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Penn State Baseball Wins Series Against Wagner With Walk-Off Home Run

Penn State baseball (4-2) continued its season down in Cary, North Carolina by winning two of three games in a weekend series against Wagner (2-4). Combined with great pitching all weekend and a walk-off home run in game three, the Nittany Lions were able to keep up their early season success going.

Due to to inclement weather, game one of the series on Friday was rescheduled to Saturday as a part of a doubleheader, which the Nittany Lions ended up splitting.

Game One

The Nittany Lion offense was completely shut down in this one, as they were only able to muster four hits on the day en route to a 1-0 loss. Two of the four hits were had by third baseman Justin Williams in what was a game to forget for the Penn State offense.

Penn State’s pitching staff was outstanding considering it had no run support to deal with. Starting pitcher Bailey Dees threw six strong innings, only allowing one run on five hits while striking out eight. Tyler Shingledecker then continued his early season dominance out of the bullpen and pitched three shut out innings while allowing just one hit and striking out three. Dees took the loss, but certainly didn’t deserve it.

Game Two

The Penn State offense completely flipped the script in this game, as an 11-run outburst and dominant pitching guided them to an 11-0 win.

All but one player in the Penn State lineup had at least one hit in its 13-hit effort. The stars of the game offensively were center fielder Johnny Piacentino and designated hitter Gavin Homer, who together combined for driving in nine of the 11 runs for Penn State. Piacentino, a freshman in his first career start, went 4-4 including a three-run home run and a double. He totaled five RBIs on the day in what was an extraordinary offensive performance, especially for a freshman. Homer went 3-3, with one of those hits being a triple. He drove in four runs in the game.

Kyle Virbitsky bounced back in a really impressive way in this one. After struggling in his first start of the season, he was absolutely lights out in this outing. He pitched six innings while allowing just one hit and striking out six. Steven Miller then came out of the bullpen for an inning and struck out three.

Game Three

Much of this game, like game one, was an offensive snooze fest. The game was tied at the end of nine innings, so they headed to extra innings tied at one. Despite Wagner pulling ahead by one in the top of the 11th, the resilience of Penn State kicked in. After getting two runners on in the bottom of the 11th, Curtis Robison launched a three-run home run to right field to win it for Penn State 4-2.

Robison was the entire offense for the Nittany Lions today, as he was responsible for driving in all four runs. In what was setting up to be a disappointing series loss, quickly turned into a thrilling walk-off victory.

The pitching was once again superb in this game. Conor Larkin got the start, as he pitched five innings while giving up just one run and striking out seven. Mason Mellott and Hutch Gagnon came out of the bullpen and combined for five shut out innings. Jason Freilich got into a little bit of trouble, but was immediately picked up by Robison and the offense.

Takeaways

  • The pitching this weekend was all-around phenomenal. It began with the starting pitching — Dees, Virbitsky, and Larkin– and then the bullpen continued it. Total, the Nittany Lions allowed just three runs in this three-game series.
  • Everyone loves the long ball! Yes, two home runs were hit this weekend, one by Piacentino and one by Robison. Both players were crucial to the series victory.
  • This Penn State team showed some early season grit and resilience with the comeback in the final game. After surrendering the lead, the offense immediately picked up their pitcher by going out there and winning the game.

What’s Next

Penn State will open up a four-game series against the Princeton Tigers at 3 p.m. on Friday, February 28 at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is suddenly Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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