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Penn State Baseball Swept By No. 5 Virginia

Penn State baseball struggled on the mound across a three-game sweep at the hands of No. 5 Virginia in Charlottesville.

The Nittany Lions were outscored 33-6 this weekend in a completely lopsided series that didn’t help Penn State’s early-season struggles.

Game One

The Nittany Lions entered the first game of a three-game series in Charlottesville as the clear underdogs while visiting the No. 5 ranked Virginia Cavaliers.

Penn State got on the board early thanks to an RBI double by Billy Gerlott in the top of the second.

Sophomore Travis Luensmann received the start in game one — his second of the young season. The Altoona native pitched well through four innings, allowing just one unearned run.

Unfortunately for Luensmann and the Nittany Lions, the fifth inning was not as kind. The Cavaliers scored eight runs on six hits, highlighted by a two-run home run by Alex Tappen, to turn a 1-1 ballgame into a 9-1 rout.

While the fifth inning might have ended, Virginia was not done scoring runs. The Cavaliers tacked on another run in the sixth to extend their lead to 10-1.

Virginia would go on to win by that score. Luensmann earned the loss, his second of the year, while Virginia southpaw Nate Savino was credited with the win after allowing just one run on five hits across 6.1 innings.

Game Two

The series’ second game was unfortunately much of the same for the Nittany Lions. Despite another early lead, Virginia’s hot bats stormed back to rout Penn State for the second straight day.

Second baseman Kyle Hannon drove in the game’s first run on a two-out single scoring Cole Bartels to give the Nittany Lions an early 1-0 lead.

Kellan Tulio, who was excellent in his last outing, struggled mightily in his second start of the season. The junior lefthander went just 1.1 innings while allowing four runs. Tulio struggled with his command and walked four batters.

After going down 1-0 in the top of the first, Virginia scored eight unanswered runs to put the game out of reach for the Nittany Lions. Penn State would manage to scrap a few more runs on RBI base hits from Cole Bartels and Tayven Kelley, but it ultimately didn’t matter much.

Four runs proved too few for the Nittany Lions, whose pitching struggles continued for a second straight game.

The Cavaliers were led by a game-high four RBIs from catcher Kyle Teel and two RBIs from leadoff man Griff O’Ferrall. Left-hander Brian Gursky improved to 3-0 on the season after hurling a solid 5.1 innings for the Cavaliers.

Game Three

Unlike the first two games of the series, it was the Cavaliers that got the scoring started. In the bottom of the first, Virginia infielder Jake Gelof hit a two-run home run.

The Nittany Lions finally got on the board in the top of the fourth when Tayvon Kelley singled through the left side, scoring Gerlott to make it a 4-1 ballgame. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, that was all the offense they could muster up in yet another one-sided ballgame.

The Cavaliers would go on to score nine more runs, making it 13-1 — a score that would hold up to be final. Gelof had a career game by batting in five runs on two hits while crossing home twice.

Takeaways

  • The pitching staff had a disastrous series, as no starting pitcher made it out of the fourth inning. The trio of Luensmann, Tulio, and Molsky combined to allow 19 runs in under nine innings pitched. The bullpen also struggled, so the entire pitching staff had a series to forget in Charlottesville.
  • Another unit that killed Penn State’s chances of success this weekend was the defense. In the three games, the Nittany Lions combined for seven errors. While the struggles of the pitching staff is noted, the pitchers didn’t get much help from the defense behind them. Virginia scored a total of eight unearned runs across the three games.
  • While the Penn State pitching staff may have struggled, the same cannot be said for the men on the mound for the Cavaliers. All three starting pitchers dominanted for Virginia to go along with solid innings from the bullpen.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will stay in Virginia and travel to Lexington to take on the Virginia Military Institute for a brief one-game series. The first pitch is set for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8.

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About the Author

Devon Craley

Devon is a junior studying sports journalism. He has the genuine misfortune of being a Philadelphia sports fan...IYKYK. Send your hot takes and preferably your freezing cold takes on Twitter to @devon3134. Devon is also your friendly, neighborhood State College movie nerd.

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