Spartans Roll by Nittany Lions in Series Opener
UNIVERISTY PARK, Pa.- Entering Friday night’s matchup against Michigan State, the Penn State Nittany Lions looked to continue their longest winning streak since 2000, but Spartan’s starter Cam Vieaux had other intentions in mind. The Spartans pitching staff blanked the Nittany Lions (17-13, 4-3 Big Ten) in a 7-0 route.
“A couple plays here and there and it’s a 3-0 game instead of a 7-0 game,” Penn State head coach Rob Cooper said. “I like the way our kids have been playing and competing, but tonight they outplayed us in all facets.”
Taylor Lehman got the start for Penn State, but the Spartans (20-5, 4-0 Big Ten) didn’t waste any time getting on the board. First baseman Jordan Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a 2-for-2 night, and scored on a two out Brandon Hughes single to left field in the first inning. Penn State tried to retaliate in the bottom of the first after Conlin Hughes and Nick Riotto singled, but the pair were stranded at second and third to end the inning.
After the first, Michigan State’s Vieaux was lights out, allowing only one more hit and striking out six.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Michigan State,” Cooper said. “Cam Vieaux, their starting pitcher, can really pitch and he did a good job tonight. I don’t think the overall score is really indicative of that game.”
Lehman didn’t have his best stuff, allowing four runs on 10 hits in 3.1 innings. Dakota Forsyth came in for Penn State and kept them within reach, pitching 4.2 innings and only giving up four hits and two runs, neither earned. Jared Fagnano finished out the final inning, giving up one hit and one run on a wild pitch.
Penn State couldn’t figure out Michigan State’s trio of Vieaux, Dakota Mekkes, and Joe Mockbee. Vieaux went seven strong innings allowing only five hits and striking out six, while the bullpen combined for just one hit and five strikeouts to retire the Nittany Lions.
The Spartans, whose top five hitters are batting over .300, finished with 15 total hits, with each hitter in the lineup recording at least one.
The lone bright spot for the Nittany Lions was outfielder Nick Riotto, who went 2-for-4 on the night.
“I don’t really think about the batting average at all to be honest with you,” Riotto, a junior, said. “I don’t look at the board, I don’t look at stats, but I mean I would trade two hits for a win.”
The Nittany Lions continue this series on Sunday with a double header beginning at 11 am at Medlar Field.
Brandon Pelter is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. To contact him, email email@example.com.