Baseball PSU vs. Michigan Inning break

Infielders Jay Harry (1), Gavin Homer (2), and Justin Williams (33) practicing tosses in between innings during Penn State's first game in their series against Michigan on Friday, March 26, 2021 at Medlar Field in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions beat the Wolverines 3-2.

Penn State entered Sunday’s game with a chance to clinch its second series win and first series sweep on the season.

It couldn’t get the job done, eventually falling 8-5 to the Purdue Boilermakers.

The Nittany Lions put on a dominant performance in its first game against Purdue, winning 11-0 and never losing control. The script flipped early in the second meeting.

Penn State starter Jaden Henline got two quick outs in the first, but hit two straight batters to put himself in a jam. Purdue hit two run-scoring singles to take an early lead 2-0.

Henline worked a 1-2-3 second inning before Parker Hendershot cut into the Boilermaker lead with a two-out solo shot to deep left center.

Purdue threatened in the third as it put two men on with no outs. However, Henline was able to escape the jam this time and hold the black and gold from scoring.

The Boilermakers came right back and pressured Henline again in the fourth. This time, a leadoff double turned into an RBI single and a pitching change from Henline to Mason Mellott, who worked a quick double play.

Hendershot struck again with his second home run of the game in the fifth inning to make it 3-2, while Mellott kept Purdue quiet through the sixth where Penn State made its mark.

A two-out rally turned the tide for the Nittany Lions as Wood tripled, Spiegel doubled and Robison doubled to plate two and take their first lead of the game.

Mellott lost control of the game shortly after in the seventh as a double, balk and hit batter led to a game-tying single and him being pulled in favor of Tyler Shingledecker. However, Shingledecker walked the first batter he saw and was pulled for Ralph Gambino.

The Boilermakers didn’t have to do much to retake their lead. Gambino hit the first batter he saw and walked the second to make it 6-4 before he was pulled for Jared Freilich.

Freilich stabilized and got out of the inning without giving up another run. Penn State put two on with only one out in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t score after a double play from Purdue.

Freilich was able to get through the eighth cleanly, but gave up a lead-off single in the ninth and was pulled in favor of Hutch Gagnon. The lefty couldn’t shut it down and allowed Purdue to pad its lead while Penn State’s offense could only get one back in the final frame.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s loss.

Henline outdueled

In his first start since March 14, Henline wasn’t at his sharpest. It was his shortest start of the season.

His outing lasted just three and one-third innings while he was tagged for three earned runs. He did pick up four strikeouts, but issued four free bases with two walks and two hit batters.

On the flipside, Purdue’s Trent Johnson put on a solid performance outside of the two home runs to Hendershot and the messy sixth inning.

Johnson forced 10 strikeouts in six innings of work while only issuing one walk.

Hendershot steps up

Hendershot hasn’t been a mainstay in the starting lineup for coach Rob Cooper thus far into the season. He had a handful of starts scattered throughout, but Sunday marked his third straight start in place of the struggling Cole Bartels.

Hendershot hit a pinch-hit home run in the season opener against Northwestern and kept that power surge going against Purdue with his two solo shots.

His performance even led to an intentional walk when he stepped to the plate in the sixth.

He’s made a case to take over the everyday first baseman role, going 6-for-11 with four RBIs, two home runs and three runs scored on the weekend.

Bullpen carousel results in collapse

After Henline’s early exit from the game, Mellott took over and pitched well for three innings before he lost control and allowed the double and hit by pitch that started Purdue’s seventh inning rally.

Mellott was followed by Shingledecker who walked the only batter he faced to load the bases. Cooper seemingly brought in Shingledecker for the lefty-on-lefty matchup and only planned for him to face on batter, but it went awry.

Gambino likely would have come on next anyway, but two straight walks was an ugly result in the one-out bases loaded jam. Freilich was finally able to shut down the rally, but not before the damage was done.

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