Penn State Bests Michigan 5-3, Completes Weekend Sweep
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon at Medlar Field as Penn State took down Michigan State 5-3 to complete the weekend sweep. It was the first time since 2016 that Penn State has swept a Big Ten opponent. The win puts Penn State at 12-18, while Michigan State falls to 12-20.
“I’m extremely proud of our guys; obviously it’s been a long time since we have gotten a sweep in conference,” head coach Rob Cooper said. “The players did it, they played hard this weekend, they played well, we got contributions from a lot of different guys.”
Kyle Virbitsky got the start on the mound for the Nittany Lions. The junior turned in another solid start, going six innings and giving three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. Virbitsky, despite giving up three runs in the fifth, did an excellent job of keeping the Spartans batters off-balance.
“Virbitsky came right back after giving up that three and got right back at it,” Cooper said about his pitcher. “I was just happy that our team picked up Kyle Virbitsky because he has been giving us great starts. We’ve cheated him out of a win or two, so I’m just really proud of our guys picking him up.”
Penn State got the scoring going in the bottom of the first. Johnny Piacentino doubled off the center-field wall, bringing home Gavin Homer and putting Penn State up 1-0.
After four scoreless innings, Michigan State took advantage of a Homer error and scored three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. However, that was all the Spartans would get, as the Penn State bullpen shut the door.
Logan Evans was the first to come out of the bullpen, going two-thirds before Hutch Gagnon pitched the next inning and a third. Finally, Mason Mellott came in for the save.
Penn State responded with three unanswered runs. Matt Wood drove in two on a double in the bottom of the fifth. Then Homer bounced it over the head of the third baseman to score Parker Hendershot and give the Diamond Lions the 4-3 lead in the sixth.
Penn State added another run in the bottom of the eighth. Cole Bartels got on with a single, next stealing second—his second stolen base of the day. Homer came up after Jay Harry was hit by a pitch and drove Bartels home.
The Nittany Lions finished the day batting .323 as a team. Penn State did well when it had runners in scoring position; going 4-for-14 (.286).
Penn State will look to ride this momentum as it travels to Iowa City for a series with Iowa. The series is set to go from May 7-9 with Game 1 set for Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Matthew Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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