BASE: Penn State Unable to Top Northwestern in Second Game of Series

Story posted April 23, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Joe Esquivel-Murphy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Penn State entered the game on Saturday in the middle of a four-game losing streak and five straight conference losses. The Nittany Lions were unable to end that streak, as they fell to Northwestern 7-4 in the second game of the series.

The first inning went great for the Nittany Lions as freshman centerfielder Mason Nadeau started off the game with a single and scored on a throwing error third baseman Charlie Maxwell. Nadeau talked about how important it was to start the game off with a hit.

“I think it’s huge,” Nadeau said. “It really gets the momentum rolling.”

The third inning was where it got a little out of control from him as two runs scored off of wild pitches. In the first two games of the series, Northwestern has scored six runs off wild pitches.

The three hits allowed by Hagenman were costly as two of them were doubles hit down the right field line, with Matt Hopfner able to drive in a run with his. All four runs scored in the inning were unearned with the Nittany Lions still showing they need improvement in the field.

The defense for the Nittany Lions has been a problem all season as they committed five errors in the game. Penn State head coach Rob Cooper talked about his team not focusing as the main cause for the high number of errors.

“For some of those guys, it has to do with trying to over think it,” Cooper said. “I think when you put a lot of pressure on yourself, because you’re worried about making a mistake, that it slows down your motor skills.”

When Hagenman was on the mound, the Northwestern offense was stagnant as they were unable to get many hits off of him. Outside of the third inning, the Wildcats were only able to score two runs with a RBI single by designated hitter Jack Claeys in the fifth and a sac fly by Joe Hoscheit in the seventh.

Hagenman pitched seven innings, allowing five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. His longevity was greatly needed as Penn State used six pitchers in the series opener.

Northwestern starting pitcher Hank Christie had similar success to Hagenman, as he only allowed five hits over the course of his outing. Christie pitched 6.2 innings, giving up a walk and an unearned run, while striking out four batters.

The Penn State offense has struggled to produce runs for the entire season as they had only scored more than five runs in a game once during the six-game losing streak. Nadeau, Conlin Hughes and Ryan Sloniger all had multi-hit games with Hughes and Sloniger coming up huge in a monumental eighth inning rally.They were responsible for driving in all three runs in the inning with a two-run single by Hughes and a RBI double by Sloniger.

Outside of those three hitters, Penn State combined for two hits, as the rest of the Nittany Lions were unable to consistently get good contact on the ball. The loss drops Penn State to 12-26 on the year and 1-10 in the conference. The Nittany Lions will try and avoid getting swept by Northwestern on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email jje5139@psu.edu