Penn State Escapes with 6-5 Victory, Spiegel Hits Walk-Off Single to Down Maryland
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The weather was fantastic, and so was the baseball at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park Sunday afternoon between Penn State and Maryland. After surrendering a two-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, the Nittany Lions answered with the game-winner in the final frame to defeat the Terrapins 6-5.
Catcher Josh Spiegel secured the win for the Nittany Lions with a walk-off single into the left-centerfield gap to bring home Johnny Piacentino from third base. Penn State had loaded the bases without forfeiting an out.
“The guys had great energy,” Penn State head coach Rob Cooper said about his team’s attitude. “They were excited to play. They were confident.”
The win did not come easy for the guys in white, as Penn State fell behind early and had to claw its way back.
The Terrapins claimed a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. Finally, freshman Tayven Kelly put the Nittany Lions on the board with a two-run double to cut the Maryland lead to one.
Penn State was right back to work in its half of the fifth inning as third baseman Justin Williams delivered on a solo home run to even the score at three.
Spiegel gave Penn State its first lead of the ballgame with an opposite-field single to right, resulting in freshman Jay Harry coming home to score in the bottom of the seventh.
After entering the game as a substitute in the late innings, junior Kris Kremer kicked the eighth inning off with a Nittany Lions walk. Kremer then stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and eventually scored on a Maryland wild pitch.
Cooper acknowledged Kremer’s critical baserunning.
“It’s actually the biggest thing I talked about in the locker room after the game with our team,” Cooper said.
The great baserunning by the Hershey native helped Penn State gain a 5-3 lead entering the ninth. But the Terrapins answered with an RBI triple from centerfielder Chris Alleyne and an RBI double off the bat of Matthew Shaw to knot it at five.
The bottom of the ninth was all Nittany Lions. Piacentino led off with a single followed by a Williams walk. Harry was hit by a pitch to load the bases, which paved the path to Spiegel’s walk-off single.
Penn State’s pitching duo—made up of Conor Larkin and Tyler Shingledecker—proved to have good movement on the mound. Larkin went 6 2/3 innings striking out eight Terps and allowing three runs total on seven hits.
Shingledecker took over for the final two-plus innings. The hard-throwing lefty gave up two runs on three hits while sitting down four Maryland players via strikeout.
The win for the Nittany Lions sets up a rubber match on Monday with the Terps. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Evan Popalis is a junior studying broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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