After hanging with No. 10 TCU ( 33-12, 11-7 Big 12) for the better part of 15 innings during Saturday evening’s doubleheader, Rob Cooper’s Nittany Lions returned to Medlar Field for the third and final game of the series.
Penn State (25-23, 10-7 Big Ten) and the Horned Frogs were all square through seven innings, but Jim Schlossnagle’s club hadn’t dropped a game all season when leading after eight. The streak wouldn’t be broken Sunday afternoon, as TCU scored four unanswered runs in the last two innings to bring home a 9-5 victory and the series sweep.
How It Happened
The Horned Frogs dipped deep into their bullpen for the second game in a row, as starter Mitchell Traver gave them two innings of planned work before a quartet of relievers took care of Penn State’s upset hopes down the stretch. Senior Preston Guillory, who came on for two outs in game one, went 2.2 innings and picked up the win.
Freshman phenom Justin Hagenman didn’t look like his usual dominant self, but that’s somewhat to be expected against the high-powered Horned Frogs. Hagenman surrendered eight hits and five earned runs, while striking out three over the course of five innings.
TCU struck first in the top of the third, as freshman left fielder Josh Watson smoked a two-run homer over the right-center wall, but the Nittany Lions responded with a run in the home half of the next three innings. The Horned Frogs scored a trio of runs in the top of the fifth thanks to an RBI single by Luken Baker, a wild pitch by Hagenman that plated catcher Evan Skoug, and an Elliott Barzilli double down the left-field line that allowed Baker to touch home, making it 5-2 TCU.
Senior left fielder Greg Guers got the Penn State bench on its feet by belting a solo home run to right center off of Sean Wymer, closing the gap to 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth. The Nittany Lions struck again in the seventh, as senior Tyler Kendall singled in Jim Haley and Guers scored on a fielder’s choice. With things knotted up at 5-5 in the eighth, a throwing error by second baseman Christian Helsel prompted Ryan Merrill to swipe home. TCU exploded for another three runs in the top of the ninth to seal the series sweep with a 9-5 win.
Player Of The Game
Elliott Barzilli | Junior | Third Baseman
The Los Angeles native was one of three Horned Frogs to tally at least three hits Sunday, going 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs.
The Nittany Lions will rest up before traveling to the Steel City for a Wednesday non-conference showdown with Pitt at 6 p.m. at the Petersen Sports Complex. Penn State shut out the Panthers 7-0 when these two programs met earlier this season on April 5 at Medlar Field.