Penn State Baseball Falls just Short against Bucknell
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. –– Penn State baseball suffered a heartbreaking 8-7 loss against Bucknell to kick off its busy five-game week.
The Nittany Lions pitching staff had no answer for the big bats of the Bison offense and the visiting team took advantage of their opportunities.
“I don’t think we competed well at all today,” head coach Rob Cooper said. “I don’t think we showed up ready to go.”
Cooper’s thoughts showed during the game as Penn State starting pitcher Tommy Molsky gave up three earned runs in the first inning.
The Nittany Lions responded well to the Bucknell offense all game and made up three-run deficits twice. They did so in the first and second innings behind RBIs from three different Nittany Lion players.
The kryptonite for Penn State was the big innings that Bucknell had, as the Bison responded to the Penn State offense with another three-run inning.
The Bison only scored runs in three separate innings but those numbers included three runs in the first, three in the third and two in the eighth.
Penn State’s pitching would eventually settle in and hold the Bison scoreless for four straight innings while they mounted a comeback.
The comeback kids would once again pull it off as the Nittany Lions would tie the game in the seventh inning after Tayven Kelley ripped a line drive that got past the center fielder and went to the wall to score two runs.
Kelley turned on the jets and ignored his third base coach as he headed for the inside-the-park homerun but was thrown out at home plate.
“I missed the sign to stop,” Kelley said. “I was just trying to run as fast as I could and I’m trying to get another run.”
That potential run would end up being a game changer for the Nittany Lions as Bucknell answered the big inning from Penn State with two runs of its own.
Penn State headed into its final at-bats down two runs and the heart of the order up to bat.
With one out in the inning, clean-up hitter Josh Spiegel hit a bomb to the deepest part of the ballpark in left center field and slid into third with an RBI triple to put the Nittany Lions down just one run.
Another walk would be earned by Penn State, but the dream was crushed right after, as Kelley flew out to right field to end the game and bring them just short.
“We had stuff that we’re good enough to execute on and we weren’t ready to do that,” Cooper said.
The bright spot of the day for Penn State was junior catcher Matt Wood.
Wood reached base on all five of his at-bats in the game, drawing three walks, being hit by a pitch and having an RBI single.
His single in the second inning extended his hit streak to 20 games which is good for third longest in Penn State history.
“I’ve just been working hard to stick with my approach and try to do anything to help the team win,” Wood said.
Cooper preached about Wood’s consistency at the plate and said that he is never “out of an at-bat” when he’s hitting.
The Nittany Lions will attempt to shake this one off as they look forward to a quick turnaround with their next game against West Virginia starting Wednesday.
“I’m just looking to see if we compete and play the game the right way,” Cooper said. “If we do that, we’ll be fine long term.”
Thomas English is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.