BASE: Penn State Walks Off Against Bucknell in Extras
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – Penn State was in desperate need of a spark in their home opener against Bucknell as they entered the game on a three-game losing streak. Second baseman Conlin Hughes turned out to be the spark as he scored the winning run on a sacrifice bunt by Willie Burger and a throwing error by Bucknell pitcher Mike Stephens in a 4-3 victory.
Hughes explained how happy he was when he saw the ball slip away from the first baseman in the bottom of the 10th.
“It’s great,” Hughes said. “I immediately started fist pumping and yelling at Willie. It was awesome.”
That was not the only highlight of his night, as he went 3-4 with a double and a triple and scored another run earlier in the game. His bat at the top of the lineup provided the Nittany Lions the offense they needed to get their seventh win of the season.
The pitching was the star for Penn State on the night as they only surrendered eight hits and three runs, making it hard for Bucknell to get their bats rolling. Redshirt freshman Eric Mock got the first start of his collegiate career, but played like he had been pitching in college for years.
The right-hander threw four shutout innings, allowing a hit and a walk and struck out five. Mock said it was good to be back on the mound after having Tommy John surgery last year.
“These first couple starts have been emotional for me,” Mock said. “I’m starting to find my pitch. It feels great to be out there.”
He only threw 44 pitches in his outing and looked in command of all his pitches. Mock wanted to stay in the game longer, but coach Rob Cooper had him on a pitch count and wanted to keep him fresh for the weekend.
Nick Distasio picked up the win for the Nittany Lions after he pitched 2.1 innings at the end of the game, giving up a run and striking out five. While the run in the top of the ninth forced the game to go to extra innings, he was in complete control of the Bucknell hitters in his outing.
The offense for the Nittany Lions struggled to get going offensively as the team only mustered six hits, with half of them being attributed to Hughes. Jordan Bowersox was the only other starter to get a hit as he went 1-4 on the night.
Freshman Braxton Giavedoni came in for the injured Mason Nadeau and gave the Nittany Lion offense a spark as he went 2-2 with a double and a run scored. Giavedoni’s play was huge as he provided Hughes with the needed security blanket at the top of the order.
The win moved Penn State’s record to 7-11 on the season and stretched Penn State’s winning streak to 13 against teams from Pennsylvania. The Nittany Lions have a four game stretch coming up this weekend against Columbia and will need their offense to stay hot to contend in those games.
Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism