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Johnny Piacentino’s Three-Home Run Game Sparks Penn State Baseball Comeback

Penn State baseball closed out its opening series with Northwestern with a much-needed 13-10 win to split the four-game set.

Penn State recorded 17 hits in the game, with every player in the starting lineup getting at least one hit. However, one star shined brighter than the rest.

Center fielder Johnny Piacentino hit three home runs in the high-scoring win, which is tied for the most-ever by a Nittany Lion in one game. He’s the first Penn State player to hit three homers in one game since Kris Kremer did back in a 2019 win over Duke.

Batting in the three-hole, Piacentino finished the day with those three home runs, four RBIs, four runs scored, and a walk. His first home run was a two-run shot to center field in the first inning to give the Nittany Lions a 3-1 lead.

His second homer was an absolute no-doubter that was crushed to left field. The solo shot came right after catcher Matt Wood blasted a home run of his own. It gave Penn State an 8-7 lead in the fourth inning.

With Penn State falling behind in the fifth inning, Piacentino stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth with his team down 9-8. The center fielder worked a full count and then ripped a ball to left-center field for his third dinger of the day.

His third homer quickly shifted the momentum back to the Nittany Lions, as they would score three more runs in that inning to take a 12-9 lead. From there, Rob Cooper’s squad was able to tack on one more run in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a Kyle Hannon RBI double.

Piacentino’s home runs were three of the five hit by the Nittany Lions during Sunday’s game. Wood hit one, and redshirt freshman Josh Spiegel hit the other, which was his third of the opening series.

Piacentino emerged as a bright spot for Penn State during its shortened 2020 season. Last year as a true freshman, Piacentino batted .400, had a 1.197 OPS, hit two home runs, and drove in 11 runs in 13 games played (10 starts).

Now, it appears the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native is picking up right where he left off as one of the big bats at the top of the batting order. He owns a .286 batting average and 1.341 OPS after the first series of the season.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a junior 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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