Penn State’s huge first inning at the plate fueled its second win in as many tries over Michigan State Saturday.
The Nittany Lions beat the Spartans 27-4 to secure their second series win of the season. It was just the fifth time all year the blue and white has scored double-digit runs in a game. Penn State accomplished the feat by the end of the first inning Saturday, putting 10 runs across the plate.
The blue and white also totaled its most runs of the season by the end of the third inning when it accumulated 18.
In the first inning alone, Michigan State had three different pitchers take the mound while facing a collective 14 batters and throwing 64 total pitches.
Once seven innings had gone by, the Spartans put six different pitchers on the mound. These relievers racked up a total of 184 pitches and allowed 26 runs.
On the flip side, Penn State starting pitcher Conor Larkin threw seven innings on just 88 pitches Saturday.
The Nittany Lions added another run in the second inning before exploding for another big inning in the third. Penn State put up seven more runs in the bottom of the third, in large part because of a pair of three-run home runs from Curtis Robison and Jay Harry.
The blue and white added five more runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to knocks from Tyson Cooper, Johnny Piacentino and Harry. Cole Bartels also drew a walk for a run in the inning.
Michigan State finally got on the board after Penn State’s infielders failed to track down a high fly ball to short right field. The Spartans scored two runs on the play and made the score 23-2 in the process.
Penn State quickly responded with three more runs of its own in the bottom of the seventh inning and added another in the bottom of the eighth.
Michigan State added two more runs in the top of the ninth to make the final score 27-4.
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Here are the biggest takeaways from Penn State’s lopsided victory Saturday.
Early offense fuels blowout
Penn State recorded its most productive inning of offense Saturday.
In the first inning, the Nittany Lions accumulated 10 runs on eight hits and stranded just one batter on base. The team was able to get through its starting nine, and then some, putting 14 batters in the box during the inning.
The Nittany Lions were able to register eight of those 10 runs before recording their second out of the inning.
In an outing that could be overshadowed by the blue and white’s offense, Larkin threw a gem.
In seven innings of work, Larkin gave up just two runs to Michigan State’s offense. The righty threw 88 pitches while striking out six and allowing only six hits and one walk.
It was Larkin’s fourth win of the year and his first since he last faced Michigan State on April 9. Larkin didn’t give up a single run through six and two thirds innings before allowing two at the end of the top of the seventh.
Harry, Piacentino lead the way offensively
Two Penn State hitters made the most of their plate appearances Saturday.
Between them, Harry and Piacentino registered 11 RBIs. Harry went 3-for-4 on the day with a walk and six RBIs, including a three-run homer in the third. Piacentino added five RBIs on a walk and five hits, including three doubles. He finished the day 5-for-6.
The pair also scored seven of Penn State’s 27 runs.
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