For the second game in a row, Penn State’s offense struggled to keep up with Nebraska.
In the first game, the Nittany Lions were only able to muster two runs against Nebraska’s pitching staff. Such was the case again Saturday when the blue and white lost to the Cornhuskers 11-2.
In comparison, Nebraska has scored 19 runs between the first two games of the series.
Penn State only put nine baserunners on base in Saturday’s affair. Just five of those baserunners came via hits, while three were from walks and another reached first on a fielder’s choice.
Coach Rob Cooper recognized his team struggled as an entire unit, but he made sure to acknowledge the lack of offense was a main contributor to the loss.
“Today was not a good day for us, obviously,” Cooper said. “We didn't pitch well enough, we didn't swing the bats well enough, we definitely didn't play defense well enough.”
Through 23 games, Penn State’s offense ranks 11th in the Big Ten in RBIs, runs and walks.
Comparatively, Nebraska ranks first in the conference in runs and is second in both RBIs and walks.
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Cooper recognized that while Nebraska is a formidable opponent, his team’s play would've been unacceptable against any opponent.
“Nebraska is a very, very good team,” Cooper said. “Can't play like that against anybody and expect to have a chance to be in the game.”
Penn State fell to 8-15 on the season, good for the third worst record in the conference. Meanwhile, the Cornhuskers kept pace atop the Big Ten standings and moved to 17-6 on the year.
The blue and white offense struggled in every way to make contact with the baseball, but it wasn’t just in terms of hits. In total, the Nittany Lions were only able to put the ball in play a total of 17 times, flying out five times and grounding out 12 times, while striking out eight times.
On the flip side, Nebraska’s offense put up 17 hits alone.
“I didn't think we were tough enough, with our approach,” Cooper said. “Instead of having a hitting approach and being hitters, I thought we were more just swinging.”
Penn State already clinched a series loss to Nebraska after back-to-back defeats. However, the blue and white will face off against the Cornhuskers again Sunday as it tries to salvage one game from the trio of home contests.
“We got to learn from it,” Cooper said. “We got to get better and have short term memory and get ready to play tomorrow.”
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