Penn State set a new program record Saturday.
The Nittany Lions scored 27 runs — the most they have ever scored against a conference opponent in program history. With the historic offensive performance, the blue and white demolished Michigan State 27-4.
Penn State fell just one run shy of the overall program record for runs scored in a single game. The Nittany Lions scored 28 against Chicago State in 1993 and matched the record again in 1997 against La Salle, both of which were nonconference contests.
The previous Penn State record for most runs scored against a conference opponent is 22, which has been achieved twice. As members of the Atlantic 10, the Nittany Lions defeated Massachusetts 22-12 in an Atlantic 10 Tournament matchup in 1985.
Exactly 11 years ago on May 1, 2010, Penn State matched the record, defeating Michigan State 22-5. The Nittany Lions finished 22-30 that season.
On Saturday, Penn State produced 27 runs on 22 hits and 11 walks. The Nittany Lions posted a .489 team batting average.
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Penn State entered Saturday trying to avoid an extension of its two-game losing streak.
“We drove the ball [and] we got a lot of hits, but there were also a lot of takes that allowed us to get in good [pitch] counts,” coach Rob Cooper said. “Those takes are just as important.”
Penn State scored 10 runs in the opening frame, recording eight hits and bringing 14 batters to the plate. Several Nittany Lions reached base more than once in the inning.
Penn State also scored seven runs in the third, thanks in large part to a pair of home runs. Right fielder Curtis Robison and shortstop Jay Harry each blasted three-run home runs to right field in the inning.
Harry’s home run was the first of his young career as a Nittany Lion. The freshman went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and led the team with six RBIs.
Center fielder Johnny Piacentino had an exceptional day at the plate, going 5-for-6 with four runs scored and five RBIs. He led the team in extra-base hits with three doubles.
“I thought Johnny [Piacentino] did a great job,” Cooper said. “He stayed inside the ball well [and] drove the ball into the gap well. When he gets hot, it’s big for us.”
The Nittany Lions are 6-1 this season when they score at least seven runs, and three of those victories have come against the Spartans.
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