Penn State Drops Doubleheader to Nebraska
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Penn State baseball continued its poor conference form, falling at the hands of Nebraska in a doubleheader on Saturday. Game one saw the first loss of the day by a score of 2-4 and the second game tallied the second loss 3-1.
The second game was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but got moved as part of a Saturday double header due to impending weather.
Saturday night’s defeat marked not only Penn State’s 10th loss in Big Ten play, but it is the third time in four conference series the Nittany Lions have been swept.
The Nebraska pitching staff continued to follow the trend of dominance over the Penn State lineup, which had struggled to score all series.
The senior lefthander Nate Fisher started on the found for the Cornhuskers. The southpaw has been a control master for Nebraska this season and retired the first seven Nittany Lions in order to start game two.
Then, in the bottom of the third, two walks to Conlin Hughes and Mason Nadeau set the table for Penn State’s hottest hitter, Jordan Bowersox.
Bowersox was 5-for-8 coming into the series finale, and delivered once again, with an RBI single scoring Hughes and giving the Nittany Lions their first hit, and more importantly, a 1-0 lead.
“I’ve just been feeling good recently, being aggressive early in the count, getting a pitch I can drive,” Bowersox said.
This lead did not last long for Penn State. Right hander Bailey Dees was cruising for the Nittany Lions after giving up back-to-back singles to start the game. However, in the top of the forth he walked back-to-back hitters. This set the table for Cornhusker catcher Luke Roskam to lace a double off the top of the wall in right-center field to score Mojo Hagge and tie the game at 1.
Dees found himself in quite a jam, with two runners in scoring position and no one out. Though the sophomore was about to work out of it with just the lone run conceded.
The scoring ceased until the top of the eighth. Righthander Kyle Virbitsky was on in relief for Penn State. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with one out for Nebraska. On a crossup between catcher Jacob Padilla and Virbitsky, the ball went to the backstop, and pinch hitter Joe Acker scored from third to give the Cornhuskers a 2-1 lead. Roskam scored on a Cam Chick sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
Despite grinding out at-bats and driving the ball to the outfield, Penn State had little to show for it. The athleticism of the leftfielder Hagge and centerfielder Jaxon Hallmark, alongside Nebraska’s deep pitching staff silenced the Nittany Lion bats again, holding them to just two hits.
“We have got to find a way to bunch some hits together,” Penn State head coach Rob Cooper said. “Somebody’s gotta step up and be the guy to break it open.”
Fisher exited for the Cornhuskers after just five innings. He passed the ball of to righthander Mike Waldron, brother of Matt Waldron, who held Penn State to just two runs in seven innings of work during Friday’s 3-2 Nebraska win in the series opener.
Clearly silencing Nittany Lion bats runs in the Waldron family. Mike went three hitless innings in relief and picked up the win.
Sam Schanaman picked up the save with a one, two, three bottom of the ninth.
With the loss, Penn State drops to 17-15 on the season and 1-10 in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions will resume action at home on Wednesday against West Virginia, in a non-conference tilt.
Andre Magaro is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.