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Penn State Baseball Tops Purdue 7-5 In Series Finale

Penn State baseball (14-19, 5-7 Big Ten) took the final game of a three-game series to claim two of three over Purdue (22-9, 4-6 Big Ten), winning its first conference series of the season.

Designated hitter Josh Spiegel led the way offensively for the Nittany Lions, driving home four runs while going 4-for-5 at the plate. Starting Pitcher Travis Luensmann rebounded nicely after allowing two early runs, going six innings with just four hits and six punchouts.

How It Happened

Penn State entered Saturday’s rubber match with the Boilermakers aiming to bounce back after an ugly 11-5 loss on Friday. The Nittany Lions sent sophomore Travis Luensmann to the hill on Saturday afternoon, his seventh start of the season. The Altoona native entered the game with a 5.19 ERA. Meanwhile, freshman southpaw Troy Wansing got the start for Purdue.

An error, a passed ball, and a hit batter put two runners on in the first for Purdue before the Nittany Lions could even record an out. A sacrifice fly from Cam Thompson after a double steal scored the first run of the game. Another passed ball behind catcher Matt Wood scored the second run of the inning for Purdue. The Nittany Lions finally got the final out they were looking for but not before the Boilermakers scored two in the inning.

Josh Spiegel continued his hot streak with a two-RBI double down the right-field line to tie the game at two. A pair of strikeouts to go along with a rare 1-6-3 putout ended the inning, sending the game to the top of the second tied 2-2.

Despite getting out to hot starts in the first, both offenses went down quietly in the next two innings. Spiegel collected his second hit of the game with two outs in the third but nothing more came about as the game remained tied at two after three innings.

Shortstop Jay Harry led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple to the gap in right-center field. Consecutive strikeouts of CJ Pittaro and Tayven Kelley along with a groundout from Billy Gerlott ended the inning, stranding Harry on third.

The Nittany Lions threatened once again in their half of the fifth. Back-to-back singles from Tyson Cooper and Cole Bartels and a sacrifice bunt by Matt Wood put two in scoring position with less than two outs for Penn State’s hottest hitter Josh Spiegel. The Boilermakers opted to make their first pitching change of the game, removing Wansing after 4.1 solid innings, in favor of right-hander Wyatt Wendell. Spiegel delivered again, scoring two more runs with a base hit up the middle. Two straight strikeouts ended the inning but not before Penn State was able to tack on two more to take a 4-2 lead.

Tayven Kelley scored the fifth run of the game for the Nittany Lions after advancing two bases thanks to a pair of walks by new Purdue pitcher Logan Danzeisen. A single from Matt Wood scored outfielder Billy Gerlott from second after Gerlott walked and stole a base. Josh Spiegel collected his fourth hit of the game on an infield single, advancing Bartels to third and Wood to second. Johnny Piacentino couldn’t deliver the knockout blow, striking out with the bases loaded to end the inning. After six innings of play, Penn State led 6-2.

The Nittany Lions went to the bullpen in the top of the seventh with Steven Miller and Jordan Morales coming on to try to preserve the lead. Purdue was able to cut the Penn State lead to three after Morales balked in a run. A single by junior CJ Valdez scored another run, bringing the Boilermakers to within two. Morales’ struggles in the seventh continued as Cam Thompson collected his second RBI of the game on a double to left. Mason Mellott was brought in out of the bullpen and he promptly struck out the second batter he faced to finally put an end to the top of the seventh. Purdue got three in the inning to make it a 6-5 game.

Jay Harry answered with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the seventh, his second extra-base hit of the game. The home run was Harry’s fourth of the season. Penn State was now back up two runs with two innings remaining.

Mason Mellott continued his dominant outing in relief, getting three outs in the eighth and the ninth innings to hold the advantage. Penn State won 7-5.

Takeaways

  • Both starting pitchers were able to settle down nicely after rough first innings. This game first seemed like it would turn into another offensive slugfest, but Luensmann and Wansing found their command, quickly turning this one into a pitcher’s duel. Wansing was pulled in the bottom of the fifth after allowing two runs on six hits while striking out six. His counterpart on the mound, Travis Luensmann, was even better, allowing just the two first-inning runs across six solid innings of work.
  • Josh Spiegel carried his hot bat into Saturday’s game. After homering in two of the previous three games, Spiegel knocked in a game-high four runs on four hits. The redshirt junior now has 23 RBIs on the season as his average creeps closer to the .300 mark.
  • The seventh inning was a big inning for both teams on Saturday. Purdue scored three in the top half of the inning to cut Penn State’s lead to one. The Nittany Lions used three pitchers to escape without further damage. Jay Harry’s fourth home run of the season was a big one, putting the Nittany Lions back up two runs at the time.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will host Mount St. Mary’s for a brief one-game matchup on Wednesday, April 20. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

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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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