The Penn State baseball team played their first game on Friday evening against the Maryland Terrapins.
Left hander Dante Biasi got the start on the mound for the Nittany Lions, and Hunter Parson got the start for Maryland. Ultimately, it was the Terrapins' offense that was able to lead them to a 5-2 win.
Biasi pitched well through the first two innings, allowing only one hit and no runs. In the third inning, however, Maryland’s bats started to heat up when Caleb Walls started knocked a single to right field.
Following that, AJ Lee doubled to left-center, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Randy Bednar then came up and flied out to center, but Walls was able to tag up and score the first run of the game for Maryland.
The Terrapins kept it going when Taylor Wright singled up the middle, knocking in Lee to make it a 2-0 game. In the top of the fifth inning, Maryland extended their lead to 3-0 after Taylor Wright doubled to right-center field, knocking in AJ Lee who got on with a single.
The Nittany Lions got going offensively in the bottom of the fifth. After Kris Kremer got on with a walk, Mac Hippenhammer bunted for a hit, putting runners on first and second for Penn State. Ryan Sloniger then came up and doubled to right center, knocking both Kremer and Hippenhammer in to make it a 3-2 ball game.
After pitching six innings with 11 strikeouts, Biasi was relieved in the seventh inning by right hander Jared Freilich. Frelich struck out Caleb Walls, but Walls was able to reach first after a passed ball. AJ Lee then reached base on a throwing error, allowing Walls to advance to third base. Walls then scored after a failed pickoff attempt by Freilich, making it a 4-2 game.
Randy Bednar then reached on a fielder’s choice, but the Nittany Lions were able to get Lee out at second base. Taylor Wright kept it going with a single to second base, moving Bednar all the way to third. Bednar would go on to score after a bunt by Michael Pineiro, increasing Maryland’s lead to three runs.
The Nittany Lions made another pitching change in the eighth, bringing in Hutch Gagnon. Gagnon retired all three batters he faced that inning. Cole Bartels came in to pitch in the ninth inning, facing four batters without allowing a hit.
After scoring two runs in the fifth inning, the Nittany Lions were unable to score any more runs, losing the series opener 5-2. After the game, Biasi took some time to comment on his pitching performance tonight and what he saw from Maryland.
“I just left some pitches over the middle and they put the bat on the ball,” Biasi said. “They put some good swings on the ball and they got some hitters. They’re a good team over there and they made me pay for a couple pitches.”
Coach Rob Cooper also gave comment after the game about what he saw tonight and what he will take away heading into the next game.
“You got to give credit to Maryland,” Cooper said. “I thought Dante gave us another quality effort. We just got to do more offensively and we need to play a little bit better defensively. But it’s one game and our guys are going to come out tomorrow and we’ve got a chance to still win this series. We’ll start with 2:00 tomorrow first pitch and we know we’re going to play eighteen innings at the minimum so we just got to be ready to play pitch by pitch.”
Due to poor weather coming in on Sunday, the Nittany Lions will play a doubleheader Saturday to conclude their series with the Terrapins. Game two tomorrow is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.