It was a regional midweek clash at Monongalia County Ballpark on Wednesday, with the West Virginia baseball team suffering a crushing 8-4 defeat to the Penn State Nittany Lions that snapped a 22-game midweek winning streak.
The Mountaineers (24-15, 7-5 Big 12) couldn’t get a complete game on the mound from their bullpen, shuffling through 10 pitchers and allowing 10-for-36 (.278) batting from Penn State (18-21, 7-8 Big 10) down the stretch.
True freshman Aiden Major was on the bump for his second start of the season, throwing for only two innings with four strikeouts and a 3.27 ERA before being relieved in the second.
Major was able to get out of a jam to open the game, with the Nittany Lions getting two walks from the freshman pitcher to put a runner on first and third. West Virginia answered big in the bottom of the first, with Victor Scott II hitting an RBI triple to the far-right corner to drive in JJ Wetherholt for the opening score.
McGwire Holbrook in the next at-bat made the lead two runs for the Mountaineers, hitting an RBI single short of the centerfielder, scoring Scott from third base.
In the bottom of the second, WVU’s Tevin Tucker hit into a double play but still drove in a run, bringing Dayne Leonard home from third for the 3-0 advantage.
Penn State in the top of the third got three runners on base early in the order and drove in its first run, with Cole Bartels scoring on a single from Josh Spiegel to cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Nittany Lions made up a lot of ground in the third, with Johnny Piacentino doubling down the right field line to drive in Jay Harry before a throwing error to third base scored Spiegel as well to make it a 3-3 tie.
Harry came back up to bat to give Penn State its fourth unanswered run in the fourth inning, ripping a single to score Tayven Kelley for the 4-3 Nittany Lion lead.
Spiegel continued his dominant day from the batter’s box, bombing a solo home run into the PSU bullpen during the top of the fifth to extend the lead further, at 5-3 for Penn State.
A triple into right field for Billy Gerlott tacked on another run for the Nittany Lions, with Ben Kaiher crossing home for the sixth consecutive run for Penn State to make the contest 6-3.
In a comeback effort in the bottom of the eighth for WVU, Tevin Tucker reached first on a fielder’s choice leading to Grant Hussey scoring from third base to cut the deficit to two, 6-4.
Penn State secured the victory in the top of the ninth, tacking on two more runs from another Piacentino RBI double, scoring both Matt Wood and Spiegel to take the 8-4 win.
Leonard was quietly the best batter for WVU, going 3-for-4 with one run scored. Scott also went 2-for-5, with one double, one run scored and one RBI.
Spiegel had an incredible night for the Nittany Lions, hitting 2-for-3 with three runs scored, two RBIs and a home run.
For its next game, West Virginia will travel to Lawrence, Kan. for a three-game series against the Kansas Jayhawks. First pitch for the first matchup is set for 7 p.m. with streaming available on ESPN+.