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Penn State Baseball Wins Series At Minnesota

Penn State baseball (17-20 overall, 7-8 Big Ten) took two of three games on the road against Minnesota (11-26 overall, 2-10 Big Ten).

Solid pitching guided Penn State to back-to-back victories, while the offense also helped get the job done in Minneapolis.

How It Happened

Game One

Game one resulted in a resounding 7-3 Minnesota victory. 

Jaden Henline was Penn State’s starting pitcher. He pitched 4.2 innings and allowed six runs, eight hits, and struck out two batters. His outing was far and away his worst of the season, thus far. Henline had never given up more than four runs and had never given up eight hits. Prior to giving up seven hits against Purdue, he never gave up more than five. 

Jordan Morales replaced Henline in relief after his performance. He lasted for 2.1 innings and looked better than Henline, with one run, two hits, and four strikeouts. Morales’ four strikeouts set a season-high for the junior from Souderton, Pennsylvania. Morales has seen plenty of action this season, with Friday’s game marking his 17th appearance so far. 

Freshman Chase Renner saw the field in place of Morales. Renner only pitched one inning, and allowed one hit with two strikeouts. 

While Morales and Renner did not look bad, Henline had huge problems against Minnesota. Perhaps the toughest batter Henline faced was right fielder Andrew Wilhite, who had three hits and two runs in the game. Center fielder Brett Bateman was especially problematic as well, with a pair of runs and hits. 

Minnesota only totaled three RBI’s, though, coming from catcher Chase Stanke, designated hitter Kyle Bork, and second baseman Brady Counsell. 

Meanwhile, Penn State’s offense was significantly quieter. Left fielder Cole Bartels, as well as infielders Josh Spiegel and C.J. Pittaro scored each of Penn State’s three runs. Catcher Matt Wood hit another RBI, while infielders Jay Harry and Ben Kailher hit the other two RBI’s. 

Minnesota pitcher Sam Ireland was dominant through seven innings. Ireland struck out nine Nittany Lions and allowed four hits and two runs in his outing.

Game Two

After a rough start to the series on Friday, Penn State beat Minnesota 5-1 on Saturday. 

This time, Penn State had dominant pitching as opposed to Minnesota’s dominance in game one. Travis Luensmann started for the Nittany Lions and had a strong performance over six innings with four strikeouts, three hits, and no runs allowed. He has been reliable for Penn State since transferring from South Carolina, with a 3.86 ERA and 55 strikeouts. 

Tyler Shingledecker came in relief to replace Luensmann after the sixth inning and pitched the rest of the game. He pitched fine despite allowing one run and loading the bases in the seventh inning, with two strikeouts. 

Penn State’s bats then woke up. It all started in the sixth inning when right fielder Billy Gerlott homered to left center field. Minnesota responded in the seventh inning after a sacrifice ground ball as the bases were loaded. 

In the eighth inning, Penn State got even hotter. Penn State applied pressure and put runners on base, which set up an RBI single from second baseman Derek Cease. Bartels then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring another run to make it 3-1. Then, singles from Wood and left fielder Tayven Kelly gave Penn State a 5-1 lead, which ultimately ended up being the final score.

Game Three

The Nittany Lions edged Minnesota 6-5 in a nail-biter.

Penn State’s pitching trio of Steven Miller, Kellan Tulio, and Mason Mellott did a great job against Minnesota. Miller and Tulio pitched for two innings, while Mellott pitched the final four innings. They combined for six strikeouts and 12 hits. Mellott was clutch for Penn State, getting the final outs with runners on first and third.

Much of Penn State’s lineup helped out offensively, but Matt Wood and Billy Gerlott led the way for Penn State. Wood had two RBI’s while Gerlott had three.

Penn State opened the scoring in the first inning with two runs, but Minnesota had gained a 3-2 lead by the end of the fourth inning.

Wood then hit a sacrifice fly which scored a run in the fifth inning, which put Penn State back to within two runs of Minnesota for a 5-3 score.

Then, in the eight inning, Billy Gerlott send a deep homer that the Minnesota outfielders could only watch as it soared over the fence. The Penn State bench erupted, as it had taken a 6-5 lead. Gerlott was greeted to hugs and high-fives as he touched home plate and went back to the dugout. Gerlott’s homer, which put Penn State back on top, is a testament to how resilient this team has played in recent games.

Penn State hung on and closed out Minnesota, with Mason Mellott striking out the final batter with runners on first and third for a 6-5 victory.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s pitching was solid this weekend, particularly in games two and three. The Nittany Lions combined for 21 strikeouts.
  • Matt Wood continued to do Matt Wood things, as he combined for four RBI’s in the series.
  • This is a resilient team that doesn’t quit. The Nittany Lions came up with decisive plays such as Gerlott’s big homer, propelling them to victory.

What’s Next

Penn State will face Bucknell at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, at Medlar Field.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a freshman majoring in journalism. From the Maryland side of the D.C. suburbs, Nolan likes using Old Bay and is a diehard Washington sports fan, which can be both difficult and rewarding. If you want to debate anything about sports with him, follow him on Instagram @_nolanwick or on Twitter @nolan_wick.

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