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Penn State Baseball Wins Just One Game, Loses Series To Northwestern

Penn State baseball (12-17, 3-6 Big Ten) won just one of three games against Northwestern (14-13, 4-2 Big Ten) over the weekend in Evanston, Illinois.

After Friday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather, Saturday became a doubleheader that the teams split. The series finale became a rubber match in the series, which ended up being a heartbreaker for the Nittany Lions, as the Wildcats walked it off in the ninth inning to win 5-2.

How It Happened

Game One

The first game got underway with Jaden Henline on the mound for Penn State.

Penn State got things rolling immediately by putting runners in scoring position. The Nittany Lions took advantage of a Northwestern error when designated hitter Josh Spiegel scored to make it 1-0.

Henline got through the first inning, but then Northwestern answered Penn State’s lone run by scoring to tie the game. The Wildcats pressured Penn State and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field.

Penn State and Northwestern went back and forth from that point on, as catcher Matt Wood and center fielder Johnny Piacentino each homered in the third inning to make it 3-1.

However, Northwestern bounced back with a two-run homer from infielder Anthony Calarco in the third inning to tie the game 3-3.

Fast-forward to the fifth inning, and Penn State did it again. Josh Spiegel, who already scored once, sent a ball flying over the outfield wall to give the Nittany Lions a 4-3 lead.

In the seventh inning, Calarco made his presence felt once again. This time, Calarco doubled to center and scored outfielder Ethan O’Donnell to tie the game 4-4.

Though both sides’ pitchers were dealing, Northwestern finally broke through in the ninth inning. With Steven Miller on the mound for Penn State, infielder Jay Beshears came to bat with two runners on. Beshears hit a single to left field, which easily scored O’Donnell for the walk-off 5-4 win.

Game Two

Game two was much less eventful and way more one-sided than the previous affair. Penn State sent Kellan Tulio to the mound to start the game.

Tulio was outstanding against the Wildcats, striking out seven batters in his five innings of work in the game. He allowed only one run, which was another Calarco score to make it 1-0 in the fourth inning.

Calarco’s run was the only time Northwestern scored. Immediately following his run, Penn State put up two runs in the fifth inning.

The first came when third baseman CJ Pittaro doubled to left field, which allowed shortstop Jay Harry to score all the way from first to tie it 1-1.

Penn State’s big inning was not over yet, too. Designated hitter Anthony Steele sent a ball to the outfield to score Pittaro, and Penn State took a 2-1 lead.

Tulio got through the rest of the fifth inning and then handed the ball to Travis Luensmann. Over the next four innings, Luensmann struck out six batters and allowed just three hits to silence the Northwestern offense.

In the ninth inning, Penn State scored two more runs. A big single from right fielder Billy Gerlott scored Wood and Harry to make it 4-1.

Luensmann got the save in the bottom of the inning, sealing the deal on a 4-1 Penn State victory.

Game Three

Penn State got to work immediately in the first inning. Steele’s walk scored Harry, then Piacentino scored on a fielder’s choice to give the Nittany Lions an early 2-0 lead.

Northwestern starting pitcher Grant Comstock recovered and pitched five solid innings, striking out three batters while pitching to a 3.60 ERA.

Meanwhile, Steven Miller got the start for Penn State. Miller struck out three and only allowed two hits with no runs in a three-inning performance. Jordan Morales then made an appearance, allowing one run and two hits with two strikeouts over two innings.

Then, things became difficult for Penn State. With Northwestern already having put one run on the board to make it 2-1, Calarco’s walk scored another run for the Wildcats to tie it 2-2.

Neither team was able to break the ice throughout the remainder of regulation. In the tenth inning, Mason Mellott came in to pitch for Penn State. With two runners on base, Stephen Hrustich came up and hit a no-doubt homer into left field to to give Northwestern a 5-2 win.

Takeaways

  • Jaden Henline pitched very well in game one despite the 5-4 loss. Henline tied a career high by striking out six batters over 4.1 innings pitched. The sophomore has been a reliable pitcher for the Nittany Lions, as he has a 3.72 ERA and 35 strikeouts over 29 innings pitched so far this season.
  • Jay Harry’s hit streak extended to twelve. Harry totaled two hits in Sunday’s game and kept his hot streak going.
  • Despite the the two losses in the series, the Nittany Lions managed to play Northwestern close the entire time. While the results weren’t necessarily there, it’s an encouraging sign to see the Nittany

What’s Next

Penn State will come home to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for one game against West Virginia at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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