Penn State Rides Defense to Victory Over Binghamton
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lions (12-12) defeated the Binghamton Bearcats (7-15) 5-2 on Wednesday night. The Nittany Lions never trailed and rode a strong pitching performance on their way to the victory.
Starting pitcher Nick Hedge got some help from his defense early. Junior second baseman Christian Helsel would make a diving stop on a ball lined into right field. The next at bat would see junior leftfielder Nick Riotto make a running catch at the warning track on a long fly ball by Binghamton left fielder Darian Herncane.
Penn State would load the bases with one out in the bottom of the second and a run would come home when Riotto was hit with a pitch, causing Binghamton manager Tim Sinicki to make a pitching change, pulling starter Nick Gallagher. Reliever Joe Orlando would then shut the Lions down to close out the inning.
CJ Kowiak would get the run back for the Bearcats, leading off with a double and coming home all of the way from second base after Penn State lost track of a wild pitch.
Two Binghamton errors in the fourth would pave the way for the Lions to open up a 4-1 lead by way of a fielder’s choice and a two-RBI triple by third baseman Jim Haley. It was his third triple of the year to go along with his 16th and 17th RBIs, and extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Penn State’s starter Nick Hedge would exit the game after five and a third having surrendered one run on five hits with three strikeouts.
The teams would trade runs in the bottom of the sixth and top of the eighth, setting the stage for Penn State to carry a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning, where senior closer Jack Anderson would take the mound. He would retire the side through two strikeouts and a ground out to short to finish the game it was his ninth save of the year.
The win was credited to Nick Hedge, his second of the year and Bearcat reliever Robert Brown received the loss. Speaking after the game, Hedge was happy with his performance.
“It was good, I threw strikes and got groundballs. It’s all you can ask for,” Hedge said.
The biggest notable difference between the two teams was their defense. Penn State was able to capitalize on two Bearcat errors, which ultimately proved to be the difference between the two teams. Penn State head coach Rob Cooper spoke to this after the game.
“It’s huge,” remarked Cooper. “If you’re a good defensive team, it right away makes you a better pitching team. It also makes you a better hitting team because it gets you off of the field and back in the dugout to swing the bat.”
The Nittany Lions next take the field against Purdue on Friday April 1st, at 6:30 p.m.
Zach Green is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. He can be reached on twitter @zgreen05, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.