Maryland Spoils Penn State’s Home Opener

Story posted March 20, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Austin Groft

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State lost to Maryland with a final score of 19-10 in its return to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park after a 672 day wait.

50-degree weather and sunshine, what more could you ask for with Penn State’s home opener this season? With around 200 fans made up of family and the concession stands open, it felt great to be in a ballpark again.

“It was good to play at medlar field, it has been too long, I want to thank everyone who got it ready,” coach Rob Cooper said.

Starting pitcher Bailey Dees had 12 strikeouts in his first two starts and got five in today’s game. He struggled at the start giving Maryland a 4-0 run in the first few minutes of the first inning.

“We got to keep getting him right, he is going to win some games for us this season, but it wasn’t his day today, he played well in that inning before he came out,” Cooper said when asked about Dees’ performance.

The game was fairly low scoring to start. Penn State didn’t get their first hit until the 4th inning from Johnny Piacentino, which also gave them their first run of the game.

Maryland’s starting pitcher, Sean Burke, had several scouts there watching him and had eight strikeouts. He controlled the first three innings and showed why he led all freshman in the NCAA in strikeouts last season.

The Nittany Lions fought and slowly chipped away at Maryland’s lead and tied the game in the seventh inning at 9-9. The game seemed that it would finish close until Maryland had a dominating eighth and ninth inning, scoring 5 runs in both.

Penn State had five different pitchers in the last two innings ending with freshman Braden Halladay, the son of former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay.

“We battled back. We did not pitch well at all other than Steven Miller and our defense was bad. I liked how we fought, I didn’t like our team looked going into the third inning,” Cooper said.

Most of Maryland’s runs came from walks or sloppy errors. Earlier in the game it seemed they were going to keep pulling away going up 9-4 from a Benjamin Cowles home run.

Their comeback was strong and if they cut down on some mistakes, they could have taken this one.

“This team has to believe that they can be good. They have to relax and be composed. They have fight and we saw that today. There were some good things. We have to have the guys be themselves,” Cooper said.

The Nittany Lions move to 2-7 overall on the Season and will continue in their series against Maryland starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday and 4 p.m. Monday.

Austin Groft is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email him at