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Penn State Baseball Falls 6-3 To No. 13 Virginia

Penn State baseball (7-4) fell 6-3 to No. 13 Virginia (11-1) on Tuesday afternoon at Disharoon Park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Nittany Lions went down 5-0 but made it a competitive game with a three-run fifth inning. The Cavaliers made it 6-3 in the eighth inning and outlasted a late comeback attempt in the ninth inning to hand Penn State its fourth loss of the season.

How It Happened

After starting pitcher Owen Coady and Virginia retired Penn State’s first three hitters, Virginia native Mason Butash took the mound for the Nittany Lions. He allowed an RBI single, but the Nittany Lions got out of the inning before further damage was done.

J.T. Marr singled to left field to extend his hit streak to 11 games to start the second inning. It was short-lived, as a fielder’s choice and a double play ended the top of the inning. Harrison Didawick then led it off with a home run to right field for the Cavaliers to extend the lead to 2-0. However, two plays to shortstop Grant Norris and a strikeout promptly ended the inning.

The third inning was scoreless, and the Nittany Lions were kept off the board in the top of the fourth inning. With Matt Morash in the game for Anthony Steele, the Cavaliers struck again in the bottom of the inning. After Didawick was hit by a pitch, Henry Godbout drove him home with a triple. Then, Godbout scored after Luke Hanson hit a double. Griff O’Ferrall’s RBI single which sent Hanson home was the final run of the inning, but Virginia had seized a 5-0 lead.

However, Penn State immediately gave a much-needed answer to the Cavaliers’ big inning. With Grant Norris, Matt Maloney, and Billy Gerlott loading the bases, Joe Jaconski’s sacrifice fly and Kyle Hannon’s single each drove in a runner to make it 5-2. Coady was pulled in favor of Chase Hungate, but the Nittany Lions weren’t done just yet. Bryce Molinaro’s single scored Gerlott to make it 5-3 before Hungate struck out Marr to end the top of the fifth inning.

Both teams exchanged hits in the sixth inning, though neither scored. The seventh inning was once again scoreless, and David Lee struggled in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Lee plunked Ethan Anderson, who advanced to second base on a wild pitch. He got a strikeout before intentionally walking Didawick, but he was thrown out at second base a play later to end the inning.

Connor Throneberry entered for Lee in the bottom of the eighth inning. After Hanson got out, Bobby Whalen hit a double, which was followed by O’Ferrall’s RBI single. Just like that, Throneberry was done. He was replaced by Will Perkowski, who hung on to end the inning.

Maloney grounded out to start the ninth inning, but Gerlott got on base with a single. Jaconski hit a line drive to deep center field, but it landed in Whalen’s glove at the wall to get Penn State down to its final out. Hannon flied out to Didawick in left field, which ended the game to hand the Nittany Lions a 6-3 loss in Charlottesville.

Takeaways

  • A loss is a loss, but this is yet another showing that is cause for optimism about this team under Mike Gambino. The team doesn’t go down easily, and that’s especially telling against the No. 13 team in America.
  • J.T. Marr’s hit streak is now at 11 games. It’s worth keeping an eye on, especially considering it would make sense if Gambino moves him to the leadoff spot.
  • Anthony Steele’s scoreless third inning was sandwiched between Didawick’s homer in the second and Virginia’s three runs in the fourth. He didn’t pitch the fourth inning, so it’s worth wondering why he wasn’t kept in the game and what might’ve happened if he were.

What’s Next?

Penn State will continue its road stretch with a three-game series against Harvard. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. on Friday, March 8, in Cary, North Carolina.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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