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Penn State Baseball Wins Three Games During Weekend Series

Penn State baseball (7-3) had another great weekend down in Cary, North Carolina, winning three of four games on its schedule. With matchups against Wagner, Dartmouth, and Holy Cross, the Nittany Lions scored 45 runs, including a season-high 17 in the game against Wagner.

Runs weren’t the only story this weekend, as the Nittany Lions’ starting pitching continued to turn in impressive starts.

Game One (Wagner)

Penn State’s first game of the weekend got off to a hot start right away, as the Nittany Lions put up five runs in the bottom half of the first. Kyle Hannon led off the game with a double and would eventually score on an error by Wagner catcher David Melfi. Thomas Bramley, Billy Gerlott, and Tayven Kelley all followed with back-to-back-to-back hits, adding another run to the lead.

An Anthony Steele walk would load the bases, and consecutive singles by Johnny Piacentino and Josh Spiegel would bring the game to 5-0. Wagner would get two runs back in the top of the second from a groundout and a sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the second, the Nittany Lions grabbed another run thanks to Jay Harry scoring after Bramley was thrown out at second base. Neither team could score a run until the sixth inning, and that was when Penn State blew this game open.

The Nittany Lions scored nine runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, making the game 15-2. It all started with back-to-back home runs to lead off the inning, one by Spiegel and another by Grant Norris. Later that inning, with the bases loaded, Kelley came up and smashed a double to center field to score two more runs. Steele would come up next and would ground out, but another run would score to make it 11-2.

Three batters later, Norris came up for the second time in the inning, this time with the bases loaded. He produced a double to left field that cleared the bases. He later scored after an error on Wagner third baseman Cody Bey, making the game 15-2.

In the next inning, the runs kept on coming for the Nittany Lions, as Kelley got his third hit of the game, this time a two-run home run. Wagner scored four runs in the ninth thanks to RBI doubles from Henry Martinez and Mateo Matthews, but it was far too late, as Penn State won 17-6.

Travis Luensmann was impressive yet again for the Nittany Lions, pitching five innings and giving up only two runs and two hits while striking out five. Ben DeMell also picked up his first save of the year, pitching three innings of relief and striking out six in the win.

Game Two (Dartmouth)

Game two of the weekend saw Daniel Ouderkirk take the bump for Penn State in what was another double-digit strikeout performance for the graduate transfer. Ouderkirk struck out 11 batters in 5.1 innings of work.

The runs finally started to come in during the third inning thanks to a Kyle Hannon solo home run to right field to give Penn State a 1-0 lead. The Nittany Lions grabbed another run two innings later after a Jay Harry single scored Hannon from second. Dartmouth tied the game, however, in the top of the sixth due to a run-scoring double and single.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Penn State regained the lead thanks to a sacrifice fly from Harry with the bases loaded. Thomas Bramley came up next with two runners in scoring position and after a passed ball, another run would score. Hannon, who was on third, then stole home to make the game 5-2.

The seventh inning increased the Nittany Lions’ lead after a leadoff double by Tayven Kelley, and he scored when Anthony Steele hit a grounder that turned into an error by Dartmouth. Steele then scored after an RBI double by Johnny Piacentino, who would later score to give Penn State an 8-2 lead — one it would hold on to for the rest of the game.

Game Three (Holy Cross)

In the first of two games against Holy Cross, it just wasn’t the Nittany Lions’ day. Penn State had an early lead in the game thanks to a two-run home run by Jay Harry — his first of the year. Holy Cross took the lead in the top of the second after Penn State walked in a run, which was followed by a Jack Toomey two-run home run to make the game 3-2. Penn State tied the game in the bottom of the inning after Josh Spiegel scored on an error after a leadoff double.

However, the top of the third is when the game got bad for the Nittany Lions, as they gave up six runs. it would start with a Toomey single scoring a run, and another would come in on a wild pitch. With the bases loaded, another two runs would score after a fielder’s choice and error. Holy Cross brought in two more runs, one on a groundout and another on an RBI single by Sean Scanlon, making the game 9-3.

Penn State grabbed two runs in the next few innings, one from an RBI double by Kyle Hannon and another from an RBI single by Thomas Bramley. However, Holy Cross brought the lead back to six in the ninth thank to a two-run single from Scanlon, his fourth RBI of the game. Holy Cross held on and won 11-5.

Game Four (Holy Cross)

Game four of the weekend was the second against Holy Cross, and Penn State got off to a much better start in this game. Right away in the first, Penn State had back-to-back-to-back singles from Kyle Hannon, Johnny Piacentino, and Tayven Kelley that scored one run. A Jay Harry walk loaded the bases, and Jake Cooper brought in another run on a sacrifice fly. Penn State got another run off of a double steal to make the game 3-0 after one.

In the bottom of the third, the Nittany Lions blew the game open with a six-run inning. A single and back-to-back walks loaded the bases for senior Ben Kailher in his first start of the season. Kailer hit a bomb over the left-field wall for a grand slam, which was his first home run as a Nittany Lion, to make the game 7-0.

Two batters later, after an Anthony Steele walk, freshman Bobby Marsh smashed his first home run as a Nittany Lion to make the game 9-0. Kelley added another run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double to bring the lead to 10.

Holy Cross got two runs back thanks to a two-run double from Sean Scanlon to make the game 10-2. Penn State, however, wasn’t done scoring yet. It would add five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to singles by Jake Cooper, CJ Pittaro, and Tyson Cooper. Penn State held on to win 15-2.

The starting pitcher for the game was left-hander Jordan Morales, and he turned in four solid innings of work. Morales only gave up two hits and struck out a career-high seven batters. Chad Rogers also made his first appearance of the season, pitching two innings of relief, getting one strikeout, and allowing no hits.

Takeaways

  • The offense was on full display this weekend, scoring 45 runs and hitting seven home runs in the four games played. Two of the games were also double-digit wins, the first two times the Nittany Lions have done that this season.
  • Daniel Ouderkirk had another double-digit strikeout performance this weekend, his second of the season. Ouderkirk has become a reliable starting pitcher for Penn State since transferring from West Virginia.
  • Tayven Kelley and Johnny Piacentino had great weekends for the Nittany Lions. Kelley had seven hits and five RBIs in four games, one of the hits being a two-run home run. Piacentino collected eight hits, seven of them being singles.

What’s Next

Penn State will head to Chapel Hill to play No. 13 North Carolina at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him taking down any Dollar Dog challenge or rewatching the Big Ten Maps Commercial. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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