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Penn State Baseball Concludes 2021 Regular Season With One Win In Two-Game Series

Penn State baseball (18-24) capped off its 2021 regular-season campaign by splitting a two-game away series against Purdue (15-25) and Minnesota (5-30)

The Nittany Lions dropped game one to Purdue 7-4, but they rebounded in game two and bested Minnesota 7-3.

Following a saga of schedule shifts due to persistent rainfall, what was supposed to be a four-game series to conclude the season was condensed into a doubleheader with one game against each team.

Game One (Purdue)

On Friday, Penn State baseball started off strong in what was supposed to be the opening contest of the four-game series. The Nittany Lions led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third inning, and while things were looking up, the baseball gods had other plans, as lightening forced the game’s suspension.

When play resumed on Sunday, the Nittany Lions weren’t necessarily able to pick up where they left off and dropped the match by a final score of 7-4. The game resumed exactly where it left off in the bottom of the third inning with Penn State leading 2-1. The only modifications were on the mound for both teams. For the Nittany Lions, Conor Larkin took over for Bailey Dees, and Calvin Schapira was replaced by Trent Johnson.

Purdue wasted no time taking the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, and it was mostly all Boilermakers from there on out. They took the lead right away thanks to a big fly off the bat of Zac Fascia.

Penn State wouldn’t see the scoreboard again until Johnny Piacentino sent his eighth home run of the year over the left-field wall.

Penn State’s pitching staff surrendered 13 hits to the Boilermakers, and the Nittany Lions were only able to stir up eight hits themselves.

Game Two (Minnesota)

In Penn State’s final game of the 2021 season, the Nittany Lions took on the Minnesota Golden Gophers and were able to salvage the season-finale series, winning this one by a final score of 7-3.

The Golden Gophers struck first in the bottom of the second inning, as Chase Stanke snuck a single through the left side of the infield, and Ronald Sweeny doubled down the right-field line in the ensuing at bat to bring him across. Purdue would plate another run in the bottom of the third, but it would be mostly Penn State from there on out.

Kyle Virbitsky pitched an absolute gem, folks. The right-hander tossed seven innings and struck out a career-high 12 batters en route to picking up his fifth win of the season, ending his season with a winning record of 5-4.

Mason Mellott and Steven Miller collaborated in the final two frames to slam the door shut on any chance of a Golden Gophers comeback.

In terms of offense, it was a collective effort across the board. The entire team got involved in the action, as all but one individual in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit. The Nittany Lions registered a total of 11 hits on the afternoon, and utilized some timely, precise hitting to manufacture runs and ultimately secure the win.

Takeaways

  • This two-game series concludes the 2021 season for Penn State baseball. Rob Cooper’s squad finishes with a somewhat respectable 18-24, with the Nittany Lions being ranked in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings. In absence of a Big Ten Tournament, and the likelihood that the Nittany Lions will miss the cut for this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Diamond Lions will be back on the field next year boasting a variety of young talent that has shown tremendous promise throughout the season. However, the team will also need to find ways to make up for the production of 11 graduates.
  • Speaking of outstanding underclassmen, Penn State’s standout freshman went out on a high note. Johnny Piacentino hit his team-leading eighth home run and his team-leading 15th double in the series.
  • Penn State continues to struggle on the road. Although the Nittany Lions were able to gain a victory over Minnesota, they finish the year 6-13 on the road. If the team plans to compete in such a tough conference in the future, that mark must improve.
  • The rain didn’t phase the Nittany Lions for long, as they were able to snap a 15-game losing streak against Minnesota to close out their season.

What’s Next

That’ll do it for Penn State baseball’s 2021 regular season, folks. With no Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament a long shot, this likely marks the end of squad’s 2021 campaign.

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About the Author

Zach Donaldson

Zach is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer for Onward State and serves as an editor for Penn State’s CommRadio. He hails from Downingtown, Pa., or in other words "just outside of Philly." When he's not watching or ranting about Philly sports, you can probably find him at the gym. If you like sports tweets, follow him on Twitter @zachdonaldson_ and all inquiries can go to [email protected]

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