In a series that was also the source of significant news for the program, Penn State baseball returned home for a season-ending three-game series against the nationally-ranked Maryland Terrapins. The weekend saw a few close efforts and an impressive upset win, but the Nittany Lions ultimately ended the season with another series defeat.
Offensive explosion in game one
On Thursday, game one saw pure offense from both teams. The Terrapins scored three runs in the second inning, but then the Lions responded with seven runs in their half of the inning. Such was the story of the game, with both squads exchanging runs back and forth.
Maryland scored three runs in the fourth to cut the Penn State lead down to a single run. But Penn State again answered right back by scoring six runs across the fifth and sixth innings. This scoring outburst featured a triple from Grant Norris that scored Johnny Piacentino and Thomas Bramley. After six innings, the score was 13-6 Nittany Lions.
In the seventh, Maryland scored six runs to cut the Penn State lead to a single run. However, after adding two additional runs as a cushion, the Nittany Lions surrendered five runs in the ninth inning to lose 17-15.
Penn State baseball pulls upset in game two
Mere hours after news broke of head coach Rob Copper’s resignation on Friday, Penn State put together an inspired performance that culminated in the upset of the 20th-ranked Terrapins.
The Nittany Lions took a quick 2-0 lead in the second inning after an RBI double from Thomas Bramley that plated CJ Pittaro and Jay Harry. Maryland finally responded in the fifth, taking a 3-2 lead. But that lead didn’t last long, as Penn State quickly reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the inning following a two-run single from Jay Harry.
CJ Pittaro added an insurance run in the eighth inning, and the Lions won by a score of 5-3. The win marked Penn State’s second victory against a ranked opponent this year, with the first coming against Miami to open the season.
Lions’ season ends in disappointment
Despite a valiant effort, Penn State’s season finale ended in disappointment.
The Lions took a 1-0 lead after an RBI triple from CJ Pittaro in the second. However, Maryland answered in the third and fourth innings to take a 2-1 advantage.
After a three-run fourth inning, Penn State retook the lead 4-2. However, the Lions were unable to score any more runs on the day. A home run and a pair of singles gave Maryland a 7-4 victory and, ultimately, the series win. Due to Saturday’s win, the Terrapins also won the Big Ten regular season title.
Looking forward to 2024
With this series, the Nittany Lions’ 2023 campaign came to a disappointing end. In what was head coach Rob Cooper’s last season, Penn State baseball finished at .500, the second time in two seasons it did so. The Lions were not stellar in conference play, finishing at 7-16 and missing the conference tournament as a result.
With a few changes coming to the program by next season, it will be interesting to see how the Nittany Lions regroup and move ahead in the spring of 2024.
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