Wood Injury Complicates Disappointing Campaign, Penn State Falls 7-1 to Maryland

Story posted March 22, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Matthew McLaughlin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It was a disappointing affair on Monday afternoon in Medlar Field for the Penn State Nittany Lions as they were defeated by the Maryland Terrapins 7-1.

The biggest takeaway from this game for the Nittany Lions was starting catcher Matt Wood getting cut down in a collision at the plate. In the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded, a chopper was hit to Justin Williams, who flipped it to Wood for the force out at home.

Although the Nittany Lions recorded the out, the Maryland runner slid into home and appeared to injure Wood’s ankle. No official diagnosis has been announced. Head coach Rob Cooper declined to comment on Wood’s injury or his status moving forward in the postgame press conference.

With the Nittany Lions already struggling to generate offense, the long-term impact of Wood’s injury could completely derail an already disappointing season.

From a pitching perspective, this was a mixed bag of impressions. Junior righty Kyle Virbitsky got the start today and played fairly well, giving up only two earned runs and punching out seven batters. Meanwhile, relievers Ralph Gambino and Jordan Henline flashed glimpses of their potentials, but Jordan Freilich struggled mightily in relief of Virbitsky.

In total, Freilich allowed four runs—three of them earned—on two hits and four walks in just a pair of innings. The lack of consistency from the starting rotation and the bullpen have haunted this team throughout the season, but as of right now, there aren’t many more routes to go.

With that being said, the offense hasn’t necessarily helped either. On the day, no player obtained more than one hit, and only half the lineup could muster a good piece of hitting against Maryland pitcher Jason Savacool.

As a result of the loss, the Nittany Lions fall to 3-8 on the year. They haven’t won a series against Maryland since 2017, but Cooper remains focused on the positives.

“We’ve got a really young team, and they’re trying to learn how to do certain things,” Cooper said. “I thought we got some great pitching from Conor Larkin and some other guys. Virbitsky did a decent job today and gave us a solid start. Offensively, we showed a lot of maturity and a lot of toughness yesterday and parts on Saturday. We just didn’t do enough.”

It is important to note that infielder Gavin Homer is the only eligible senior on this entire squad, so gaining the experience of playing and maturing in development will be huge for this team going forward, although that doesn’t make the present any easier.

Penn State will take the field again this coming weekend for a three-game series with Michigan. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 4 p.m.


Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mem6936@psu.edu.