Baseballs were flying left and right out of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park as Penn State and Maryland combined for four homeruns, splitting Saturday’s doubleheader.
After a disappointing four-hit performance in its 6-4 defeat in game one, the Nittany Lions bounced back courtesy of a five-run third inning and were victorious by a 10-7 margin in game two.
With the win Penn State improves to 19-20 (2-15 Big Ten), but Maryland was able to take two-of-three in the weekend series as it now sits at 22-22 (8-7 Big Ten).
Penn State starter Eric Mock threw another impressive outing in game one, lasting 6.2 innings while recording seven strikeouts and allowing two earned runs on six hits.
He dueled back and forth with Terrapins starter Zach Thompson, who allowed three earned-runs on three hits while striking out three through 7.0 innings pitched.
Maryland gained the advantage through its bullpen, using two pitchers to close out the Nittany Lions in the final two innings. Penn State freshman relief pitcher Tyler Shingledecker struggled today after combining for zero earned-runs allowed in his last two starts, giving up three earned runs on four hits through the final 2.1 innings of the game.
Maryland kicked off the scoring in the second inning after Maxwell Costes ripped a lead-off double to left field and eventually tagged home plate on a throwing error from Mock.
Shea Sbranti would even the score at one the very next inning as the Nittany Lions catcher hit his first home run this season into the right field bleachers. But the 1-1 tie wouldn’t last long as two Terrapins rounded the bases on Randy Bednar’s double in the fifth frame as Maryland pulled ahead 3-1.
In the seventh frame, Mac Hippenhammer put the ball in play and while grounding out to second base, he brought home Kris Kremer to cut Maryland’s lead to one. But Justin Vought gave the Terrapins their largest lead of the game after he blasted a two-run home run in the eighth frame to make it 5-2.
The Nittany Lions kept showing resilience, battling back in the bottom of the inning as Ryan Ford hit a sac-fly to score a run. Justin Williams stepped up to bat right after Ford and hit a solo home run to left field, once again cutting Maryland’s margin to one.
However, the Terrapins would have the final say as Taylor Wright put the game out of reach on his solo home run in the ninth inning, resulting in the 6-4 final score.
Bailey Dees took the mound for the Nittany Lions to start the second game and his 10th start this season was short-lived after being pulled in the third inning. It was a bit surprising considering he only allowed an earned-run on four hits through 2.1 innings pitched and appeared to be settling into the game.
Dees wasn’t the only pitcher taken out early as Terrapins starter Trevor LaBonte’s day was finished after pitching two innings allowing two earned-runs on three hits.
Penn State’s top relief pitcher Mason Mellott came in and immediately escaped the third inning with runners in scoring position and wound up pitching the next 3.2 innings giving up three earned-runs on four hits.
Just like game one, Maryland took the early advantage as it hit off Dees three separate times in the first inning to go up 1-0. But Williams hit a triple to center field in the Nittany Lions first-at-bat to score Ford and tie the game at one apiece.
The bats came alive for Penn State in the third frame as its offense exploded for five runs on five hits with singles from Bowersox, Ford, Ryan Sloniger, Hippenhammer, and Conlin Hughes, giving the Nittany Lions a commanding 6-1 lead through the first-third of game two.
Maryland would respond with the bases loaded the following frame, as Mellott hit a Terrapin batter to bring home a run. It scored three runs on one hit in the inning to cut Penn State’s lead to two.
Penn State added a run of its own after Bowersox singled, advanced two bases to third on a wild pitch, and tagged home plate on Kremer’s double play groundout to extend its lead to 7-4.
The back-and-forth fair continued into the fifth inning as Maryland scored two runs on two hits on Costes’ single. The Nittany Lions bounced right back with an Orndorff two-run RBI double in the bottom half of the inning to put the lead back to three at 9-6.
Maryland followed up with a run in the sixth inning, but Hippenhammer answered right back in the seventh inning with a lead-off triple and would score off of Connor Klemann’s sac-fly.
Kyle Virbitsky closed out the game on the mound for the Nittany Lions, pitching the final three innings not allowing a single earned-run while striking out three as Penn State was able to hold on to its lead, winning 10-7 on 13 hits.