Penn State kicked off their final three game series of the season at home against No. 22 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Although nothing would change Penn State’s seasonal numbers, Nebraska battled to take first place in the Big Ten.
Nebraska led Thursday’s game early when Jake Meyers hit a homerun to start the game. Penn State took the lead in the bottom of the first after Mason Nadeau led the inning off with a single, stole second and reached home after a single from Braxton Giavedoni. With two outs, Willie Burger brought in two after slugging a ball into deep centerfield, giving the Nittany Lions the 3-1 lead. The next three innings were scoreless but Nebraska would tie up the game with two runs score at the top of the fifth inning. The Nittany Lions were able to pull ahead in the sixth with back-to-back doubles from Conlin Hughes and Giavedoni. Nebraska tied the game again in the seventh inning after Meyers led with a walk, advanced to third on a base hit and scored on a groundout by Scott Schreiber. The Cornhuskers pulled ahead with three runs in the eighth inning, giving them a 7-4 lead, but their pitcher, Chad Lunesmann, couldn’t hold the lead over the final 1 1/3 innings. He allowed three unearned runs on two hits and a walk. Brett Davis started off the inning for Penn State with a walk followed by a potential double play ball to third base – the ball went off the third baseman’s glove, ensuring safety for those on base. Nadeau hit a double, scoring Davis but Goodnight was called out at home base after attempting to score on the play. Hughes came up to the plate next and hit a groundout, advancing Nadeau to third and he reached home on an error, tying the game again. Riotto was up next and brought Giavedoni home.
Friday’s game remained scoreless until Nebraska scored at the top of the fifth inning. Luis Alvarado led off with a double, advanced to third on a fly ball and scored on a base hit from teammate, Jake Schleppenbach. The two came back in the seventh inning to add another point on the board for Cornhuskers. Alvarado led the seventh off with a walk, stole second and scored on a one-out single by Schleppenbach. Penn State would hit their first and only run of the game at the top of the eighth inning. Nadeau led off with a single to left and advanced to third on a one-out single by Giavedoni, allowing him to score on a fielder’s choice from Riotto. Nick Distasio came to the mound for Penn State for the ninth inning. An error, walk and bobble on a potential double play ball gave the Nittany Lion the chance at a possible comeback, but Alvarado was able to hit a one-out solo shot. Nebraska took the win, 3-1.
Saturday the Diamond Lions concluded their 2017 season with their senior game where Dakota Forsyth, Christian Helsel, Alex Malinsky, Tom Mullin, Nick Riotto and Tim Scholly were honored for their contributions to the team. The 2016 Big Ten Championship football team was also in attendance as they signed autographs and took pictures with fans. Fans also had the opportunity to take photos with the championship trophy and wear the championship ring. The rain set the mood for the game as Nebraska blew the Nittany Lions away. The Cornhuskers score seven runs alone in the first inning followed by three more in the second. Nebraska scored their first run on a wild pitch with the bases loaded, Miller then drove in two more on a ground rule double. Two more runs were scored and the bases were loaded, Alvarado hit a double to wrack the score up to 7-0. The Cornhuskers continued their scoring frenzy in the second with three straight singles to load the bases, and a run was brought in after a pitch hit one of their players. A run scored on a double play and Hagge drove in another with a base hit. Nebraska would add two runs in the fifth, five in the sixth and Scheleppenbach hit a grand slam in the eighth inning. The Nittany Lions scored their only three runs of the game in the bottom of the ninth. Goodnight started the inning off with a walk followed by a double from Hughes. Giavedoni singled, allowing Goodnight to score and Hughes followed him after a single from Riotto. Burger then singled to add the final run to the board. Nebraska won 21-3 and claimed their first Big Ten baseball regular season championship title. The Big Ten Baseball Tournament will start Wednesday, May 24 at Bart Kaufman Field on Indiana University’s campus.