State College — Big Ten play has not been kind to the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Lions battled rainstorms and delays to complete its three-game series against Indiana last weekend. Penn State baseball defeated the Hoosiers on Friday but could not carry this success through the series. On Sunday, the Lions lost both games of a doubleheader by a combined score of 26-12. And now, the Lions limp into a short non-conference stint with more questions than answers.
Indiana puts Lions in an early hole
Indiana got on the board first with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. The Hoosiers continued to add to their lead in the second inning with a fielder’s choice to score a runner. Indiana scored two more runs in the second to make the score 4-0.
Penn State baseball scored its only run in the fourth via a Grant Norris double to right field that scored Johnny Piacentino. Indiana would go on to win the game by a final score of 4-1. The bright spot for Penn State in this game was Steven Miller. After coming into the game in relief of Dan Ouderkirk, Miller pitched seven scoreless innings for the Nittany Lions.
Like the first game, Indiana struck first in game two. An RBI single in the second inning gave the Hoosiers an early 1-0 lead. They then added three more runs in the third inning to make the score 4-0.
In the home frame of the third, back-to-back home runs from Kyle Hannon and Thomas Bramley brought Penn State baseball within one run of the lead. The Lions then tied the game off a double from Bobby Marsh. Two more runners would cross home for Penn State in the inning, and just like that, the Lions had a 6-4 lead.
But the lead didn’t last long. The Hoosiers answered in the fourth with an RBI double and RBI groundout to tie the game. The Hoosiers reclaimed the lead with a three-run homer in the fifth, followed by two additional runs in the inning to take an 11-6 advantage. Indiana continued to pile on in the sixth and sevenths innings, expanding the lead to eight runs.
The Lions finally responded in the bottom of the seventh when Josh Spiegel hit a two-run double. Tayven Kelley and Bramley also had RBIs in the inning, and an Indiana wild pitch cut the score to 14-11.
But that would be all the scoring for Penn State baseball on the day. Meanwhile, Indiana scored eight unanswered runs in the top of the ninth inning. A solo home run started things off for the Hoosiers, who followed it with a trio of RBI singles. Another single brought in two runners along with a fielding error, bringing the final score to 22-11.
Penn State baseball looks for answers
After another disappointing weekend, the Nittany Lions have now lost five of its last seven games and are 14-10 overall. Penn State baseball has struggled to find momentum in Big Ten play, with a 1-5 record in conference. Three of Penn State’s losses in the Big Ten have been by nine runs or more. The Lions will look to reverse this funk with five non-conference games in the next week and a half before returning to Big Ten action against Purdue on April 14.
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