Penn State Baseball Splits Saturday Doubleheader Against Iowa
Penn State baseball (24-15, 6-8 Big Ten) split its Saturday doubleheader against Iowa (31-11, 8-6 Big Ten) losing the first game 9-6 and winning the second 8-4 Saturday afternoon.
Inclement weather Friday night caused the game to be pushed to Saturday, however, Penn State was unable to pick a win during either game. After 17 hits were given up by Penn State pitching in game one, the team battled back to win game two, thanks to two big bombs by Grant Norris and Kyle Hannon.
Jaden Henline was on the mound for the first game. Right away, the Hawkeyes were in business. A single by Keaton Anthony and a double by Brennen Dorighi set up two runners in scoring position. Raider Tello singled up the middle scoring both runners and gave Iowa an early 2-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions rallied back in their half of the first to take the lead. Brody Brecht was on the mound for the Hawkeyes, however, his day didn’t go as he hoped it would. Four consecutive walks in a row by Brecht brought the first run for Penn State and another walk to Gerlott two batters later tied the game at two.
Tayven Kelley stepped in the box and smacked a single into left-center to give Penn State an early 4-2 lead.
The Hawkeyes grabbed a run back in the top of the second after a single and an error by Grant Norris put runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly by Ben Wilmes cut the lead to one. Penn State scored a run on a sac fly of its own in the bottom of the second, this time by Jay Harry.
Henline day was done after the second inning, and Travis Luensmann was on in relief. In the top of the fourth Iowa cut the lead once again. Two singles and a misplay error by Kelley on the second single allowed Iowa to cut the lead to one.
The fifth inning is when things went bad for the Nittany Lions. Two walks and a single loaded the bases and Wilmes smacked his second single to tie the game at five. Anthony stepped into the box and smoked a grand slam over the left field wall to make it 9-5 Hawkeyes.
Penn State’s offense went quiet for nearly the remainder of the game. A comeback was attempted in the nine after Kelley led off the inning with a triple. Kyle Hannon smacked a single the other way to score him cutting the lead to three, however, the comeback was short-lived, as Iowa battled back to end the game, winning 9-6.
Jordan Morales was on the bump, making his sixth start of the season for the Nittany Lions. Right away, Morales received some run support from the Nittany Lions offense. Back-to-back four-pitch walks put two early runners on for Penn State. With two outs Grant Norris stepped up and absolutely smoked a ball 436 feet over the left-center field wall to make it 3-0 Nittany Lions.
In the bottom of the second, Penn State tacked on another run thanks to Iowa’s starter Marcus Morgan’s inability to find the strike zone. Three walks loaded by Morgan loaded the bases for Penn State and a groundout by Thomas Bramley allowed another run to score extending the lead to four.
While a four-run lead is good, five is better, and Kyle Hannon made sure of that. The second baseman smacked a solo home run over the right-field wall, to make the game 5-0 Penn State. The home run was his seventh of the year which put him in sole possession of first place on the team.
Morales coasted through the first four innings of the game and gave up no runs on only two hits. He was pulled for Daniel Ouderkirk who continued his recent struggles in game two.
A single and a walk put two runners on for the Hawkeyes and Brennen Dorighi came up big with a long double to left driving in two runs. Dorighi scored on the next batter after a Raider Tello double cutting the lead to two.
The Nittany Lions rallied back in the bottom of the sixth for three runs of their own, scoring all three runs without recording a hit. The Hawkeye’s pitching staff recorded five walks in the inning and a few wild pitches and a sacrifice fly by Hannon gave Penn State a 8-3 lead.
Steve Miller came on in relief for the final three innings. In the ninth Miller ran into some trouble after he gave up a run on a bunt single to score a run, however, Miller got a big double play to end the game winning 8-4.
- In game one, pitching struggled for the majority of the contest. While the pitchers only gave up nine runs, it was on 17 hits and five walks. Travis Luensmann looked abysmal, as he gave up six runs on nine hits over his four-inning pitched.
- The offense went quiet for about five innings in game one and was unable to get a comeback going. Tayven Kelley had a solid game one, picking up two hits, the only Nittany Lion to do so in the game, with one of them being a triple.
- Despite a poor performance from Daniel Ouderkirk in the fifth inning of game two, the pitching staff looked remarkably better. 8.2 innings of combined one-run baseball from Jordan Morales, Anthony Steele, and Steve Miller lifted Penn State to a win in game two.
- Despite only four hits in the second game, two came on big swings from Grant Norris and Kyle Hannon who hit their fifth and seventh home runs on the season respectively.
The Nittany Lions will wrap up the three-game series against the Hawkeyes at noon on Sunday, April 30. The game can be seen in person at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park or streamed on Big Ten Plus.
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Penn State holds a 15-5 all-time record against Northwestern and has won eight of its last 10 matchups.
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