PITTSBURGH — Penn State’s productive offense and strong bullpen led by freshman reliever Tyler Shingledecker prove to be too much for Pitt, leading the Nittany Lions to a 7-3 victory, handing the Panthers their fifth straight loss.
Penn State’s offense was led by freshman Justin Williams who on the day went 3 for 5 with five runs batted in. Coming into the day Williams only had two at-bats through Penn State’s first 12 games and both of the at-bats were strikeouts.
The Panthers really never had a chance after starting pitcher Cole Bartels was removed early in the game as the bullpen of Penn State stifled the Pitt batters. Penn State was led by its outstanding Freshman reliever Tyler Shingledecker, who pitched four innings, recording four strikeouts and only allowing one earned run. Fellow reliever Kyle Virbitsky pitched the final 2 2/3 innings, and did not allow a run.
“You tip your cap to the left hander,” coach Mike Bell said after the game. “He did a good job of coming in and neutralizing some of our left-handed hitters. It’s not about striking everybody out, but when the ball is put in play and he did a good job of putting the ball in play and they made the plays when he did that. They do play some good shifts, and we hit into some of those. It’s just good baseball. More importantly, they got the lead and pitched with the lead by attacking the zone. They minimized damage by not giving up free passes and like you said between the left hander and the big guy at the end they did a really good job.”
After a scoreless first inning, freshman Justin Williams registered his first collegiate hit, scoring two runs, which gave Penn State an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
The Panthers were able to battle their way back and tie the game at 2-2 on a Gregory Ryan, Jr. single in the bottom of the second inning, scoring Nico Popa, and a successful rundown by Ron Washington Jr. in the bottom of the third inning where he was able to stay alive long enough between first and second base to allow Connor Perry to steal and score from third base.
Penn State responded right back, adding two more runs in the top of the fifth inning, giving the Lions a 4-2 lead. Kris Kremer grounded out, scoring Jordan Bowersox from third base and Mason Nadeau had a sacrifice fly to left field, which scored Parker Hendershot.
Penn State added another insurance run in the top of the sixth inning, as Gavin Homer doubled in another run extending the lead to 5-2.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Pitt was able to salvage a run on a fielders choice, scoring David Yanni to cut the lead to 5-3.
However, after each team went scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, Penn State’s Williams put the game out of reach with a single that scored two more running increasing the lead to 7-3 and that ended up being the final score.
The official stats for Penn State’s starting pitcher Cole Bartels were not very impressive. He went 2 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs.
For Pitt, starting pitcher junior Christian Camacho went three innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs. Pitt’s bullpen did not play as well as Penn State’s, as they combined to give up five runs on seven hits.
After a tough loss to a rival like Penn State Pitt will be right back on the field tomorrow where they look to bounce back.
“We are going to have a short memory about this one but we are going to clean up the things we need too,” Pitt shortstop David Yanni said. “We need to play better defensively and execute pitches when we need too, and like I said before be better with two strikes, get better at being aggressive in good hitter’s counts and things will fall into place.”
Wednesday’s matchup for the Panthers is against Youngstown State. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.