraska pitching staff and lost both games by final scores of 4-2 and 3-1. The Nittany Lions played strong defense in all three games, but run support for their pitchers was an issue throughout.

How It Happened

Game One

Penn State got off to a good start on Friday night by putting up two runs in the first inning. Parker Hendershot opened things up with a single to left field that brought in Mason Nadeau, and Gavin Homer tacked on a single to drive in another run for the Nittany Lions.

Dante Biasi started on the mound for Penn State and looked strong through five innings, allowing just one hit and no runs to the Cornhuskers. Biasi ran into some trouble in the sixth inning when he walked the first batter he faced and promptly gave up a home run that knotted up the score at two.

Mason Mellott was brought in to pitch after the home run and gave up one more run on a fielder’s choice. Nebraska took a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the inning.

After their productive first inning, Penn State’s bats went silent for the rest of the night. The offense struggled to get anything going against Nebraska starting pitcher Matt Waldron, who threw for seven innings and allowed six hits and two runs. He was spectacular after running into trouble in the first inning.

Dante Biasi and Mason Mellott combined to only give up four hits to Nebraska and allowed runs in only the sixth inning, but the Nittany Lions couldn’t help out their pitchers in the 3-2 defeat.

Game Two

The Nittany Lions struck first again in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader when Gavin Homer drove in a run on a single in the first inning.

Nebraska came back in the third inning thanks to two errors by the Nittany Lions. Spencer Schwellenbach scored on an error, followed by a ball that shortstop Conlin Hughes booted and brought in Joe Acker to score, giving the Cornhuskers a 2-1 lead.

Penn State battled back in the fifth inning to tie the game at 2-2. A Mason Nadeau groundout to first base brought Conlin Hughes home to score.

Nittany Lion starting pitcher Eric Mock got through 5.2 innings of work fairly successfully, striking out eight batters and allowing three runs. Two of those three runs came off errors in the third inning; the one earned run was an RBI double from Colby Gomes in the sixth that gave Nebraska a 3-2 lead.

Nebraska added onto its lead in the seventh inning when Angelo Altavilla hit a sacrifice fly to left field that drove in Luke Roskam to score from third.

After a big-time performance from Nebraska starting pitcher Reece Eddins, who threw for 7.0 innings and struck out six batters, Robbie Palkert and Colby Gomes each threw an inning for Nebraska and didn’t allow any runs to Penn State. The Cornhuskers won by a score of 4-2.

Game Three

Strong pitching was the name of the game in the final matchup of the series on Saturday afternoon. Bailey Dees got the start for the Nittany Lions and put in 6.0 innings of work. The sophomore allowed just one run on four hits and struck out seven batters.

Unfortunately for Dees and the rest of Rob Cooper’s squad, the run support was simply not coming from Penn State’s offense. The Nittany Lions put up just one run on two hits in the game. A Jordan Bowersox single in the third inning would give Penn State a 1-0 lead, but Nebraska quickly tied the score at 1-1 in the fourth.

The game would remain deadlocked until the eighth inning, when Nebraska scored two runs on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly from Cam Chick to take a 3-1 lead.

Nebraska pitchers Mike Waldron and Shay Schanaman combined to pitch the final four innings of the game and shut the Nittany Lions down, allowing zero hits and striking out two batters to help Nebraska earn its 20th win of the season and a sweep over Penn State.

Takeaways

  • The Nittany Lions have now played 11 Big Ten games and have just one win in conference play. Rob Cooper and his squad are going to need to find a way to win conference games if they want to make a run to the Big Ten tournament.
  • Penn State’s pitching finally got back to its early season form in this series, but the bats went quiet. Every Nittany Lion starting pitcher in this series threw for at least 5.0 innings, but the offense failed to give them any room for error. The Cornhuskers didn’t put up more than seven hits in any game this series, but that was all they needed against an equally bad Penn State offense.
  • If there are any positives to take away from this sweep, one of them is that the Nittany Lions didn’t commit any errors in two of the three games played. A stronger defensive effort could mean good things to come for this squad.

What’s Next?

Penn State will host West Virginia for a single game. The game will be played at 6:30 p.m. on April 17 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a freshman majoring in journalism. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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