Penn State Baseball (18-21, 7-8 Big Ten) beat Omaha (19-19, 10-5 Summit League) in Game 1 of the weekend series, 8-7.
Despite spending most of the game in deficit against Omaha, the Nittany Lions rolled back the tight score in the seventh and eighth innings to claim a narrow victory.
How did it happen
It didn’t take long for Omaha to get on the board, as Maverick Devin Hurdle slipped a ball between first and second base to send Harrison Denk home from second base. The Nittany Lions struggled early in the first inning, but with two outs on the board, they had three hits to send Matt Wood around base. After a steal from Jay Harry and a walk to Billy Gerlott, Penn State had the bases loaded, however, a fly ball from Ben Kailher ended the scoring opportunity.
Just as Penn State had done, Omaha found itself with the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the second inning. The Nittany Lions survived, as Travis Luensmann delivered the final strike of the inning with a full count.
Twelve straight walks from Easton Smith of Omaha gave Penn State loaded bases in the bottom of the second with no outs. Smith recovered well and after three more batters, the second inning ended with no change in score.
After a three-inning drought, Penn State finally broke the tie. A deep Johnny Piacentino shot went to third base, while Cole Bartels and Derek Cease came home to give the Nittany Lions a 3-1 lead. A single from Wood sent Piacentino the 90-footer home plate. A deep double from Josh Spiegel gave Penn State a 5-1 lead.
Omaha killed its own run drought in the fifth inning, as an Eduardo Rosario single sent Mike Boeve home. The Mavericks net was quickly flooded, as two more runs came around the bases from an Eddie Satisky single. After Cease let a ball bounce over his head, Omaha tied the game as Satisky rounded the bases. A Denk single bounced off second base and Omaha took its biggest lead of the game at 7-5. It was only after a Boeve flyout that ended Omaha’s fifth-inning blitz.
Tayven Kelly brought the Nittany Lions within a run late in the fifth inning as he made savvy play to turn a single into a double and then rounded the bases on a Cease single.
Cease tied the game in the seventh inning, as he ran all around a single, stealing the third to reach home on a sacrifice fly from Bartels.
Penn State had a scoring opportunity late in the eighth, as Piacentino walked and then advanced to third on two wild pitches. The Nittany Lions took advantage of everything that came their way, as the Omaha first baseman dropped a pitch to allow Piacentino to advance home and give Penn State the one-point lead .
Harry closed out the entirety of the ninth inning, throwing the same pitch three times to defeat Omaha’s offense and give Penn State their narrow victory.
Take away food
- Matt Wood continued his strong streak in the batting box. He has now recorded one hit in 22 consecutive games for the Nittany Lions.
- Jaden Henline performed well in his first victory. He allowed no runs, just one walk and struck out four batters.
- It was a night to leave men on base for both sides. Penn State and Omaha left a total of 19 men on base, including nine in the first two innings. Still, they hit when it mattered later in the game, with 11 runs coming in the fourth and fifth innings.
Penn State will play Game 2 of its three-game series against Ohama at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at Medlar Feild in Lubrano Park.