Northwestern Completes Sweep Over Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa -- The Northwestern Wildcats completed the series sweep over Penn State in a 6-3 win Sunday at Penn State's THON game.
Both teams came into the series with only one conference win. Early on in the first two games of the series Penn State seemed to be the likely winner but both times Northwestern came out on top. Penn State lost by one run in each game.
On Sunday Northwestern had the lead from start to finish.
Penn State started the game off rocky pulling starting-pitcher Taylor Lehman 19 pitches into the game. Penn State manager Rob Cooper attributed this to discomfort from a previous injury but says that Lehman is healthy.
Freshman Bailey Dees replaced the senior pitcher in the top of the first with one run, no outs and bases loaded. Quickly after being brought in Dees was able to safely get the Nittany Lions to the bottom of the first with no harm done.
Cooper showed his trust in his youngest team members starting five freshmen position players and two freshmen pitchers. In addition to Dees, Kyle Virbitsky, who has struggled before made a positive impact on the mound.
Virbitsky said, “I think that throwing well today was a process. You know, it didn’t just happen today or overnight. I think that over the last couple outings and the last couple days of working in practice I really tried to get myself together and come up with a really good routine and go out and do my thing.”
While Penn State’s bullpen was able to hold their own after the first, Penn State's Big Ten-worst offense struggled again, tallying only four hits the entire game.
Third baseman Connor Klemann made the biggest offensive impact for the Nittany Lions with the first hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Klemann also scored and had one RBI.
Cooper acknowledged he could not lead his team to a victory this weekend but the team will end on a positive note as they helped the THON and Four Diamond families. As for the team’s hitting Cooper said, “You could have a guy that doesn’t care and they are selfish and that’ll hurt their performance. But then, you’ll have a guy that cares so much, wants to do well, doesn’t want to let his teammates down and it hurts their performance. Either way you’ve got to do something about it. Meaning, you can’t just kind of stay in that same thing. What are you doing with your routine? What are you doing with your mental approach?”
Next weekend, Penn State faces Michigan State in another at home conference series.
Devon D’Andrea is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.