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Penn State Baseball Falls 9-6 To Michigan

Penn State baseball (12-8, 1-1 Big Ten) was defeated by Michigan (8-15, 1-1 Big Ten) 9-6, dropping the second game of its three-game series. It was a sloppy game for the Nittany Lions who totaled four errors in the loss.

While their pitching staff wasn’t perfect, the poor defense resulted in a bad loss for the Nittany Lions. Jaden Henline got the start and went four innings, giving up five runs. On offense, Joe Jaconski smacked two hits, while Matt Maloney added two RBIs in the loss.

How It Happened

Jaden Henline was on the mound hoping for a bounce-back start after last weekend’s nine-run first-inning fiasco. Unlike last week’s start, Henline made it out of the first inning unscathed, recording two lineups and a strikeout to Mitch Voit.

In the bottom of the first inning, Penn State got on the board early. Joe Jaconski led off the inning with a double to right-center and advanced to third on a groundout to the right side from Adam Cecere. With one out, J.T. Marr smoked a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Jaconski to make it 1-0 for the Nittany Lions, but Bobby Marsh grounded out to end the inning.

Michigan answered quickly, putting up a three spot in its half of the second. Collin Priest led off the second with a moonshot solo home run to right field to tie the game at one. Will Rogers was up next, and he blooped a single to run and was followed up by a single down the right-field line by Dylan Stanton. On that hit, Cecere bobbled the ball which allowed Rogers to score from first and Stanton to go to third.

Henline then hit the next batter to put runners on the corners with one out. Cole Caruso was up next, and he lined a ball to right for an out, but it allowed Stanton to score from third to make it 3-1 in favor of Michigan. Another hit by a pitch from Henline put two runners on, but a big strikeout against Mack Timbrook and a soft grounder back to Henline ended the inning for the Wolverines.

Penn State got a run back in its half of the second inning. Bryce Molinaro smoked a single through the right side and advanced to third after a stolen base and a bad throw from the catcher. He scored after another sacrifice fly from Grant Norris to cut the deficit to one. One batter later, Billy Gerlott ended the inning with a strikeout.

The top of the third inning started similarly to the second for the Wolverines. It began with a solo home run to right to lead off the inning from Stephen Hrustich. The baserunners kept coming for Michigan as Priest smacked a single to center and Rogers reached on an error. Back-to-back groundouts to second base allowed another run to score to make it 5-2 for Michigan.

However, in the bottom of the third inning, Penn State retook the lead. Kyle Hannon led the inning off with a quick strikeout, but back-to-back walks to Jaconski and Cecere put two runners on. Marr flew out to advance Jacoski to third and put runners on the corners for Marsh. Marsh smoked a single to left to score a run and make it 5-3. Next up was Matt Maloney, and he smoked a ball to center that was nearly caught by the center fielder but allowed two runs to score to tie the game at five.

After the double by Maloney, Molinaro smoked a single to center to make it 6-5 in favor of Penn State. Norris grounded out on the next pitch to end the inning, but the Nittany Lions had the lead.

The Wolverines threatened in their half of the fourth inning as Voit hit a two-out single to center and advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a bad throw into center field by Henline. Henline battled back and got a groundout to end the inning.

Penn State went down in order in the fourth inning, and despite a double from Stanton, Michigan failed to tie the game in the fifth inning. A strikeout from Cecere led off the bottom of the fifth, and excellent pitching from Michigan starter Kurt Barr put the Nittany Lions down in order for the second straight inning.

In the sixth inning, both teams went down 1-2-3 to keep it a 6-5 game. Voit led off the seventh with a double down the left-field line and a single by Hrustich scored a run to tie the game at six. Priest was up next, and he was hit by a pitch, and next up was Rogers with two runners on.

Rogers smoked a double to right field to take the lead. While getting the ball in, Hannon threw the ball to third base, and it went past Molinaro and into the stands, allowing two more runs to score to make it 9-6 for Michigan.

Stanton flew out for the first out of the inning, and Kyle Dernedde blooped a single to right for another baserunner for the Wolverines. Penn State got a groundout and a flyout to center to keep the damage at four for the inning.

Down three runs, Penn State threatened to score in its half of the seventh inning. With two outs, Jaconski and Cecere hit back-to-back singles to put two runners on for Marr. After getting ahead in the count, Marr grounded out to second to end the inning.

Timbrook led off the eighth inning with a bunt single, but Michigan was unable to score him. In the Nittany Lions’ half of the eighth, Maloney and Molinaro both walked to put two runners on with one out. Norris stepped up to the plate and grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Wolverines got two base runners on with walks in the top of the ninth inning but were unable to score any instant runs. In the bottom of the ninth, the Nittany Lions went down in order, falling to the Wolverines 9-6.

Takeaways

  • Errors were the killer for Penn State in its loss to Michigan. The Nittany Lions committed four errors in the loss with three runs scored.
  • While he gave up five runs, Jaden Henline looked a lot better than his previous start. The right-hander let up five runs, three earned and six hits, with two of the hits being long home runs. While that isn’t great, he did strike out two, had no walks, and had much better command in this outing which is something he’ll hope to build on.
  • Joe Jaconski looked impressive in the loss, smacking two hits and scoring two runs. The leadoff hitter has struggled to get on base consistently in the recent stretch of home games but looked impressive in the second game of the series.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will aim for a single victory over the Wolverines at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 24. The game can be streamed on BTN+.

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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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