Penn State Scores 7 Through 4 Innings, Routs Bucknell 8-1
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lions (19-14) defeated the Bucknell Bison (14-21) by a score of 8-1 on Wednesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Penn State rode a strong pitching performance and a few big innings to their victory in front of a slightly larger crowd than normal, due to it being a “dollar dog” night.
The Nittany Lions would get on the board first when Bucknell starting pitcher Christian Tailor would run into some control issues. With runners on first and second he would throw a wild pitch that advanced the runners a base, before hanging a curveball to left fielder Greg Guers, who would hit a single into right field, plating both baserunners.
Bucknell would then go to their bullpen to try and quell the Lions offense. It wouldn’t work, as Penn State would score twice more in the inning pushing Tailor’s final stat line to three runs on three hits over two innings.
The Penn State offense wouldn’t stop there. The Nittany Lions would follow up their four run third with a three-run fourth inning to push their lead out to 7-0 after 4. Through the first four innings, Bucknell pitchers would throw three wild pitches, and hit three batters. This is evidence of their command struggles early, which cost them dearly.
Penn State starting pitcher Nick Hedge would turn in an excellent performance, going four shutout innings only allowing two hits. Hedge has been one of the Lions’ more consistent pitchers turning in his third consecutive solid outing.
After the game head coach Rob Cooper spoke to how important it is to have such a consistently good pitcher start games for his team.
“It’s awesome,” Cooper said. “You go back to where he was about a year and a half ago and he wasn’t the same guy. He’s really put in a lot of mental work, and it’s fun to watch it pay off.”
The Bison would get a run back by way of a deep sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth, but would strand runners on the corners after an Eli Nabholz strikeout. Penn State would nearly respond in kind advancing a runner to third with only one out in the bottom half of the inning, but would ultimately fail to bring him home.
The pitchers would gain control of the game and wouldn’t allow another run until the bottom of the eighth when the Nittany Lions would look to strike.
Star junior Jim Haley would lead it off with a double right down the third base line bringing up Greg Guers, who was three for three entering the at bat. Guers would hit a single through the hole in the right side of the infield which would score Haley who is quick around the base paths. Guers would be thrown out by the catcher trying to advance to second on the throw home, but nonetheless, Guers would have a career high four-for-four night at the plate.
Guers spoke to the media after the game where he looked back on what worked so well for him.
“It was pretty lucky, but that’s baseball,” Guers remarked. “Some days you’ll line out, others you’ll hit a couple of bloopers like what happened today.”
Junior pitcher Tom Mullin would come on in the ninth to finish off the game for the Nittany Lions. Following three fly ball outs, the Nittany Lions would come away with the 8-1 victory.
Of note, junior left fielder Nick Riotto extended his hitting streak to a career high 10 games.
The Lions next take the field for a weekend series at Northwestern starting on Friday night.
Zach Green is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. He can be reached on twitter @zgreen05 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.