Penn State Wins Home Opener Against UMass Lowell
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State wins their 2019 home opener at Medlar Field 3-1 over UMass Lowell behind Dante Biasi’s dominant 13 strikeout performance on the mound, and a go-ahead solo home run in the 7th inning by Ryan Sloniger.
Biasi came into the game with a 1-1 record and a 3.00 ERA. Biasi got ahead of hitters in the count and was able to confuse UMass Lowell in his seven innings pitched.
Biasi believes that mixing his pitches early and the command of his fastball led to his success in the outing this afternoon.
“We were just mixing pitches basically and went with whatever coach thought was best,” Biasi said. “We were working in and out and just effective with the fastball, and really commanding my fastball better than the past couple of games.”
Connor Metelski took the mound for the UMass Lowell River Hawks.
Metelski came into the game struggling with a 0-3 record, and an ERA of 18.90 in 10 innings pitched. However, Metelski found a groove early in this game and pitched well. He threw seven innings with five strikeouts. The problem was one of his two runs he gave up came in the game’s biggest moment, when Sloniger took him deep for the go-ahead run.
Sloniger thought the Nittany Lions took a more aggressive approach against Metelski.
“I think guys, as the game went on we, got more aggressive,” Sloniger said. “I thought we took a lot of good pitches to hit early on in those first couple innings, first time through the lineup. He was attacking us, and around the zone, so you knew you were going to get a good pitch to hit.”
UMass had an opportunity to tie the game or even take the lead in the top of the eighth inning. The River Hawks had runners on second and third with only one out. However, Penn State relief pitcher Mason Mellott got the job done with a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
Although Penn State held on to win this game, the offense was mostly nonexistent until the final three innings. Penn State recorded only four hits in the game and will have to be better moving forward.
Rob Cooper, Penn State’s head coach, is happy with the win and the start of the season but knows his guys need to it be finer at the plate.
“I’ll take winning over stats any day of the week, what’s really frustrating is getting 20 hits and losing,” Cooper said. “We need to get better offensively, but the key is can good teams find a way to win while they’re still trying to get better at stuff.”
After an abysmal season last year, where the Nittany Lions finished with a record of 15-34, Penn State starts this season with a chip on its shoulder. The Nittany Lions after the win this afternoon have a record of 11-3, their best start since 1980, and look for the momentum to continue in this series.
Penn State takes on UMass Lowell again on Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 12 p.m.
Matthew McClure is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org.