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|Medlar Field at Lubrano Park | University Park, Pa. | 1572|
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State RHP Justin Hagenman (Voorhees, N.J) held Nebraska to two runs over eight innings and the Nittany Lions brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth, but No. 22 Nebraska hung on for a 3-1 win in Big Ten baseball action Friday night in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Penn State (18-36, 4-19 Big Ten) did not have an answer for Nebraska (33-18-1, 15-7-1 Big Ten) left fielder and closer Luis Alvarado (10), who scored all three runs and came in from the outfield to pitch the final 1 1/3 innings for the save, yielding just a walk. Second baseman Jake Schleppenbach drove in Alvarado with base hits in the fifth and seventh innings, and Alvarado hit a solo home run in the ninth.
Hagenman (1-11), who is averaging less than two runs of support in his last 10 starts, suffered yet another hard-luck loss. He matched his season-high of eight innings pitched for the second time in as many starts and for the third time this year, and allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
RHP Derek Burkamper (6-4) held Penn State scoreless in five innings of work, allowing just six hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
Right fielder Braxton Giavedoni (Punxsutawney, Pa.) went 3-for-4 to lead the Penn State offense, but no runs resulted. Left fielder Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.) drove in centerfielder Mason Nadeau (Lansdale, Pa.) in the eighth for the lone Nittany Lion score.
Penn State missed a chance to score in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Riotto and first baseman Willie Burger (Lancaster, Pa.) led the inning off with singles and were sacrificed into scoring position. Burkamper was able to get a pop-up and strikeout though to strand them both.
Nebraska was first on the board the very next frame. Alvarado led off with a double, advanced to third on a deep fly to right and then scored on a base hit with the infield in by Schleppenbach. Another single gave the Huskers runners on the corners but Hagenman retired the next two to limit the damage.
The duo teamed up again in their next turns in the batter’s box. Alvarado led the seventh off with a walk, stole second and scored on a one-out single by Schleppenbach.
Nadeau led the eighth off with a bloop single to left and advanced to third on a one-out single by Giavedoni, allowing him to score for Penn State on a fielder’s choice hit into by Riotto.
RHP Nick Distasio (Oley, Pa.) came in for the ninth for the Lions, and his only blemish was a one-out solo shot by Alvarado.
The two-run deficit put Penn State in an identical position as the previous night, down two runs going into the bottom of the ninth, but the Nittany Lions were unable to repeat their walk-off feat. An error, walk and bobble on a potential double play ball gave the Nittany Lion a pair of chances with the winning run at the plate, but Alvarado was able to get out of trouble.
The Saturday season finale includes several promotions. Members of the Penn State football team will sign autographs for the Nittany Lion faithful on the stadium concourse from when gates open at 10 a.m. until first pitch at 11 a.m. The Big Ten Championship trophy and a championship ring will also be on the concourse for fans to take pictures with. Additionally, the Penn State athletics marketing department will have its annual Spring Cleaning promotion, handing out extra giveaways and prizes from previous Nittany Lion contests across all sports. It will also be Senior Day, as the baseball team’s senior class will be honored on field postgame, and Alumni Day, as members of the Penn State Alumni Association can show their membership card and receive up to four tickets at a discounted price of $2.00 per ticket.
Tickets can be purchased at GoPSUsports.com or by calling the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park ticket office at 814-272-1711.
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