GRANVILLE, W. Va. — West Virginia baseball fell to Penn State 8-4 at Monongalia County Ballpark on Wednesday, marking the Mountaineers’ first loss in a midweek game at home of the 2022 season.
WVU finished a predictable bullpen game, utilizing 10 pitchers throughout the contest. The Nittany Lions took advantage, knocking 10 hits in the game, five of which went for extra bases including a home run from Josh Spiegel.
Johnny Piacentino led the Penn State offense with a 2-for-4 day, recording a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Spiegel also had a two-hit game with a pair of RBIs.
“They smashed the ball tonight,” said WVU coach Randy Mazey. “They had a lot of extra-base hits with men on base, and we didn’t.”
The Mountaineers opened the scoring with a two-run first inning that opened with an RBI double by Victor Scott II. Scott II was then hit home by an RBI single from McGwire Holbrook.
WVU added an insurance run in the second with runners on the corners, as Tevin Tucker grounded into a double play — Dayne Leonard, who had three hits for the Mountaineers, dashed home from third to add WVU’s third run.
Penn State took over in the third inning, however, scoring six straight runs to give them their game-sealing lead. Spiegel started it off with an RBI single, then he made it home with the first of Piacentino’s two RBI doubles.
Both teams had an inefficient day on offense, though, as each stranded 10 runners on the base paths.
“We just didn’t play a good game,” said WVU coach Randy Mazey. “We get a three-run lead and just don’t throw strikes, we swung at ball four I don’t know how many times to strikeout tonight, I think we just thought we were going to come out because we score 15 runs on Sunday and just throw up 10 runs again.”
WVU’s day on defense was just as sloppy, as they went through as many pitchers as they did stranded runners — 10 hurlers saw the mound throughout the contest, walking eight batters.
Zach Ottinger (1-1) was the first man out of the bullpen and took the loss, despite allowing just one of the Nittany Lions’ runs on three hits in 1.2 innings of work. Mason Mellott (3-4) took the win after tossing 1.2 scoreless innings of relief.
The Mountaineers did top the game in hits with 10, as Leonard and Kluska each had three-hit games. Scott II added a pair of hits as well.
WVU’s loss is a break from strong non-conference form, as it had won seven of its last eight against opponents outside of the Big 12. It is only its second non-conference loss at home of the season, and Mazey hopes to use that as a learning tool moving forward.
“That’s good for them to listen to the other team celebrating, laughing and hooting and hollering,” Mazey said. “It’s exactly what our group needs, to see what it feels like to lose on your home field in a midweek game, we haven’t done much of that.”
The Mountaineers next head to Lawrence, Kansas for a three-game series with the Jayhawks. KU sits at the bottom of the Big 12 with a 2-10 league record, while WVU ties Oklahoma for the fifth spot at 7-5.
“If you think it’s going to be easy, you go down there and the same thing is going to happen to you. It’s inevitable, and I think Kansas is exactly what they are — capable of beating us every time we play them.”
The three-game tilt opens on Friday at 7 p.m. ET on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.