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Penn State Baseball Eliminated From Big Ten Tournament With 11-3 Loss To Iowa

By Frankie Marzano and Gabe Angieri

No. 6-seeded Penn State baseball (26-29, 1-2 Big Ten Tournament) was eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament with an 11-3 loss (35-18, 2-1 Big Ten Tournament) to No. 3-seeded Iowa Saturday in Omaha.

The Nittany Lions took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning, but it was all Hawkeyes for the remainder of the game. Big fourth and fifth innings allowed Iowa to jump out to a commanding lead, which Penn State was never able to overcome.

With the loss, Penn State’s first Big Ten Tournament run in 10 years is now over.

How It Happened

Penn State started the top of the first inning with Josh Spiegel getting on base and eventually advancing to second, but Ty Langenberg retired the rest of the side to mitigate the potential damage. Things started to get interesting in the bottom of the first, though, as Iowa loaded the bases with only one out, but pitcher Tommy Molsky got the Nittany Lions out of the inning.

The Hawkeyes proceeded to load the bases in the second inning with only one out, again, but the Nittany Lions were able to turn a double play and escape unscathed.

Josh Spiegel started the scoring in the following frame with a ground-rule double that scored Derek Cease, giving Penn State a 1-0 lead.

With runners then on second and third and only one out, the Nittany Lions couldn’t capitalize after a Cole Bartels strikeout and Billy Gerlott groundout.

As if it hadn’t happened enough already, Iowa loaded the bases again in the third inning with a walk and two hit-by-pitch. With two outs, Iowa’s Brendan Sher flew out to center field to end the inning, preserving Penn State’s 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Hawkeyes finally broke through. Michael Seegers ripped an RBI single up the middle to tie the game up. That would end Molsky’s day, as Mason Mellott came on to try to escape without any further damage.

However, Iowa amazingly loaded the bases for the fourth consecutive inning to put the Nittany Lions in deep trouble with no outs. After Penn State turned a home-to-first double play to keep the score tied, Will Mulflur singled to score Keaton Anthony from third and give Iowa a 2-1 lead. Mellott loaded the bases for Iowa once again for the fifth time, and it would cost him.

Cade Moss singled up the middle to drive in two more runs and give the Hawkeyes a 4-1 lead. Mellott retired the next batter to stop the bleeding.

After Langenberg turned in a scoreless top of the fifth, Mellott served up a leadoff home run to Kyle Huckstorf to lead off the bottom half of the inning. After a no-out double from Seegers, Mellott exited in favor of Carson Kohls, who came on and gave up two runs, in large part due to an error from second baseman Derek Cease. One of those runs was charged to Mellott, and the other was an unearned run on Kohls’ record.

Langenberg put two runners on in the sixth and was pulled at 112 pitches with two outs in the inning. Jacob Henderson entered and loaded the bases with a walk, which was followed up by a Jay Harry two-run single to cut Iowa’s lead to 7-3 with Matt Wood coming to the plate. Luke Llewellyn relieved Henderson and retired Wood to end the inning.

With Steven Miller on the mound for Penn State, Iowa tacked on another run in the bottom half thanks to an Anthony RBI single. With one out and runners at the corners, Miller was pulled in favor of left-hander Ryan Partridge. An RBI groundout from Peyton Williams pushed another run across to give Iowa a 9-3 lead heading into the seventh inning.

Both teams went down scoreless in the seventh, which brought the game to the eighth inning with the Nittany Lions still trailing by six runs. In the bottom of the eighth, Williams launched a two-run homer to right field to put the icing on the cake and make it an 11-3 game.

The 11-3 score would stick the rest of the way, as Iowa got its revenge and knocked the Nittany Lions out of the tournament.

Takeaways

  • The base paths were busy for Iowa’s offense all game long. Most notably, the Hawkeyes loaded the bases five teams within the first four innings. Iowa turned in an explosive offensive performance that included 16 hits and 11 runs.
  • Quite possibly the biggest surprise from Saturday comes from Penn State’s star catcher Matt Wood. Wood took an 0-for-5 against Iowa, which snapped his remarkable 36-game on-base streak. The catcher was undoubtedly the Nittany Lions’ best hitter during the 2022 season, and he’s starting to get legitimate MLB Draft buzz heading into the offseason.
  • Despite the loss, this Penn State team shouldn’t hang its head. The team reached the conference tournament for the first time in 10 years this season and even won a tournament game. It’s certainly not the end it was hoping for, but the team has a lot to be proud and now has something to build on going into next year.

What’s Next

Penn State baseball’s Big Ten Tournament run is now over. Barring a miracle, the team’s season is presumably over, as an NCAA Tournament berth doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

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