Penn State and Northwestern Game Suspended to Start Weekend Series
The weather warmed up enough in Happy Valley for Penn State to begin its series-opening matchup against the Northwestern Wildcats, but mother nature still wouldn’t let Penn State get in a full baseball game. Lightning stopped play with the Blue and White leading 6-4 with one out in the bottom of the eighth.
The Nittany Lions came into Friday night raking, with junior Jordan Bowersox and freshman Parker Hendershot both working on six-game hit streaks while Ryan Sloniger owned four multi-hit games in his last nine contests.
Penn State also scored five or more runs in five of its last six games, including a 13-hit game against Mount Saint Mary’s on April 18 and a season-high 14-hit game Saturday against Michigan.
The success at the plate continued on Friday.
Hendershot and Bowersox both secured multiple hits to lengthen their hitting streaks to seven games while Sloniger went two for three with a walk and a run.
In all, Penn State scored six runs on nine hits and five walks while only striking out three times and leaving five runners on base.
Also big for the Nittany Lions was a quality start for Justin Hagenman, who seemed unphased after getting rocked against Michigan his most recent time out. On April 20, Hagenman allowed nine runs on six hits in one and one-third innings pitched against the Wolverines.
Friday, Hagenman used a biting curveball to get Wildcat hitters chasing outside the strike zone and racked up eight strikeouts in eight total innings. His control was also spot-on. He threw 74 strikes on 110 pitches and didn’t walk a single batter.
When asked what went well for Hagenman during his eight-inning outing, Penn State coach Rob Cooper rattled off a laundry list of successes.
“Command, pounding the strike zone, able to go in, keeping the ball down and being able to repeat his off-speed stuff for strikes,” Cooper said.
Cooper also lauded Hagenman for coming back strong from that rough outing a week ago.
“The thing about Justin Hagenman is he’s a competitor and always has been. That start last time for him, that was just really out of the norm for him, but that kind of start is going to happen to every pitcher at some point,” Cooper said. “Tonight we got exactly what I thought we would from [Hagenman].”
Cooper said Hagenman was also handicapped by, “pretty much unacceptable,” defense from the Nittany Lions. “If we play a little bit of defense, and, you know, help him out, I think the game’s over -- final score’s probably 6-1, I’m at home right now,” Cooper said in the Medlar Field press box as lightning continued to flash across the sky.
Penn State and Northwestern occupy the basement of the Big Ten standings – each is 1-14 in conference play – and both would need a miracle to make the Big Ten tournament. The top eight-of-thirteen teams make the tournament, and Iowa (7-6-0) currently sits on the bubble. Penn State has just nine conference games remaining while Northwestern will face Big Ten foes just six more times on the season.
The Nittany Lions and Wildcats would also have to leapfrog Maryland, Nebraska and Rutgers to make a trip to the postseason.
Penn State and Northwestern will play the remainder of Friday night’s matchup at 1 p.m. Saturday before the beginning of their already scheduled 2 p.m. game.
Tyler Olson is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism, Political Science
Tyler Olson is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. He is a student in Centre County Report and a news director for CommRadio. In addition, Tyler covers hockey, basketball and baseball for CommRadio and is a columnist for the Daily Collegian.