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Penn State Baseball Beats Michigan State 5-3, Completes Three-Game Sweep

Penn State baseball (12-18) beat Michigan State (12-20) 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Following Saturday’s 27-run outburst, the Nittany Lions won this game in more traditional fashion, as a nice balance of pitching and offense led Penn State to victory.

The win completes a three-game sweep for Rob Cooper’s squad, which is the first time the team has swept a series all season.

How It Happened

Right-hander Kyle Virbitsky took the mound for Penn State to start the game and worked around a two-out walk to pitch a scoreless frame. After Gavin Homer and Matt Wood each singled, Johnny Piacentino lined a double to deep center to bring Homer around to score.

The Nittany Lions took a 1-0 lead, but Michigan State starter Sam Benschoter escaped without further damage.

Virbitsky allowed two baserunners in the second inning, but he struck out three batters in the process to keep the Spartans off the board. Despite Cole Bartels advancing to third base with less than two outs in the bottom half of the inning, Penn State wasn’t able to bring him home, keeping the score at 1-0.

Both pitchers worked 1-2-3 frames in the third and fourth innings, which moved the game to the top of the fifth with the Nittany Lions still up by one run.

Virbitsky got into some trouble in the fifth, as he walked and hit a batter to put runners on first and second. Then, second baseman Trent Farquhar came through for the Spartans with an RBI single, another run scored on an error, and right fielder Zaid Walker drove in a third run with an RBI single. Michigan State carried a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning.

The Nittany Lions fought right back when Jay Harry and Homer each reached base with no outs. Wood lined a double to right field that drove home both Harry and Homer to make it a 3-3 ballgame.

However, Benschoter escaped further damage and got out of the inning with the score still tied at three.

While he gave up two hits in the top of the sixth, Virbitsky bounced back with a scoreless inning that ended with a big strikeout with runners on first and second. Penn State took a 4-3 lead in the bottom half thanks to a Homer two-out RBI single that drove in Parker Hendershot.

The Spartans pulled Benschoter in favor of William Christophersen, and Homer was caught stealing to end the inning. Penn State went to its bullpen as well in the top of the seventh and brought in right-hander Logan Evans.

Evans got two outs, allowed two baserunners, and was pulled for left-hander Hutch Gagnon. Gagnon threw one pitch and got a flyout to keep the score 4-3 heading to the bottom half of the inning.

Christophersen kept Penn State off the board in the seventh, and the game progressed to the eighth inning with the Nittany Lions still leading 4-3. After Gagnon pitched a scoreless eighth inning, Robison singled to lead off the inning for Penn State. However, he was called out trying to steal second on a questionable call, which could’ve loomed large after a Bartels single later in the inning that would’ve scored Robison.

After Bartels singled, Rob Cooper came out of the dugout to give the second-base umpire an earful, which led to him being ejected from the game. However, the Nittany Lions still got that run when Homer lined a single to right field that scored Bartels.

Mason Mellott came into the game in the ninth, and despite some trouble on the bases, shut the door to give Penn State a 5-3 win in Sunday’s series finale.


  • Kyle Virbitsky put in a quality outing for the Nittany Lions in this one. He pitched six innings, gave up three runs (one earned), and struck out seven batters over 104 pitchers. The right-hander did his job and limited the damage throughout his tenure in the ballgame.
  • While it wasn’t anything close to Saturday’s 27-run performance, Penn State’s offense did enough to come out on top. The team banged 10 hits, scored five runs, and hit in the clutch, especially with Homer’s two RBI singles in the sixth and eighth innings, respectively. Timely hitting is important to every good offense, so it’s certainly an encouraging sign for Penn State moving forward.
  • Rob Cooper’s team is building some serious momentum, folks. Not only did the team complete its first of the season, but the Nittany Lions have now won four in a row dating back to last weekend’s series against Ohio State. It’s quite the turnaround for Penn State, as before this four-game winning streak, it had lost six in a row.

What’s Next

Penn State will hit the road next week for a three-game series against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. The first game is set for 7:05 p.m. on Friday, May 7.

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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, NY 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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