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Penn State Baseball Sweeps Princeton In Four-Game Series

Penn State baseball (9-2) had an excellent final weekend down in Cary, North Carolina, as it swept the Princeton Tigers (0-4) in a four-game series. The offense exploded in two out of the four games, and the pitching was able to continue its brilliance for the second consecutive week.

Game One

The Nittany Lions had an offensive explosion in this game that led them to their 18-1 victory. In addition to their terrific offense, the pitching did an outstanding job of shutting down the Tigers.

Penn State had 19 hits and 18 runs in this one, its most hits in a game since 2013 and its most runs in a game since 2016. The Nittany Lions scored four runs in the second inning and never looked back, as they continued to pile it on throughout the game. There was three home runs for the Nittany Lions, which were hit by Gavin Homer, Justin Williams, and Parker Hendershot. Williams, Hendershot, and Mac Hippenhammer each had three hits, which led the team.

On the mound, Bailey Dees was terrific once again. He pitched six innings while giving up three hits and no earned runs. He struck out nine on the day in what was a winning effort for him. Two freshmen, Braden Halladay and Ryan Partridge, pitched the final three frames and didn’t give up any runs in the process.

Game Two

Penn State won game one of Saturday’s seven-inning double header in extra innings, as Gavin Homer drilled a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to give the Nittany Lions a 4-3 victory.

Penn State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and held that lead until Princeton scored three runs in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth, the Nittany Lions tied it up and it would remain tied until their eventual walk-off in the bottom of the 10th. Left fielder Ryan Ford was responsible for half of Penn State’s eight hits, as he collected a career-high four hits in this game. Homer, Hendershot, Johnny Piacentino, and Curtis Robison were responsible for driving in one run a piece.

Kyle Virbitsky pitched five solid innings, as his only mistake was a three-run home run he gave up in the top of the fifth. He surrendered five hits and struck out six on the day. Tyler Shingledecker took over and continued his early season brilliance with three shut out innings and six strikeouts. Mason Mellott then pitched two scoreless innings to end the game and earned himself the win.

Game Three

The bats were alive and well in this one as Penn State scored 13 runs en route to its 13-1 victory in the second game of the double header.

The star on offense for the Nittany Lions was shortstop Mac Hippenhammer, who collected two hits and four RBIs in the game. Williams, Homer, and Ryan Ford also collected multi-hit performances. The plate discipline for Penn State was exceptional, as they drew eight walks as opposed to just five strikeouts.

Hutch Gagnon turned in an exceptional performance on the mound with five innings pitched and just one run given up. He struck out six and gave up just four hits. Ralph Gambino and Steven Miller came in out of the bullpen and each pitched a scoreless inning to close the game out.

Game Four

Though a lot closer than the previous game, the Nittany Lions were able to pull out a 4-3 win in this one, backed by some solid hitting and clutch pitching. After taking the lead in the fourth inning, Penn State held the lead for the rest of the game.

Curtis Robison and Jacob Padilla each collected two hits on the day in what was a nine-hit effort for Penn State. Ford, Hippenhammer, and Padilla each drove in a run for the Nittany Lions, with the fourth run being scored on a ground ball double play.

Conor Larkin wasn’t at his best, but was able to limit the damage to two runs over 4.2 innings. Control was an issue for Larkin, as he walked four batters during his time in the game. Logan Evans came out of the bullpen and gave up just one run over 3.2 innings. Jared Freilich then came in with two outs in the top of the eighth and captured a huge strikeout to get the Nittany Lions out of the innings. He stayed on in the ninth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to close the door.

Takeaways

  • How sweep it is! Penn State was able to complete its first sweep of the 2020 season thanks to an all-around great team performance.
  • The Penn State bullpen was phenomenal this weekend, as only one run was given up by them during the entire series. Led by Tyler Shingledecker, the Nittany Lion bullpen was able to come in and shut the door every game.
  • Penn State upperclassmen got the job done this weekend. Bailey Dees, Gavin Homer, Parker Hendershot and Mac Hippenhammer, just to name a few, had fantastic weekends that were crucial to the team success.

What’s Next

Penn State’s time in Cary, North Carolina is over, as it will travel to Maryland next weekend to take on Navy, UMBC, and Farleigh Dickinson. The first game will be at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 6 in Annapolis, Maryland.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a sophomore majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. 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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