Nittany Lions Get Swept By Elon


The Penn State baseball team traved to Elon, North Carolina this weekend for a three game series against the Elon Phoenix to open up the 127th season of Penn State baseball.

The program is looking for redemption this season after being below .500 for the second consecutive last year. Unfortunately for the men’s baseball team, this season got off to a rough start as the Nittany Lions dropped each of the three games this weekend against Elon.

Friday- Game 1: 

A 10-run deficit was too big of a hole for the Nittany Lions on Friday afternoon as they fell to Elon in the season opener 16-15 after scoring nine runs in the final two innings Friday before ultimately falling short.

Once a 6-5 Nittany Lions lead, Elon scored 11 unanswered runs in between the fifth and seventh innings on Friday. Starting pitcher Nick Hedge lasted three innings for the Nittany Lions, surrendering four earned runs (five total) on seven hits and one walk.

It took a while for the Nittany Lions to wake up their bats as they were held scoreless for the first three innings before jumping on Elon starter Michael Elefonte for six runs in the fourth inning.

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  • Shorstop Jim Haley lead the Lions offensively, as he went 4-for-6 on Friday afternoon while having four RBIs as well. Second baseman Taylor Skerpon also went 4-for-6 on Friday and had two RBIs. In total, the Nittany Lions went 18-for-46 (.391) along with five walks on Friday.

    Elon’s dangerous lineup however was too much for the Nittany Lions bullpen to handle as the Phoenix hit .547 on Friday with 23 hits in 42 at-bats. Elon’s top of the order did the most damage on the Penn State pitching staff as CF Quinn Bower, RF Ryan Cooper, 1B Casey Jones, and DH Chris King went a combined 13-for-19 with nine RBIs.

    RHP Dakota Forsyth relieved Hedge on Friday but allowed six runs himself on nine hits in three and third innings pitched. RHP Ryan Harper would try his best to stop the bleeding but only lasted a third of inning as he allowed five runs on seven hits and one walk.

    The Nittany Lions scored four runs in the eighth inning before adding on five in the ninth before Joe McGillicuddy retired the only batter he faced to end the game.

    Dakota Forsyth picked up the loss for the Nittany Lions.

    Saturday- Game 2:

    Penn Statecame out on Saturday looking for payback for Friday’s 16-15 loss however Elon had other ideas.

    The Nittany Lions lost the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Elon 7-2 as Elon starter Jake Stalzer lasted until the seventh inning only allowing a single earned run on two hits.

    The Penn State lineup that hit .391 on Friday would see that average drop to a dismal .068 batting average on Saturday as the Nittany Lions picked up just two hits in 28 at-bats in Saturday’s first game.

    Elon starter Jake Stalzer kept the Nittany Lions off balanced and more importantly off base only allowing six Nittany Lions (two hits, four walks) to reach base. Stalzer was also able to strikeout seven in the process.

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    Freshman pitcher Nick Distastio was able to get through three and two-thirds Saturday before being lifted by Rob Cooper. In his three and two-thirds innings pitched, Distastio allowed two earned runs (three total) on five hits and and three walks. Not a bad performance by the true freshman right-hander in his first career start.

    The Nittany Lions bullpen effort by Sal Biasi, Austin McMonagle, and Jack Anderson tried their best to keep Elon’s order off balanced but allowed five runs over their four and third innings pitched. Elon preseason All-American Casey Jones picked up where he left off on Friday as he reached base another three times in Saturday’s first contest while knocking in two.

    The Nittany Lions would pick up runs in the fifth off an error and a Ryan Richter homerun in the seventh but were silent for most of the day.

    Saturday- Game 3:

    The Nittany Lions had their bats waking up in game two of Saturday’s double header but their pitching staff continued to struggle as they fell to Elon in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader 11-6, officially getting swept by the Phoenix to start the 2015 campaign.

    The Phoenix would get off to a hot start for the second game on Saturday, picking up three runs in the first two innings in Game two of Saturday’s doubleheader. Penn State starter (freshman) Taylor Lehman was roughed up pretty quickly in game three of the series allowing six runs on nine hits over three and two thirds innings pitched. No Penn State hitter would pickup more than one hit in game three of the series as the Nittany Lions hit .315 in game three, over two hundred points better than their average in game three.

    Freshman lefty Marko Boricich relieved Lehman but wouldn’t survive much better than him as he allowed three runs on one hit and three walks in one and two-thirds innings pitched.

    Over the course of the weekend, no Penn State pitcher was really able to keep Elon’s bats quiet for long as the Phoenix hit over .350 in each of the three games of the opening series. The top of the order once again was the main threat to the Nittany Lions coaching staff however it wasn’t Casey Jones as the first baseman went hitless in game three. Both Quinn Bower and Ryan Cooper, Elon’s top two hitters went three for four with four runs and four RBIs in the back end of Saturday’s double header.

    In the end, Elon’s veteran lineup and pitching staff was too much for a young Nittany Lions team that threw mostly freshman at Phoenix this weekend. In total, Penn State was outscored 34-23, and hit .258 on the weekend. The pitching staff finished the weekend with an ERA of 12.75 allowing the 34 runs over 24 innings pitched.

    The baseball team will travel to College Station, Texas this upcoming week for a three game series against the 25th ranked Texas A&M Aggies who swept Holy Cross this past weekend.

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