Penn State Baseball Dismantled 18-7 By West Virginia

Penn State baseball (21-21, 7-11 Big 10) fell to West Virginia (29-18, 15-9 Big 12) as the team traveled to Morgantown for a midweek matchup with the Mountaineers.

Mason Butash recorded just one out in the first inning after the right-hander surrendered two home runs, one of being was a grand slamm, as the Mountaineers scored eight runs in the opening inning of the night. Aside from putting together a seven-run third inning, the huge deficit early kept the Penn State bats from getting going.

How It Happened

Joe Jaconski led off the game with a walk after the first baseman worked the count full, advancing to second after JT Marr grounded out to first base and the throw to second base to double up Jaconski sailed into left field. Adam Cecere worked a walk to give the Nittany Lions runners on first and second with one out, but West Virginia starter Chase Meyer rebounded to strike out the next two batters and end the Penn State threat.

The Mountaineers jumped on Butash early, with Logan Sauve launching the first pitch he saw over the center field fence for a home run that gave West Virginia the first run of the ballgame. Followed up by a single and a pair of walks, the Mountaineers were set up with bases loaded and no outs.

With Butash already on the ropes, Sam White roped a 1-0 fastball down the left field line for a two-run single that extended the West Virginia lead to 3-0. After issuing a walk to Grant Hussey, Butash left a fastball down the middle of the plate that was quickly deposited over the center field fence by Brodie Kresser for a grand slam. The homer gave West Virginia a 7-0 lead before Butash recorded an out.

Head coach Mike Gambino had finally seen enough from his starter as he called upon Ben DeMell to get the final two outs of the inning after Butash had recorded his first out. DeMell was greeted similarly to Butash as he surrendered a solo home run to the nine-hitter Skylar King, extending the West Virginia lead to eight. JJ Wetherholt roped a double into the left field gap with two outs but advanced no further, as DeMell recorded the final out of the inning.

Bryce Molinaro ripped a single to lead off the second inning as Penn State tried to get back into the game and stole second later in the inning to put himself in scoring position with two outs. After Kevin Michaels worked a walk to give Penn State two runners on, Meyer forced Jaconski to fly out to left field and once again escape trouble.

West Virginia picked up right where it left off in the second inning as Reed Chumley sent a fastball off of the scoreboard in left field for a solo home run, which was followed up by a White home run to right field, extending the Mountaineers lead to 10 in just the second inning. After DeMell surrendered a single and double with one out in the inning, Gambino once again went to his bullpen and called upon Will Perkowski to record some outs.

Bucking the trend of immediately giving up a home run after entering the game, Perkowski forced King to fly out to center, but a runner scored from third and once again extended the West Virginia lead. Seeing his third pitcher of the game, Sauve lined an RBI single into center and gave the Mountaineers a 12-0 lead. Perkowski escaped after this as the right-hander got Wetherholt to ground out to second.

Marr worked a walk and was moved to third by a single from Grant Norris to lead off the third inning for the Nittany Lions. Penn State finally broke through thanks to a Bobby Marsh single that scored Marr, and a Molinaro walk loaded the bases with one out in the inning.

After retiring Maloney with a nice breaking ball for the second out of the inning, Meyer allowed a two-run single to Tayven Kelley that cut the West Virginia lead to 12-3. This single chased the Mountaineers’ starter from the game with Bryce Amos tasked with keeping the Nittany Lions at bay.

Amos’ first pitch found the backstop, allowing Molinaro to score and Kelley to advance to second. After Michaels worked a walk, Jaconski ripped a double into the right field gap that scored two and further chipped away the West Virginia lead, this time to 12-6. Continuing the offensive onslaught for the Nittany Lions, Marr lined an RBI single to center and widdled the Mountaineers lead to five.

With Amos unable to record an out, Randy Mazey called on Maxx Yehl to work West Virginia out of trouble and the left-hander did just that, forcing Adam Cecere to roll over for the final out. Perkowski continued to find success for Penn State, recording two outs before Gambino called on David Lee to finish the inning. Lee appeared to work out of the inning as he forced Hussey to hit a mile-high popup to center, but miscommunication between Norris and Kelley allowed the ball to fall in for a hit and score Chumley from second. Things went from bad to worse for Lee as Kresser lined an RBI single to left field to extend the West Virginia lead back to seven.

Ben Lumsden scorched a ball into center that scored Kresser and ballooned the Mountaineers’ lead to eight. After allowing three straight hits, Lee managed to escape the inning as King grounded out to first.

As Penn State looked to get some runs back in the top of the fourth inning, Mollinaro and Maloney ripped two-out singles to set up Kelley with two runners on. Yehl settled down, however, and forced Kelley to ground out to first and escape the inning without allowing a run.

Wetherholt continued the fireworks for West Virginia, as the star infielder launched a solo home run to right field that traveled 439 feet and was hit 109 miles per hour. As Lee struggled, Matt Morash came on in relief and stuck out Chumley to end the inning as Penn State continued to trail 16-7.

Tommy Beam took the mound to begin the fifth inning for the Mountaineers and worked a scoreless inning. West Virginia tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to a two-run triple off the bat of Ellis Garcia. Norris led off the sixth inning with a single but was doubled off as Beam recorded another zero on the mound.

The impossible happened for Penn State as pitcher James Lordi entered the game and held the Mountaineers scoreless for the first time all night. With Penn State three outs away from losing due to the seventh-inning 10-run rule, the Nittany Lions went down with little resistance to end the game.


  • The Penn State pitching staff has been less than spectacular throughout its season and showed as such against an outstanding West Virginia team. Butash recorded just one out before being pulled and Perkowski was the only pitcher who found consistent success for the Nittany Lions. To make matters worse, Penn State surrendered six home runs in the first four innings, one of which was a grand slam.
  • Anytime a team goes down 12-0 in the second inning, it’s nearly impossible to come back and win that game. Penn State showed some fight in the third inning by scoring seven runs to get the deficit under 10, but it was going take a lot more than that to win with West Virginia swinging the bats as well as they were.
  • West Virginia is one of the premier programs in college baseball, and a Penn State win would have been a massive upset. With a star-studded roster highlighted by a future first-round pick in Wetherholt, the Mountaineers look primed for a deep postseason run.

What’s Next?

Penn State baseball will return to Happy Valley for its final home series of the year against Rutgers, with game one taking place at 5:30 on Friday, May 10. The game can be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Dennis Wilkins

Dennis is a third-year journalism major from Brick, New Jersey. He has a love-hate relationship with every team he roots for, especially the New York Giants. When he's not watching Jack Hughes highlights, he can be found playing golf or listening to music. Direct all complaints to him via email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@denniswilkins27).

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