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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State moved the tying and go-ahead runs into scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, but Ohio State hung on for a 1-0 victory in the first game of a Big Ten baseball series Friday evening in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Ohio State (22-10, 4-3 Big Ten) took advantage of an errant pickoff throw in the top of the fifth inning for the game’s first and only run. With runners on first and second, Penn State (7-20, 1-9 Big Ten) RHP Justin Hagenman (Voorhees, N.J.) (2-4) attempted to pickoff the runner at first, but his throw sailed wide and bounced off the tarp into right field, allowing Dominic Canzone to score from second.
The play was the only blemish of Hagenman’s night, as the unearned run, four hits and two walks were all he yielded while striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings pitched.
The Nittany Lions outhit the Buckeyes, 8-6, with leadoff batter and center fielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) reaching base in all four plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a double, walk and two stolen bases. His double came in the bottom of the ninth after shortstop Logan Goodnight (Wheeling, W.Va.) singled with two outs. Goodnight was the only other Nittany Lion with multiple hits, going 2-for-4.
For Ohio State, first baseman Conner Pohl went 2-for-4, while designated hitter Brady Cherry and centerfielder Dillon Dingler doubled and second baseman Kobie Foppe tripled.
Both teams struggled mightily with runners on base and runners in scoring position, with both going just 2-for-15 in the former. Ohio State stranded 13 runners total and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, while Penn State stranded 11 and went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Ohio State loaded the bases in the second inning, but Hagenman worked out of the jam with a strikeout and line out to short. Penn State had two reach in the bottom of the second and third innings, but Ohio State turned inning-ending double plays both times.
The Buckeyes went ahead in the top of the fifth and Penn State threatened to get on the board in the bottom half, loading the bases with two outs, but RHP Kyle Michalik (1-1) relieved starter LHP Connor Curlis and induced a fly out to end the inning. Curlis had worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and four walks with two strikeouts, while Michalik earned the win facing just four batters and retiring two.
Michalik struck out the first Penn State batter of the sixth but allowed two to reach on a Curtis Robison (Dillsburg, Pa.) single and then an error. However, RHP Thomas Waning relieved him and retired the next two batters to keep the Lions off the board.
RHP Seth Kinker (3) then blanked Penn STate for the final three innings. Goodnight got to him twice in the seventh and ninth innings, leading off the seventh with a single and reaching third before being stranded, and then starting a two-out rally attempt in the ninth with another base hit. Kinker was perfect in the eighth and then induced a fly out to end it in the ninth after Goodnight and Bowersox moved into scoring position following Bowersox’s double.
LHP Marko Boricich (Chicago, Ill.) gave the Nittany Lions an opportunity to stay in the game, holding the Buckeyes scoreless in 2 1/3 innings after taking over with one on and one out in the seventh. Boricich got in trouble in the ninth, loading the bases, so RHP Mason Mellott (State College, Pa.) came on for the final out.
Penn State and Ohio State will conclude the series Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. The second game will start 30-45 minutes after the completion of the first game.
Tickets for the 2018 Penn State baseball season, presented by Family Clothesline, are available online at GoPSUsports.com or by calling the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park ticket office at 814-272-1711.
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Notes: Freshman Parker Hendershot registered his first career Big Ten hit in the second inning … Penn State is now 4-9 in 13 one-run games this season … Penn State’s 13 one-run games are its most since playing in 14 one-run games in 2012.