Penn State Baseball vs. Michigan State, Virbitsky

Pitcher Kyle Virbitsky starts off pitching for the Nittany Lions during Penn State baseball's game against Michigan State on Sunday, May 2nd, 2021 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions defeated the Spartans 5-3. 

Senior day for Penn State did not go as planned, as the blue and white’s three-game win streak came to an end.

Penn State lost to Rutgers by a score of 5-0 in the third game of a four-game set.

Rutgers took an early lead in the top of the first with a single into center field, scoring the first run of the game.

With the bases loaded after multiple fielding miscues, Penn State starter Kyle Virbitsky walked a batter, giving the Scarlet Knights another run. However, Virbitsky induced a double play from the next batter to minimize the damage.

In the top of the second, a leadoff double led to an RBI single into left to plate Rutgers' third run of the afternoon.

After a quiet third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, Rutgers was able to take advantage of yet another error and hit a sacrifice fly into right field in the top of the seventh, scoring the first run of the game since the second inning.

Penn State was able to get two runners on in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings, but left both stranded.

In the top of the ninth, two throwing errors put runners on the corners and resulted in a sacrifice fly into right field, giving the Scarlet Knights their fifth run of the ballgame.

In the bottom of the ninth, Penn State was once again able to get multiple runners on but could not push them across to secure the win for Rutgers.

Here are some of the key storylines from Sunday’s game.

Unlucky Virbitsky

Virbitsky, who has been put together a solid season, made a lot of quality pitches Sunday.

However, things outside of his pitching control did not bounce his way.

Penn State's defense missed a lot of fielding opportunities with misread foul balls, bad flips, and poor reads to extend innings for Virbitsky to pitch.

Rutgers’ offense was also able to hit ground balls through holes in the infield a number of times.

Virbitsky was not having a bad game, inducing four double plays and getting out of plenty of trouble, but did not catch any breaks behind him.

Virbitsky went six and one-third innings, allowing two earned runs and 11 hits.

Offense goes silent

The blue and white’s offense could not get anything moving against Rutgers’ Justin Sinibaldi.

Getting only two hits after six innings, Penn State seldom had baserunners and did not have a runner in scoring position until the seventh inning.

However, it wasn’t just the Penn State bats. Rutgers made some good plays, backing up Sinibaldi on defense.

Penn State was held to only six hits, scoring zero runs and being shut out for the fourth time this season.

Errors bite Penn State again

As has been a recurring theme during the season, fielding was not a strong suit for the Nittany Lions Sunday afternoon.

In the top of the first, an error by Center Fielder Johnny Piacentino led to one of the early runs scored by Rutgers.

Later on in the seventh inning, a fielding error by shortstop Jay Harry gave way to an insurance run for the Scarlet Knights.

Later on, relief pitcher Hutch Gagnon underthrew a ball to first base, and the very next play missed another throw to first before being taken out

A problem for the blue and white the last few seasons, errors have not seemed to lessen for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State has now committed 50 errors, and have the second-worst fielding percentage in the Big Ten.


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