With the winning run in scoring position in the 10th inning of a 2-2 game, Penn State’s Cole Bartels stepped into the batter’s box.
Hitless in his first four at-bats of the contest, the redshirt junior squared up to bunt.
Already shifted in, the move drew Michigan’s third baseman even closer to home plate. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Bartels showed bunt but swung, clubbing a chopper just over the third baseman’s outstretched arm.
As the ball rolled slowly into shallow left field, designated hitter Curtis Robison sprinted around the bases and scored as the Nittany Lions upset the 19th-ranked Wolverines 3-2 on Friday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Elation ensued, as Bartels was mobbed by his teammates in the outfield following the walk-off RBI single.
“He went up there in a situation and read the defense and made a baseball play, a winning baseball play when we needed it,” coach Rob Cooper said. “That tells you everything about Cole Bartels and [his] competitive nature.”
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Penn State picked up its ninth consecutive win this season, this time coming against Sacred …
After a slow start to the season, the first baseman has now recorded a hit in each of the last five games. He’s also worked himself into the lead-off spot in the lineup, a position he has held each of the last three contests.
Penn State has won via a walk-off in two of its last three games as well, as it defeated Maryland 6-5 last Sunday. The Nittany Lions are 2-2 in matchups decided by one run this season.
“They come ready to play [and] they compete,” Cooper said. “They’re playing hard [and] they’re believing.”
Penn State’s 10th inning was started by Robison, who was substituted into the game in the final frame and smacked a lead-off double in his only at-bat. Left fielder Kris Kremer was then intentionally walked before Bartels came up to the plate.
The Nittany Lions out-hit Michigan 4-1 in the final three innings of the matchup, which had been tied since the fourth. The win was Penn State’s first over the Wolverines since 2015, snapping an eight-game losing streak.
“They are learning how to win, and we pulled off a close one tonight against a really good team in extra innings,” Cooper said. “I’m so proud of them.”
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