BASE: Penn State Cruises Past Lafayette with 9-2 Win
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After dropping nine of their last ten games, the Nittany Lions finally got back on track with a 2-1 win over Northwestern on Sunday afternoon. Penn State would collect their second consecutive win on Wednesday night with an 9-2 victory over the struggling Lafayette Leopards, despite being without manager Rob Cooper, who was serving his one-game suspension after being ejected on Sunday.
Schuyler Bates made his fifth start of the season for the Nittany Lions. He came into Wednesday night’s matchup 1-3 on the season with a 4.15 ERA. There were also several changes made in the lineup with Willie Burger getting the start behind the plate and Brett Davis playing first base. Alex Malinsky was also in the lineup as the DH. With Jordan Bowersox likely out for the season, the Lions have been looking for the rest of the lineup to pick up the production. On Wednesday night, eight Penn State players recorded at least one hit, as the Lions would tally 12 total for the game.
“[Jordan] is one of the biggest guys in our lineup. To replace a guy like that, you don’t necessarily need it from one guy; you need it from a few guys, so it’s good to see guys step up,” Nick Riotto, who was 2-3 with 3 RBIs on the night, said.
Brian Lianno was on the hill for the Leopards and came into the game with 12.41 ERA on the season. Opposing batters were also hitting .340 against him. The Lions would tee off on him early with four quick runs in the top half of the first. Mason Nadeau and Christian Helsel, the one and two hitters in the lineup, would score the opening runs of the game. Brett Davis would then add on with a routine pop up to pitcher’s mound that was dropped by Lannino to score the next two runs.
“Both of us have the qualities of a leadoff hitter or a two hitter, but I kind of like hitting in the leadoff spot. It’s just somewhere I have been a lot in my career, and I like having [Christian] behind me because I know he is a good contact hitter,” Nadeau said about he and Helsel at the top of the order.
Lafayette would answer in the next half inning with two runs of their own. Luke Robinson led off with an infield single followed by an Alex Woinski single to left field. A subsequent error on throwdown to second by Willie Burger would advance them to second and third to set up a 2 RBI single from Trey Durrah.
Lannino’s pitch count would reach 52 through only two innings. He would also walk three batters through that span. A two-out RBI single by Logan Goodnight would end his evening after just 2.2 innings of work. Lannino would finish with 4 hits, 5 runs (2 ER), and 3 walks allowed.
Meanwhile, after five quality innings from Bates, in which he allowed five hits and just one earned run, Dakota Forsyth entered in his relief in the top of the sixth, where he would proceed to retire the side in 11 pitches. Forsythe, who was an absolute disaster in his most recent outing against Northwestern on Friday night, would do an excellent job in two innings of relief.
“[Bates] came into Penn State with Tommy John surgery. His first two years were an uphill battle. It definitely took longer than what he thought. But last year he was healthy and when he was in there he took advantage of those opportunities. He is taking advantage to be an every Tuesday or Wednesday guy for us. He helps assist our bullpen for a Friday-Saturday series,” Anderson said on Bates’ performance.
Brendan Ball would toss 2.1 innings in relief for Lannino, allowing two hits but preventing the Lions from extending their lead further. Connor Jones would then take the mound for the Leopards, and Mason Nadeau would add to his big night, lofting his first collegiate home run to give Penn State a 7-2 lead. Jones would record just one out in the inning and be replaced by Mark Anderson with the bases loaded.
“It was pretty awesome.” Nadeau said when asked about the long ball. “I actually wasn’t entirely sure it was gonna go out at first, but hearing it hit the bleachers was a really good feeling.”
Nick Riotto would then walk on four pitches to extend the Penn State lead to 8-2. The Lions would fail to capitalize any more on the bases loaded opportunity after a Brett Davis strikeout and a groundout to third base from Logan Goodnight to end the bottom half of the inning.
Conlin Hughes would record his second hit of the night in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI double off of Coleman Strohm to extend Penn State’s lead to 9-2.
The bullpen was also excellent all night long as Taylor Lehman and Nick Distasio would close out the last two innings for the Nittany Lions without surrendering another run.
“Dakota [Forsythe] was lights out. That’s probably the best he’s been in his four years here at Penn State. Lehman’s last outing by no means was his best, so it was good to see him go out there and get two strikeouts. Distasio by no means was he at his best this evening, but he’s been a dominant force all year,” Anderson added.
Mason Nadeau would finish 2-4 on the night with a homerun and two RBIs, while Nick Riotto would add two hits and three RBIs. Lafayette dropped to a dismal 3-42 on the season with the loss. Penn State improves to 14-26 on the season, as they will be on the road at Iowa for a three-game series beginning next Friday.
Will Desautelle is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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