On a perfect day for baseball in the middle of its last homestand of the season, Penn State baseball was able to utilize a fast start to support itself the rest of the afternoon.
The Nittany Lions defeated Rutgers 4-3, extending their win streak to three games.
The blue and white got off to an early lead in the bottom of the first with a Justin Williams single into left field, plating Gavin Homer.
Josh Spiegel followed a few batters later with a two-out, two-run triple off of the right center field wall.
After staying quiet through the fifth inning, Rutgers loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with one out. However, Penn State starter Conor Larkin was able to weave his way out of the situation, stranding all baserunners.
Larkin was able to control the tempo of the game and prevent the Scarlet Knights offense from getting anything big going all afternoon.
After Larkin was taken out of the game, Rutgers was finally able to get into the scoring column.
In the top of the seventh, a single into center field plated a run, giving the Scarlet Knights their first run of the ball game.
However, reliever Logan Evans was able to get the Nittany Lions out of a bases loaded jam and minimize the damage.
Rutgers was able to finally even up the match in the top of the eighth. Loading the bases once more, the Scarlet Knights hit a single into left field, bringing two home and tying the game up at three runs.
In the bottom of the inning, Penn State was able to threaten by loading the bases with two outs. Curtis Robinson drew a walk and gave the blue and white the lead once more.
In the top of the ninth, Tyler Shingledecker put away Rutgers, and Penn State was able to close the game 4-3.
Here are some of the key takeaways from Saturday’s contest.
Larkin, who has had an up and down year, put together one of his best performances of the season Saturday.
Larkin pitched six and two-thirds innings, allowing a lone run and seven hits.
Although he’s usually a high percentage strikeout pitcher, he only needed to punch out four batters.
Larkin was able to lower his season ERA to 4.42.
Fast start, slow finish
It looked as if it may be a high scoring affair for the blue and white early on, with three runs scored in the bottom of the first.
However, that was anything but the case, as Penn State’s offense went cold shortly after.
Barely able to get any hits after the first, the Nittany Lions were left with limited baserunners for the majority of the game.
However, having Larkin dominate saved the offense from needing to slug their way to victory in today’s game.
Penn State continued to make errors in Saturday’s contest.
The blue and white committed three errors, seeing a dropped ball at second, an overthrow at first, and a missed fielding play.
One of the runs for Rutgers was unearned as well, hurting Penn State’s chances at victory.
The Nittany Lions have committed 46 errors this season, tied for third-most in the Big Ten.
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