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Penn State Baseball Beats No. 18 Michigan 3-2 In Opening Game Of Series

Penn State baseball (4-8) walked off No. 18 Michigan (9-4) Friday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, which resulted in a 3-2 win.

It was a pitcher’s duel for much of the game, with both Bailey Dees and Steve Hajjar shutting down the opposing offenses while they were in the game.

Cole Bartels was the hero for the Nittany Lions, as he hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to win the game.

How It Happened

Right-hander Bailey Dees got the start the Nittany Lions and set down Michigan in order in the top half of the first inning. Highly-touted MLB draft prospect Steve Hajjar got the start for the Wolverines and struck out two in a scoreless opening frame.

Dees worked around a walk and struck out two batters in the top of the second inning, sending Penn State’s offense back to the plate with the game still scoreless.

Penn State got its first baserunner of the game on a Jay Harry walk with two outs, and then Tayven Kelley drove him in with an RBI double.

After Kelley advanced to third on a passed ball, Parker Hendershot knocked a single to center field to make it a 2-0 game. Kris Kremer kept the inning going with a single, but Hajjar escaped further trouble by striking out Cole Bartels to end the frame.

Dees got into some trouble in the top of the third after giving up a single and a double to Ted Burton and Jake Marti, respectively, with one out. Dees gave up a run on an RBI groundout by Christian Molfetta to make it a 2-1 game, however, retired the next batter to advance the game to the bottom of the third.

After Hajjar struck out the side, Dees came back to the mound and found himself in immediate trouble. Jimmy Obertop singled, Clark Elliott doubled, and Tito Flores walked, which set the Wolverines up with the bases loaded with no outs. Fortunately for Penn State, Dees got out of the jam by giving up just one run, making it a 2-2 game heading to the bottom of the fourth.

Hajjar continued mowing the Nittany Lions down with another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. Naturally, Dees followed it up with a 1-2-3 inning of his own to move the game to the bottom of the fifth.

Following a scoreless fifth inning from Hajjar, Dees struck out a two and set the Wolverines down in order in the top of the sixth. Justin Williams led of the bottom of the frame with a double off the center-field fence. Williams advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Hajjar struck out the next two batters and got Harry to fly out to end the inning.

Dees retired the first two batters in the seventh but then allowed two singles to put runners on first and third. Coach Rob Cooper went to his bullpen and brought in left-hander Tyler Shingledecker, who got the final out of the inning.

Will Proctor came on for Michigan to relieve Hajjar, and he pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh. Shingledecker worked around a leadoff error in the top half of the eighth to keep the game tied going into the bottom half.

Joe Pace came into the game to pitch for the Wolverines and kept the game scoreless to send Michigan’s offense back to the plate for the top of the ninth. Shingledecker struck out the first batter of the inning, and Cooper then went to his bullpen. Mason Mellott entered the game and struck out the next to batters to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Gavin Homer reached on a single and stole second base with one out in the inning. However, Pace got out of the inning without giving up the game-winning run, sending this game to extras.

After loading the bases in the top of the 10th on two walks and a single, Mellott induced a groundout to advance the game to the bottom half. Willie Weiss came into the game for Michigan, and gave up a leadoff double to Penn State pinch hitter Curtis Robison.

After an intentional walk to Kremer, Bartels bounced a single over the head of the third baseman Molfetta to win the game 3-2 for Penn State.

Takeaways

  • Both starting pitchers had it working in this one, folks. Bailey Dees had a huge bounce-back start after his disastrous start last week against Maryland. The 6’8″ right-hander pitched 6.2 strong innings and allowed six hits and just two runs. Additionally, he struck out seven and retired 11 batters in a row at one point. Michigan’s Steve Hajjar gave up just one earned run and struck out 11 Nittany Lions over six innings of action.
  • Penn State’s bullpen certainly did its job today. After the bullpen gave up at least two runs in each game last weekend, Tyler Shingledecker and Mason Mellott combined for 3.1 shutout innings while giving up one hit and striking out four.
  • Who doesn’t love a walk-off? Despite the offense struggling mightily for much of the game, the Nittany Lions put it together in the bottom of the 10th and walked it off thanks to a run-scoring single by Cole Bartels.

What’s Next

Penn State will be back at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park Saturday afternoon for a doubleheader against the Wolverines. First pitch for the first game is set for noon, while the second game is slated to start at 3 p.m.

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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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