Nittany Lions take game one against Rutgers
The Penn State Nittany Lions used two four-run innings to take game one of its final home series, 8-1, Friday evening, against newly arrived Big Ten foe Rutgers.
After seven innings, both team posted 8 hits on the scoreboard; however, Penn State (15-26, Big Ten 3-12) had a seven run advantage.
This was in large part due to sophomore starting pitcher Nick Hedge (2-6) showing maturation in his collegiate career in his 11th start of the season.
“Nick Hedge gave us an unbelievable start, great confidence out there, great body language, great tempo,” said Penn State coach Rob Cooper.
Working into early trouble after surrendering back-to-back one-out singles in the first inning, Hedge struck out the next two batters to end the Rutgers (15-29, Big Ten 5-11) early threat.
Hedge continued to make the right pitch to get out of innings, stranding six runners on base in his six innings on the mound. He allowed one earned run with seven hits, three strikeouts and one walk for his second win on the year.
Right-hand relief pitcher Jack Anderson entered in the 7th, making his team-high 23rd appearance from the bullpen. Anderson picked up his third save of the season, pitching the final three innings, allowing two hits.
Rutgers’ starting pitcher, Mark McCoy (2-7), breezed through the Nittany Lions lineup relatively unblemished as the team managed just one hit through three innings.
Greg Guers, sophomore outfielder, posted the second Penn State hit in the forth inning on a homerun (7) to right field, as the Nittany Lions scored first.
When placing the first run on the board, Penn State is now 9-3.
An RBI single from senior infielder J.J. White and a two-run ground rule double from junior infielder Tyler Kendall pushed the Penn State lead to 4-0, providing Nick Hedge more than enough comfort room to secure the win.
“It’s great to see that [forth inning outburst],” Hedge said. “The biggest thing for me is the energy around the whole team. Everyone gets excited, you get out there and you want to kind of put the foot on the throat right there and close it out …”
Guers has been sensational for the Nittany Lions as of late, coming into the contest batting .357 over his past 10 games. Extending his current hit streak to 14 games, he finished the ball game 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI (32).
Cooper joked about keeping Guers in Happy Valley for as long as possible.
“I’m going to see if I can forge his deal so he can maybe play here for another three years,” Cooper said. “He’s locked in right now and it’s fun to watch."
The Scarlet Knights put a run on the board in the sixth inning following a bang-bang play at home plate with Tom Marcinczyk beating the throw from the outfield.
But another four-run inning awaited in the bottom of the seventh inning as Penn State sealed the game with an 8-1 advantage.
It was “one of the most complete games” according to Cooper, as they clicked offensively, defensively and on the mound.
The big innings have been recurring for this Nittany Lions lineup that tends to go on scoring droughts when the team is scoring collectively.
“I’d like to see us score more often,” Cooper said. “But as long as we always have one more run than the other team I’m going to be happy.”
“Baseball’s funny. We won two innings today, they won one, but yet we beat them 8-1. It’s just a funny game.”
The Nittany Lions will look for their third consecutive win in game two of the series on Saturday, first pitch set for 1:30 p.m.
Marley Paul is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.