Penn State Baseball Swept By Nebraska
Penn State baseball (24-22, 6-14 Big Ten) was swept by Nebraska (29-20-1, 13-8 Big Ten) in its three-game series in Lincoln, Nebraska. With the three losses to the Cornhuskers, the Nittany Lions have officially been eliminated from qualifying for the Big Ten Tournament.
The Nittany Lions extended their losing streak to seven games, which continues to be their longest on the season. While Penn State did hit six home runs over the weekend, its pitching struggles and inability to hit with runners on base were the reasons the Nittany Lions continued to struggle.
The first game of the series was a game that Penn State wishes it could forget. After a scoreless first couple of innings from both teams, Nebraska struck first with a long ball in the third inning. Brice Matthews stepped up with a runner on first base and smoked a home run to left field to give the Cornhuskers an early 2-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, Bobby Marsh answered back with a bomb of his own and hit a solo shot to right field for his sixth home run of the year. Two batters later, Grant Norris joined the party and tied the game at two with another solo bomb.
The Cornhuskers answered back in a big way, however, by dropping seven runs in their half of the fifth inning. An error and single for Nebraska put two runners on base by way of a sac bunt by Casey Burnham. The next batter for Nebraska singled in another run and back-to-back walks loaded the bases.
A hit by pitch scored another run and a sacrifice fly made it 6-2 in favor of Nebraska. Dylan Carey broke the inning open with a triple to right to score two more runs and was brought home on a double by Efry Cervantes to make it 9-2.
In the seventh inning, Penn State got two runs back due to the long ball. After Marsh walked, Tayven Kelley stepped up and smoked a two-run home run to right cutting the lead to five.
Nebraska answered back once again in the seventh inning, this time with six runs. Two walks and a bunt single loaded the bases to start the inning for Nebraska and scored two runs off an error and a sacrifice fly. Max Anderson plated two more runs home with a double down the left-field line, and he scored on another error by Penn State. Nebraska scored another run on a single to make 15-4.
Fifteen runs, however, wasn’t enough for the Cornhuskers as they added four more runs in the eighth inning. Anderson smacked a single to score his fourth RBI of the game. The next batter, Gabe Swansen, smoked a three-run home run to left-center field to make it 19-4.
Penn State scored a pity run in the ninth inning off of a fielder choice by Kelley, however, the next batter flew out to end the game and Penn State fell 19-5.
Jaden Henline got the call on the mound for the Nittany Lions during game two. Nebraska grabbed two early runs in the second inning. A leadoff error put a runner on base, and Cole Evans brought in that runner with a single to left-center and advanced to second with a throwing error. Carey stepped up and smacked a single of his own to center, driving in a run to make it 2-0 Cornhuskers.
Evans tacked on another run for Nebraska in the fourth inning, after a leadoff single and a hit by pitch put two runners on. A sac fly by Evans increased the lead to three. Two innings later, Nebraska increased its lead once again.
A leadoff double by Josh Caron put an early runner on, and Evans scored his third RBI of the day with a single to left field. Two batters later, Evans scored on a single to center field to make it 5-0 for Nebraska.
Penn State finally answered in the seventh inning, once again with the long ball. Norris crushed a ball to center field for his seventh home run of the year to put the Nittany Lions on the board.
Two batters later, Josh Spiegel smoked the second solo homer of the inning for Penn State, making the game 5-2. While Penn State cut the lead to three in the seventh inning, it was unable to put any more runs up on the board in the eighth or the ninth innings.
Nebraska waled away with the series victory and a 5-2 win in game two.
For the first time all weekend, Penn State opened its outing with the lead. In the top of the first inning, the Nittany Lions had two runners on base after a Marsh single and Norris double out two runners in scoring position. Spiegel scored a run after an error by Nebraska to give Penn State a 1-0 lead.
Nebraska answered back in its half of the first inning. A leadoff walk and double by Max Anderson tied the game after only three batters. With Anderson on second base, Swansen smoked a ball to center field but was robbed of a hit thanks to a diving grab by Johnny Piacentino. However, Anderson scored to make it 2-1 Nebraska.
Caron stepped up next and smoked a solo home run to extend the lead to two for the Cornhuskers after one inning. In the second inning, after two singles and a walk loaded the bases, a hit by a pitch to Nebraska forced in another run to make it 4-1.
Two innings later, Penn State answered back with another home run, once again off the bat of Spiegel. He smoked an opposite-field two-run home run to cut the lead to one.
The Cornhuskers answered back in their half of the fifth inning with a two-run home run of their own. Anderson singled to center field and Swansen stepped up and smoked a ball to right field to make it 6-3 Nebraska.
Penn State wasn’t done yet, as it rallied back for two more runs in the seventh inning. A single by Kyle Hannon and Thomas Bramley put two runners on. Hannon attempted to steal third and ended up scoring after an overthrow by Nebraska’s catcher. Marsh hit a ball to the left side, bringing Bramley home and making it a one-run game yet again.
Nebraska wanted some insurance runs and got them in the bottom of the eighth inning. Evans lead the inning with a double and a couple of walks loaded the bases for Swansen who already had three RBIs in the game. He smacked a double to left field and scored two runs to make it 8-5.
The Nittany Lions went down in order in the ninth inning, lost 8-5, and ended any chance of making a run at the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
- Pitching continued to cause issues all weekend in Lincoln. Nebraska set the tone during Friday night’s game by plating 19 runs, and despite Penn State being in both Saturday and Sunday’s matchups, the pitching put it in the deficit all weekend. The Nittany Lions only held a lead for a half of one inning during the entire series.
- The long ball was the main source of runs this weekend for Penn State’s offense and, while home runs are good, hitting them with nobody on base isn’t good. Scoring runs with runners on base is needed and the offense was unable to do that for the majority of the weekend.
Penn State will travel to PNC Park in Pittsburgh at 6p.m. on Tuesday, May 16, to take on Pitt in a non-conference matchup. The game can be streamed on the ACC Network.
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