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Penn State Baseball Downs Milwaukee 4-3 With Strong Relief Pitching

Penn State baseball (7-9) defeated the Milwaukee Panthers (5-8) 4-3 Saturday afternoon during the second game of a three-game series. Despite a weather delay, the Nittany Lions pulled out a much-needed win.

Although the offense sputtered, a solid 5.2 innings of relief pitching from Jordan Morales and Steven Miller and a controversial call to end the game helped Penn State win Saturday’s game.

How It Happened

Tommy Molsky took the mound in his fifth start during Saturday afternoon’s game to try and grab his first win of the season for the Nittany Lions. The freshman right-hander tossed six strikeouts in 3.2 innings and gave up seven runs (two earned) on six hits in his last start against UMass.

Molsky started the game by sending the Panthers down in order, grabbing a strikeout in the process. Penn State was going up against right-handed sophomore Nick Gilhaus, who saw great success in the bottom half of the first with Matt Woods and Johnny Piacentino both striking out looking on consecutive at-bats.

During the top of the second, Kyle Hannon made a nice grab at third to end the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, he put the Nittany Lions on the board by crushing a triple to left-center field to score Billy Gerlott.

In the top of third, Molsky was doing well and grabbed a groundout and another strikeout to start the inning before a hit-by-pitch and an error put a runner in scoring position. Later, another hit-by-pitch to Jay Harry and an error for Woods put two runners on for the Nittany Lions. Cole Bartels knocked Harry in with a two-out single, but they would settle for one run as Hannon hit a pop-up back to the pitcher to end the inning with bases loaded.

The top of the fourth started with a dropped fly ball to left field, a hit-by-pitch, and a walk to load the bases for Milwaukee. Molsky then threw a wild pitch that caused two runs to score. After that, Jordan Morales came into the game hoping to keep the game tied, but after a walk to Quinton Morris, Zach Nogalski drove in the go-ahead run on a one-out single. Morales got out of the inning however with the fielder’s choice and a strikeout looking.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Nittany Lions were able to retake the lead. Josh Spiegel led off the inning, and back-to-back singles from Ben Kailher and Jay Harry tied the game at three. After Woods walked to load the bases, Piacentino hit a deep sac fly to right field to give Penn State a 4-3 lead and what turned out to be the game-winning run. Cole Bartels ended the inning with a lineout to third.

Not much occurred in the fifth inning as Morales sent Milwaukee down one-two-three, while Penn State saw a single from Spiegel. During the top of the sixth, Morales got a groundout before being pulled for senior Steven Miller, who ended up finishing the game. He gave up a single in the inning before tossing two strikeouts to end the sixth.

The Penn State offense was silent however for the rest of the game, recording only a hit-by-pitch and a walk. Miller let up one other hit the rest of the day, a single in the eighth.

During the top of the ninth, Milwaukee was able to get the tying run on base with a hit by pitch. With one out, Miller was able to strike out Milwaukees’ leadoff hitter, Ty Olejnik, for the second out. Up came shortstop Mitchell Buban with runner Luke Seidel on first. With a 3-1 count, Seidel was stealing when Beban hit catcher Woods’ glove, causing the umpire to call catcher’s interference and Seidel out at second, ending the game.

Miller grabbed the save, while Morales picked up the win in the victory. They also extended the team’s bullpen scoreless streak to 16.1 innings with a solid combined 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts.

Takeaways

  • The bullpen looked great today thanks to Morales and Miller taking over during the last six innings of the game. Miller also had his most strikeouts in an outing this year with six. Molsky didn’t let up many hits, but wild pitching caused him to go 3.1 innings. Hopefully, the freshman can bounce back next weekend versus Rutgers.
  • The offensive wasn’t very loud today. Penn State recorded only five hits but did enough to get the win.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will try to sweep Milwaukee at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 20, in the finale of this three-game series.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a Junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in Sports Studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of "The Office" or "Friends." To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at mlb6572@psu.edu.

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