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Penn State Baseball Takes Two Of Three Against Brown

Penn State baseball (9-5) finished off its final weekend down in Cary, North Carolina, with a series win over Brown (1-9), taking two of three games played.

The fourth game of the series was set to be played on Sunday but was canceled due to impending rain. All three games were back-and-forth contests, with the first two matchups culminating in walk-off wins for Penn State.

Game One

Penn State trailed for the majority of the first contest between the two teams. The game one starter for the Nittany Lions was Daniel Ouderkirk, who has had an impressive start to the season by recording double-digit strikeouts in two of his first three starts. He did it again this game, striking out 10 during four innings of work against Brown. He did, however, give up three runs on five hits, the most runs he’s given up since his first start of the season.

Both teams didn’t score for the first few innings until Brown woke up and took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Ryan Marra opened up the scoring with a solo home run, and after a hit by pitch, single and walk, Brown had the bases loaded with nobody out. A fielding error by Kyle Hannon and a single by Derian Morphew would bring the lead to three.

Penn State, however, took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Bobby Marsh led off the inning with a walk, and Ben Kailher reached base on a fielding error. Thomas Bramley then smacked a triple to right-center, scoring both to make it a one-run game. It wouldn’t take long for Bramley to cross home, as Jay Harry scored him on a single up the middle. Two batters later, after Harry advanced to second on a wild pitch, he would score thanks to a Hannon single to make the game 4-3 in favor of Penn State.

That lead would be short-lived, though, as Brown retook the lead two innings later. This time, back-to-back solo home runs from Marra and Jacob Burley gave Brown a 5-4 lead. Brown gained an extra insurance run in the top of the ninth after Reece Rappoli led off the inning with a triple and scored with a sacrifice fly from Burley.

Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the ninth, Penn State had one last chance to make a comeback. Johnny Piacentino led off the inning with a bomb over the center-field wall to cut the deficit to one. The Nittany Lions then tied the game thanks to back-to-back doubles from Anthony Steele and Marsh. With runners on the corners and two outs, Billy Gerlott came up to the plate with a chance to win the game.

Gerlott delivered, as Brown second baseman Ray Sass bobbled the grounder, allowing Marsh to score from third to win the game 7-6.

Game Two

After winning in walk-off fashion the day before, Penn State had a doubleheader on Saturday against Brown. The first game of the day had Travis Luensmann on the mound as he tried to improve on his strong start to the year.

He got some immediate help in the form of a Thomas Bramley lead-off home run to make the game 1-0. Brown tied the game in the next inning with a bases-loaded single by Derian Morphew. Brown extended its lead in the third after two walks, and a wild pitch scored Gunner Boree from second base.

Jay Harry wouldn’t let that lead last long, though, smacking his second home run of the year to tie the game up at two.

In the next inning, Bobby Marsh launched a solo homer of his own to give Penn State the lead back. Brown, however, retook the lead thanks to a home run of its own, this time a two-run homer off the bat of Ryan Marra.

Two innings later, Kyle Hannon joined the home run party, crushing a shot to right field to make it a 4-4 game.

After that home run, neither team produced any offense for the next five innings. Luensmann pitched 4.1 innings and recorded eight strikeouts, but did give up a season-high three earned runs. Jaden Henline had an outstanding game in relief by tossing six innings, striking out four, and keeping the game tied the entire time he was in.

In the 12th inning, Penn State had a runner on first thanks to a leadoff single by Ben Kailher. Two batters later, Jay Harry came up and smacked a line drive down the right field line and over the wall for a walk-off two-run home run. It was his second homer of the day and his third of the year, giving Penn State the 6-4 win.

Game Three

After back-to-back walk-off winners, the Nittany Lions were trying to make it three in a row against Brown. On the mound was Tommy Molsky, who was coming off his worst start of the season last week against Holy Cross.

This game once again didn’t start off the way Penn State would hope, as Brown took an early lead in the third inning. Ryan Marra doubled in two runs, and a Nathan Brasher double brought in another run. Two batters later, Mika Petersen reached base on a fielding error to make the game 4-0.

Penn State once again attempted to make a comeback and would get on the board thanks to a Tyson Cooper RBI single. Ben DeMell was on in relief for Molsky and pitched 4.1 great innings, striking out three and not allowing any runs.

Penn State cut the lead to one in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a two-run triple by Thomas Bramley. The Nittany Lions went down in order in the eighth and the ninth and would ultimately fall 4-3.

Takeaways

  • Jay Harry had a great weekend, showing off his defensive while also totaling three hits, two being home runs and one being a walk-off two-run homer. Harry plays a huge role in this offense, and his great play has been a big part of the Nittany Lions’ early success.
  • Thomas Bramley also was all over the bases this weekend, totaling four hits and five walks during the three games. Bramley has moved into the leadoff spot and has experienced immediate success.
  • The pitching, despite having high strikeout numbers, struggled a bit and gave up early leads in all three games. Jaden Henline’s performance in relief in the second game was huge for the junior, though, as he continues to be a big arm out of the bullpen for the Nittany Lions.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will take on Navy at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, in their first game of the season at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

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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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