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Penn State Baseball Comes From Behind To Beat West Virginia 8-4

Penn State baseball (18-21, 7-8 Big Ten) used a strong effort from the bullpen to beat the West Virginia Mountaineers (24-15, 7-5 Big 12) 8-4 Wednesday night in Morgantown.

Five pitchers out of the bullpen combined to pitch 5.1 innings and allowed just one run to help give Penn State the win. Outfielder Johnny Piacentino collected three RBIs while going 2-for-4, too.

With the win, Penn State and West Virginia split their season series at a game apiece after the Mountaineers took the first meeting between the two teams earlier this month.

How It Happened

After dropping their last game on Tuesday against Bucknell, the Nittany Lions had a quick turnaround, traveling to Morgantown to take on the Mountaineers. Tyler Shingledecker got the start for Penn State, and freshman Aidan Major started for the Mountaineers.

Despite getting two runners on base, including one in scoring position, the Nittany Lions were unable to push a run across in the top of the first. A strikeout of centerfielder Johnny Piacentino ended the inning, stranding Jay Harry on third.

Three straight hits by the Mountaineers scored the first runs of the game. A double by Victor Scott II scored JJ Wetherholt after he reached on an infield single, and Scott advanced to third on an overthrow. The next batter, McGwire Holbrook, singled up the middle to score the second run of the inning for the Mountaineers. After one inning, West Virginia led 2-0.

A leadoff double by second baseman Ben Kailher put another man in scoring position for Penn State with less than two outs. For the second straight inning, the Nittany Lions were unable to capitalize, keeping the game at 2-0 in favor of West Virginia.

The Mountaineers added one more in the bottom of the second. Despite grounding into a double play, shortstop Tevin Tucker drove in a run from third to make it a 3-0 ballgame.

Penn State finally cashed in with a runner in scoring position, as catcher Josh Spiegel scored Cole Bartels from second on a single to right. Bartels reached on a single of his own and advanced to second after Harry walked for the second time. A double down the right-field line by Piacentino scored Harry to cut West Virginia’s lead to one.

The Nittany Lions tied the game on an error after relief pitcher Zach Ottinger tried to pick Bartels off of third. The throw tipped off of the third baseman’s glove and rolled into foul territory, allowing Bartels to score and Piacentino to advance to third. Penn State’s big inning came to an end with the game tied at three.

A double off the bat of Tayven Kelley and a sacrifice fly from Bartels put the go-ahead runner on third. Harry hit a hard grounder deep in the hole on the left side to score Bartels for Penn State’s fourth unanswered run of the game.

Spiegel extended Penn State’s lead by hitting his sixth home run of the season into the bullpen in left field. The Nittany Lions continued to pour it on in the middle innings when Billy Gerlott ripped a triple to deep right and drove in Kailher to give extend their lead to 6-3.

The trio of Mason Mellott, Ryan Partridge, and Steven Miller combined to allow no runs in three innings of work to keep Penn State’s comfortable three-run lead heading into the seventh.

It took a while, but West Virginia started to threaten offensively and loaded up the bases with just one out. The Mountaineers pushed a run across on a fielders choice to make it a 6-4 ballgame. A big strikeout by left-hander Kellan Tulio finally put an end to the inning.

Piacentino hammered his second extra-base hit of the night to drive in Wood and Spiegel, who scored after reaching base on a hit and a walk, respectively. Penn State entered the bottom of the ninth with an 8-4 lead.

Southpaw Jordan Morales got the final three outs to preserve the 8-4 win.

Takeaways

  • The Nittany Lions’ four unanswered runs in the third and the fourth innings allowed them to overcome a rough top of the second that saw the Mountaineers score two runs. Big hits from Piacentino and Spiegel put Penn State on the board, while the hit from Harry in the fourth gave the Nittany Lions a 4-3 lead at the time. This came after Penn State failed to push runners across in the first and the second despite having runners in scoring position in both innings.
  • After Shingledecker struggled in his 2.2 innings of work by allowing three runs on five hits, the bullpen did a great job of holding the Mountaineers to those three runs up until the bottom of the eighth inning. Five pitchers out of the bullpen combined to allow just six hits, zero of them for extra bases.
  • Penn State hitters did a great job all night of working deep counts and getting on base by any means necessary. The Mountaineers used ten pitchers in the game, with none going more than 2.1 innings. Starting pitcher Aidan Major threw 60 total pitches in just over two innings of work.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will return home to host Omaha for a three-game series beginning on Friday, April 29. First pitch for game one 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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