Penn State falls in Game 3 against Rutgers in blowout fashion
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After splitting the doubleheader on Friday, Penn State struggled in the rubber match losing to Rutgers.
The Nittany Lions fell against the Scarlet Knights 20-6, in a game where Rutgers tallied an impressive 25 hits.
Rutgers came into its first series of conference play boasting the top batting average in the Big Ten and that was evident right from the first pitch.
Facing freshman Chase Renner, who was making his first collegiate start, Rutgers jumped out to a three-run advantage after the first inning.
Ryan Lasko opened the game with a stand-up double and after a single by Nick Cimillo, the Scarlet Knights had two runners in scoring position.
The first runs of the contest came in the next at-bat when Evan Sleight laced a single into center field, scoring both Lasko and Cimillo.
Rutgers continued to pour it on in the opening inning when Garrett Callaghan brought home Sleight on an RBI single, making it a 3-0 game.
The Nittany Lions had the tough task of facing Nathan Florence, who retired the side 1-2-3 in the first inning.
After just one inning from Renner, head coach Rob Cooper went to his bullpen bringing in Jordan Morales.
Morales experienced the same struggles Renner did as Morales gave up a solo home run to Lasko, extending the lead to four.
The pitching struggles continued as still in the second inning Danny DiGeorgio singled which drove in Cimillo and after two innings Rutgers had a five-run advantage.
Florence continued to dominate against the blue and white hitters, throwing three consecutive 1-2-3 innings to open the contest.
Rutgers added to its advantage in the fourth after Tony Santa Maria singled, which brought home Cimillo and DiGeorgio.
Cooper mentioned after the game that he did not believe his team “executed pitches where they needed to be.”
Down by seven runs, Matt Wood laced a single into right field which marked the first hit of the game for Penn State.
Rutgers added another four runs in the top of the fifth inning, making it an 11-0 game. Despite being down 11 runs, the Nittany Lions tried to claw their way back into the contest.
CJ Pittaro got the blue and white going offense going, tallying a 2-run single with Tayven Kelley and Jay Harry coming around to score.
Just two batters Johnny Piacentino came just inches away from a three-run home run but motored his way around the bases for a stand-up triple.
Piacentino came around to score after Wood recorded an RBI single, making it an 11-5 game heading into the sixth inning.
Wood has been one of the hottest Nittany Lions and Cooper has credited Wood’s approach for his success.
“[Wood]’s a really good player. He’s gonna go in with a real approach and he’s gonna stick to it,” Cooper said. “He’s gonna compete the same as if a game was 5-5 the ninth, or we’re up 10-nothing or down 10-nothing.”
Penn State cut the deficit to five after CJ Pittaro tallied his third RBI of the game.
In Saturday’s contest, the blue and white kept its bullpen fresh, using nine different pitchers throughout the game.
The standout reliever of the game was Carson Kohls, who came in during the top of the sixth and did a solid job of keeping his team in the game.
Kohls retired the first five batters he faced and pitched an impressive 2 ⅔ innings, which was his longest outing this season.
Cooper had high praise for his reliever after the game.
“We needed it. It gave us a chance to climb back in the game,” Cooper said. “He had great body language, great tempo, he attacked the strike zone, and got ahead of the guys.”
After Kohls was pulled from the game, the bullpen exploded and gave up nine unanswered runs as Penn State lost in blowout fashion.
Both Santa Maria and DiGeorgio led the way tallying five hits while Cimillo and Lasko had four. Santa Maria tallied a game-high four RBI’s and Cimillo, Lasko and Richie Schiekofer all had three.
Penn State will take the field next on Tuesday when it squares off against Pitt at Medlar Field. Piacentino is confident that his team will bounce back after the blowout loss.
“Every single player is really selfless, we all believe in each other,” Piacentino said. “We just try to get the next guy up, and then just go from there and let everyone do their job.”
Molly White is a second-year majoring in kinesiology. To contact her, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Second Year / Kinesiology - Movement Science
Molly White is a second year student studying Kinesiology with a concentration in Movement Science at Penn State University Park. She is from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, and is looking to pursue a career in sports, currently exploring other interests in the field outside of her current major, looking to gain a more broad experience and gain more knowledge.