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Penn State Baseball Loses Two Of Three Versus Michigan State

Penn State baseball (19-17, 6-9 Big Ten) lost two of three games during its away series against Michigan State (17-20, 5-7 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions salvaged the final game of the series thanks to a big offensive day from Bobby Marsh and Adam Cecere.

Marsh smoked two home runs and brought in five RBIs during the series while Cecere hit a home run and added four hits. Grant Norris also had a big weekend drilling three home runs.

Game One

Penn State went down in order in the top of the first to begin the game. Travis Luensmann got the start for the opener of the three-game series out in East Lansing. The right-hander allowed a walk in his first inning of work but was able to battle through it.

However, the same couldn’t be said for the bottom of the second. After three strikeouts in the top half of the inning for the Nittany Lions, Greg Ziegler led off the bottom of the inning with a single back up the middle.

A sacrifice bunt advanced him to second, a walk put two runners on, and a double steal put the two runners in scoring position. Sam Thompson grounded out to second bringing in a run to make it 1-0 Spartans.

That lead didn’t last long as Penn State tied the game in the top of the third. Tayven Kelley walked and Joe Jaconski singled to put two runners on for JT Marr with two outs. Marr ripped an RBI single to left field, bringing Kelley to tie the game at one. Penn State added another run in the fourth, this time with the long ball. Grant Norris smoked a solo home run that gave the Nittany Lions their first lead of the game.

However, the Spartans didn’t go down that easily. In the bottom of the fifth, Randy Seymour was hit by a pitch, and Jack Frank singled to put two runners on. Dillon Kark was up next and he drilled a double down the left field line scoring both runners, to make it 3-2 Michigan State. The runs didn’t stop there, as Ryan McKay scored Kark with a single to right, extending the lead to two.

Michigan State kept the runs coming as in the sixth, adding two more runs. Thompson led off the sixth with a single and a triple by Frank scored him. Kark was up next and he smoked a long flyout to left that allowed Frank to score from third to make it 6-2 Spartans.

Down four runs, Penn State didn’t throw in the towel yet. In the eighth, the Nittany Lions got a rally going that started with Bobby Marsh reaching on an error. Marr then followed that up with a double to left-center to make it 6-3.

Back-to-back popouts gave the Nittany Lions two quick outs, but their luck quickly changed. Bryce Molinaro and Matt Maloney both smoked and both scored a run to make it a one-run. Kelley kept the line moving with an infield single to put runners on the corners with two outs. Kelley stole second to put two runners in scoring position, but pinch hitter Michael DiMartini struck out to end the inning.

Michigan State threatened but failed to add any insurance runs in the eighth. In the top of the ninth, Penn State went down 1-2-3 and failed to complete the comeback, losing 6-5.

Game Two

Different from the previous game, Penn State started this game on the right note getting an early run. A walk to Jaconski and a hit by a pitch to Marsh put two runners on to start the game. Cecere then singled through the right side, scoring Jaconski to make it 1-0 Penn State.

Jaden Henline got the start for the Nittany Lions in game two. After two innings of no runs, the third inning wasn’t as pleasant for Henline. A walk from Thompson and a single from Kark put runners on the corners for Michigan State. Nick Williams then reached on an error by Molinaro to tie the game.

The Spartans then got back-to-back singles by McKay and Ziegler who scored two more runs to make it 3-1. Both teams went scoreless in the fourth and the fifth innings, but the sixth was when the offense woke up. Norris smoked an opposite-field solo home run for his second home run of the weekend to cut the deficit to one.

However, the bottom of the sixth is when the game went out of hand for the Nittany Lions. Back-to-back doubles by the Spartans led off the bottom of the sixth, and a single by Thompson put runners on the corners. Another single, the fourth hit in a row, by Seymour scored another run to make it 5-2.

After a pitching change by Penn State, a sacrifice fly scored a sixth run and two more singles by Michigan State brought in another run. After a fielder’s choice got out, Ziegler smoked a single to right to make it 8-2 Spartans.

Michigan State picked up where they left off in the sixth with three more runs in the seventh. Back-to-back singles by Thompson and Seymour put two runners on for Frank who ripped a double down the right field line scoring both runners. Frank scored two batters later thanks to a double by Williams to make it 11-2 Spartans.

Penn State got two runs back in the eighth thanks to a two-run home run by Norris, his second of the game, but couldn’t add any more runs. In the ninth with two outs, Jaconski hit an RBI single to center. However, the next batter Marsh flew out to left to end the game, losing 11-5.

Game Three

The finale of the series started great for the Nittany Lions. After no runs in the first two innings from both teams, Penn State scored four in the top of the third.

Jaconski walked and Marsh brought him home one pitch later thanks to a two-run bomb. That was followed up by a single by Marr and then another two-run homer this time by Cecere, to make it 4-0 Penn State.

The runs didn’t stop there for Penn State, as in the next inning after a Kelley walk, Marsh smoked his second two-run dinger of the afternoon to make it 6-0.

Back-to-back doubles by Marr and Cecere brought in another run as the lead extended to seven. However, the Spartans answered back.

Multiple walks led to Michigan State getting its first run on the board. With the bases loaded, Thompson reached on an error to score two more runs, and then back-to-back singles by Frank and Kark made it 7-5 Penn State.

The Spartans added two more runs to tie the game in the sixth. Three walks loaded the bases and then a passed ball by Anthony Steele scored one run, and a sacrifice fly by McKay tied the game at seven.

Both teams went scoreless in the seventh, but Marsh gave the Nittany Lions the lead once again. Kyle Hannon led off the eighth with a single and stole third before Marsh drove him in with a single through the right side to take a 9-8 lead.

Michigan State didn’t go down without a fight. Frank smoked a double to right center and Williams brought him home with a single to right center to tie the game at nine.

In the top of the ninth, with the game tied, Cecere worked a walk, and Norris singled up the middle to put two runners on. Molinaro was up next and he smoked a three-run home run to right field to make it 11-8 Penn State.

Up three, the Nittany Lions gave up another run after giving up a couple of singles and a passed ball to make it 11-9. With two outs and nobody on, Mason Horwat got Thompson to pop out to end the game, with Penn State winning 11-9.

Takeaways

  • The offense was the failure for the first two games of the series. In the opener of the series, Penn State was unable to get consistent runs going and failed to finish off the comeback. Game two was just a bad performance overall as little run support was given throughout the game.
  • Poor pitching continued into this weekend’s series as each game saw poor execution from the Nittany Lions. Henline struggled once again in his start in game two, allowing seven runs on nine hits and only striking out four. He started the eight unanswered runs that Michigan State scored allowing them to win game two of the series 11-5.
  • Despite the struggles, Norris had an impressive weekend launching three home runs during the series and bringing in four RBIs. Marsh also looked good blasting two homers of his own and knocking in five RBIs.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will return home for a midweek matchup against No. 22 West Virginia. First pitch at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park against the Mountaineers is set for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. The game is also streaming 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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