Penn State Baseball Falls To Maryland 2-1 In Weekend Series
By Patrick Arnold & Matt Paolizzi
Penn State baseball (19-20, 2-15 Big Ten) lost two of three games against Maryland (22-22, 8-7 Big Ten) in conference play at home.
The Terps took game one on Friday night 5-2 despite striking out 11 times against Penn State’s Big Ten strikeout leader Dante Biasi. The final game of the series was initially slated for Sunday, but it was moved to Saturday evening due to inclement weather.
Penn State and Maryland split Saturday’s games. The Terrapins won the first game by a final score of 6-4, but a strong offensive performance propelled the Nittany Lions to a 10-7 win in game two.
How It Happened
Big Ten strikeout leader Dante Biasi started on the mound for Penn State as they opened up the weekend series against Maryland.
Maryland’s bats came alive in the top of the third. Biasi allowed his first earned run of the game off a sacrifice fly to center before the Terps scored a second run via a single up the middle. After going down 2-0, Biasi got out of the inning with a strikeout.
Maryland scored once in the top of the fifth, but Penn State responded in the bottom of the inning. Kris Kremer led off with a walk before Mac Hippenhammer reached on a bunt single. Ryan Sloniger then stepped up to the plate and hit a double to right-center that brought in both Kremer and Hippenhammer. However, he was thrown out trying to get to third on the play, so Maryland escaped the inning with a 3-2 lead.
Redshirt sophomore Jared Freilich entered the game in relief of Biasi in the top of the seventh. The wheels seemed to fall off the bus for Penn State when an off-target throw from the infield ultimately allowed Maryland to add two runs.
Maryland saw out the rest of the game in fairly routine fashion and came away with a 5-2 victory.
Eric Mock started for Penn State in the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon. He allowed a double from the first batter of the second inning and bobbled a bunt on the next at-bat, which allowed Maryland to get on the board.
Maryland wouldn’t keep its lead for long. Shea Sbranti hit a towering shot over the right field wall to give Penn State its first run of the game as the third inning wrapped up.
Things stayed quiet until the top of the fifth when Maryland took a 3-1 lead after Randy Bednar drove home two runs on a double to right-center. Tyler Shingledecker relieved Mock in the seventh inning, and he was able to get out of the inning unscathed after Mock allowed a double early in the frame.
The bottom of the seventh gave Penn State a great chance to take control of the game. Kremer and Jacob Padilla were hit by pitches before a sacrifice bunt from Homer and a groundout from Mac Hippenhammer drove a run home. Sbranti couldn’t bring Kremer home, but Penn State was able to trim its deficit to 3-2.
Maryland hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning, but Penn State answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. Justin Williams hit a solo shot to left field right after a sacrifice fly by Ryan Ford. The Terrapins added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on their way to securing a 6-4 victory.
Maryland singled twice to lead off the third game of the series, and a textbook bunt advanced those runners to second and third. The Terps brought in a run off a single to right before Penn State got out of the inning.
After a leadoff walk and fielder’s choice left Ryan Ford on first base, Kris Kremer hit a triple into left-field to bring in the first run of the game for the home team.
The Nittany Lions’ bats came alive in the third inning. Derek Orndorff led it off with a walk before Jordan Bowersox and Ryan Ford registered singles to bring Orndorff in for 2-1 lead. After walking third baseman Justin Williams to load the bases, Maryland brought in relief pitcher Drew Wilden to salvage the inning.
Penn State brought in two more runs off a single by Ryan Sloniger. Mac Hippenhammer then stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI single to bring in Williams. Conlin Hughes brought in another run just two at-bats later with an RBI single to extend the Nittany Lion lead to 6-1.
A pair of hit batsmen, a single, and two errors allowed by Penn State’s defense let the Terps score three runs in the top of the fourth. However, the Nittany Lions responded in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases with no outs. Maryland limited the damage by bringing in another reliever, who forced Kremer to hit into a double play that drove in the only run of the inning.
The top of the fifth seemed like a repeat of the fourth for the Terrapins. Their two leadoff men got on base thanks to a fielding error and a single. The next batter pulled off Maryland’s second successful sacrifice bunt of the game to move both runners into scoring position, where they would both be brought in to score via a two-run single off the bat of Michael Pineiro.
Penn State matched Maryland’s two runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a double to right-center by Ordndorff. The two-run hit brought in Hippenhammer, who singled to get on base, and Mason Nadeau, who was pitch running after Shea Sbranti worked a walk to get on, and gave the Nittany Lions a 9-6 lead.
Maryland scored again in the sixth off an RBI single up the middle, but Penn State put the game away in the bottom of the seventh when Hippenhammer led the inning off with a triple and was driven in by a sacrifice fly.
The rest of the game went by without a run, so Penn State emerged victorious for just the second time in Big Ten play this season.
Penn State and Rutgers will square off for three games at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park this weekend. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3.
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Penn State earned a ranking in the preseason AP Top 25 poll for the third consecutive season.
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