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Penn State downs Indiana for first B1G win

The Nittany Lions earned their first conference win of the season on Saturday.



Penn State baseball,
April 1, 2023. Penn State's Josh Spiegel bats during the Nittany Lions' 7-2 victory over Indiana. Credit: Basic Blues Nation, 2023.

State College — After shaking off a disastrous series at Michigan with a rout of Pitt earlier this week, the Penn State Nittany Lions returned to the diamond Saturday to open its Big Ten conference home schedule. The hot bats from Tuesday carried over for the Lions as they beat Indiana baseball 7-2. Penn State baseball now improves to 14-8 on the year.

Lions shut down Indiana baseball

Indiana got on the board in the first inning after a triple from Devin Taylor and RBI single from Brock Tibbitts led to a 1-0 advantage. The Hoosiers threatened again in the second with a two-out single from Bobby Whalen and a walk from Peter Serruto. But Penn State pitcher Jaden Henline responded with a groundout to help the Nittany Lions escape the inning without causing more damage. Penn State got on the board in the bottom of the second when right fielder Billy Gerlott roped a home run to right field. Gerlott’s second home run of the year tied the game 1-1.

In the third inning, Indiana baseball reclaimed the lead with a one-out RBI double from Brock Tibbitts. The Lions battled back, however. Tayven Kelley hit a game-tying homer run to start the scoring for Penn State baseball in the bottom of the third inning. 

A Kyle Hannon double and Bramley single added runners on the corners for Penn State baseball with no outs. Jay Harry capitalized with an RBI single to the right side, scoring Hannon and giving the Lions their first lead. Johnny Piacentio grounded into a double play but brought home another run to increase the Penn State lead. 

Indiana got two runners on base in the fifth, but Henline continued escape jams. With a final line of six hits, two earned runs, three walks, and two strikeouts, Henline was replaced by Travis Luensmann in the sixth inning for the Lions. While he hit two batters, strikeouts followed, and the Lions escaped the inning.

Penn State baseball showed promise after Billy Gerlott singled in the bottom of the sixth, but the Lions could not capitalize. While Luensmann worked into another situation in the seventh inning with runners on first and second, he responded with a few strikeouts via absolute heaters to get out of the inning.

Penn State baseball breaks it open

The Nittany Lions broke open the game in the seventh inning. Johnny Piacentino hit an RBI single up the middle to the Penn State lead to 5-2. Penn State baseball added two more to cap off a three-run inning and expand the lead to 7-2.

Luensmann continued to deal, accruing eight strikeouts and keeping the Indiana bats silent going into the bottom of the eighth inning. Despite putting runners on base in the ninth, Luensmann escaped yet again, and Penn State baseball earned the 7-2 victory. Gerlott, who had three hits including a home run, earned player of the game honors. 

Luensmann: Insurance runs help

The offense certainly drove the team to success, but it also pushed Travis Luensmann, who came into the game in relief and pitched four great innings to close out the game. When asked about his team having insurance runs late in the game, Luensmann said it loosens things up for him “mentality and stress-wise.” He continued that this lack of stress allows him to go out and “just kind of do your stuff freely.” 

Double trouble

The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was canceled due to inclement weather. The weekend’s doubleheader will now take place on Sunday. Enjoy this video of players moving the tarp!

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Currently a Penn State student majoring in Data Sciences, Surya is a passionate New York sports fan. He covers Penn State baseball, softball, and more.


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