Penn State Scores 20 In Doubleheader Sweep of Niagara
It was a tale of two very different games for Penn State baseball during their doubleheader Saturday against Niagara at Medlar Field. Penn State won both, the first by a score of 4-1 and the second by a score of 16-4, but the two couldn’t have been more different.
Niagara wasted no time getting on the board in the first game as a two out single off the bat of Taylor Hackett plated the game’s first run in the top of the first.
Nabholz struggled with his control early, which led to Penn State manager Rob Cooper pulling the freshman after just two innings of work.
Sal Biasi took over for Nabholz and tossed five shutout innings while only allowing three hits.
The Nittany Lions pulled even in the third. With runners on the corners, Conlin Hughes stroked a two-out infield single, plating Jim Haley.
The next scoring outburst would come in the bottom of the fifth when Jim Haley drove in James Coates after a leadoff walk and stolen base. The Nittany Lions loaded the bases later in the inning, but Christian Helsel flied out to center, ending the threat.
Niagara had issues all game with runners in scoring position, stranding 13 men on the basepaths.
With Biasi cruising on the mound, Penn State stroked back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the seventh. The next batter Tyler Kendall hit a sacrifice fly, giving Penn State a 3-1 lead. Two batters later Willie Burger’s two out single brought Colin Hughes home.
Rob Cooper brought in closer Jack Anderson for a six-out save, and the Nittany Lions cruised to a 4-1 victory.
The second game started well for Penn State, with Justin Hangenman retiring the opening frame without incident.
In the bottom of the first, Penn state would bat around the order and score 6 runs without getting a hit, taking advantage of dismal Niagara pitching. Purple Eagles starter Daniel Procopio lasted just two thirds of an inning, walking four and hitting two batters. The next Niagara pitcher Robert Wilson faced just one batter, and walking a run in.
Jordan Parranto stopped the bleeding in the bottom of the first, but went on to allow 5 earned runs while hitting two batters over his two innings of work.
The lack of control among the Niagara pitchers led to seven Penn State batters being hit by pitches throughout the game.
Justin Hangenman had a solid outing for the Nittany Lions, going 6 innings and allowing four earned runs while garnering five strikeouts.
Scoring in each of the first six innings, Penn State held a comfortable lead the entire game.
Every Penn State started reached base at least once, led by freshman Willie Burger who went four-for-four with three RBIs and two walks on the day.
“Any one of us that gets up in a certain situation, we have trust in.” said Burger, who was at bat with the bases loaded four times.
After the game, Cooper spoke about Willie Burger’s drive.
“Willie is a true freshman that really loves to play. He loves to compete,” Cooper said. “I remember during the recruiting process he was like ‘coach, I just want to play and help us win.’”
Penn State’s bullpen was lights out, and Jordan Fagnano closed out the 16-4 Nittany Lion victory.
The wins moved Penn State to 7-10 on the year, while Niagara fell to 3-17. The Nittany Lions return to action Tuesday night when they welcome West Virginia to Medlar Field for the first of a two-game set.
John McHugh is a junior studying broadcast bournalism. You can contact John at email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
A Long Island native, John McHugh has known that he wanted to pursue sports broadcasting from a young age. Since then he has seized every opportunity he can, coming to Penn State and doing extensive work with ComRadio and other campus media organizations.
In addition to play-by-play, beat writing, and podcasting at ComRadio, John is currently the host of The Fast Lane, Penn State’s only NASCAR talk show, and ComRadio Country Countdown.
In the professional world, John has interned in the Sports Department and News 12 Long Island, in the news department at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia in the summer of 2016. He has also written for the Automobile Association of America (AAA) Northeast’s website and Car and Travel magazine for the past three summers.