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MX News Update 2024


Penn State Baseball dismantled 18-7 by West Virginia

Penn State baseball (21-21, 7-11 Big 10) fell to West Virginia (29-18, 15-9 Big 12) as the team traveled to Morgantown for a midweek matchup with the Mountaineers.

Mason Butash recorded just one out in the first inning after the right-hander surrendered two home runs, one of which was a grand slam, as the Mountaineers scored eight runs in the first inning of the evening. Other than putting together a seven-run third inning, the huge deficit kept the Penn State bats from getting going early.

How it happened

Joe Jaconski led off the game with a walk after the first baseman filled the count and advanced to second base after JT Marr grounded to first base and the throw to second base to double Jaconski sailed into left field . Adam Cecere walked to give the Nittany Lions runners on first and second base with one out, but West Virginia starter Chase Meyer recovered to strike out the next two batters and end Penn State’s threat .

The Mountaineers jumped on Butash early, with Logan Sauve launching the first pitch he saw over the center-field fence for a home run that gave West Virginia its first run of the ballgame. Followed by a single and a pair of walks, the Mountaineers were set up with the bases loaded and no outs.

With Butash already on the ropes, Sam White hit a 1-0 fastball down the left field line for a two-run single that extended the West Virginia lead to 3-0. After issuing a walk to Grant Hussey, Butash left a fastball in the middle of the plate, which was quickly delivered over the center field fence by Brodie Kresser for a grand slam. The homer gave West Virginia a 7-0 lead before Butash recorded an out.

Head coach Mike Gambino had finally seen enough of his starter when he called on Ben DeMell to get the final two outs of the inning after Butash recorded his first out. DeMell was greeted the same way as Butash when he surrendered a solo home run to nine-hitter Skylar King, extending the West Virginia lead to eight. JJ Wetherholt doubled into the left field gap with two outs, but did not advance as DeMell recorded the final of the inning.

Bryce Molinaro singled to lead off the second inning as Penn State tried to get back into the game and stole second later in the inning to put itself in scoring position with two outs. After Kevin Michaels walked to give Penn State two runners, Meyer forced Jaconski to fly to left field and escape trouble again.

West Virginia picked up where it left off in the second inning when Reed Chumley sent a fastball off the scoreboard into left field for a solo home run, which was followed by a White home run to right field, extending the Mountaineers lead to 10 in just the second inning. After DeMell surrendered a single and double with one out in the inning, Gambino again went to his bullpen and called on Will Perkowski to record some outs.

Bucking the trend of giving up a home run immediately after entering the game, Perkowski forced King to fly to center, but a runner scored from third base to once again extend West Virginia’s lead. Seeing his third pitch of the game, Sauve hit an RBI single up center to give the Mountaineers a 12-0 lead. Perkowski then escaped when the righthander caused Wetherholt to ground out to second base.

Marr walked and was advanced to third base on a single by Grant Norris to start the third inning for the Nittany Lions. Penn State finally broke through thanks to a single by Bobby Marsh that scored Marr, and a walk by Molinaro loaded the bases with one out in the inning.

After striking out Maloney with a nice breaking ball for the second out of the inning, Meyer allowed a two-run single to Tayven Kelley that cut the West Virginia lead to 12-3. This single chased the Mountaineers’ starter out of the game, with Bryce Amos tasked with keeping the Nittany Lions at bay.

Amos’ first pitch found the backstop, allowing Molinaro to score and Kelley to move to second. After Michaels walked, Jaconski doubled into the right field gap, scoring two and further cutting the West Virginia lead, this time to 12-6. Marr continued the offensive onslaught for the Nittany Lions, hitting an RBI single to center to cut the Mountaineers’ lead to five.

With Amos unable to record an out, Randy Mazey called on Maxx Yehl to get West Virginia out of trouble and the southpaw did just that, forcing Adam Cecere to roll for the final out. Perkowski continued to have success for Penn State, recording two outs before Gambino called on David Lee to end the inning. Lee already appeared to be working out of the inning when he forced Hussey to hit a mile-high pop-up to center, but the miscommunication between Norris and Kelley allowed the ball to come in for a hit and Chumley to score from second. Things went from bad to worse for Lee when Kresser hit an RBI single to left field to extend the West Virginia lead back to seven.

Ben Lumsden scorched a ball to center, scoring Kresser and increasing the Mountaineers’ lead to eight. After allowing three straight hits, Lee was able to escape the inning when King grounded to first base.

As Penn State looked to get some runs back in the top of the fourth inning, Mollinaro and Maloney ripped two-out singles to set up Kelley with two runners on. Yehl settled down, however, forcing Kelley to ground out to first base and escape the inning without allowing a run.

Wetherholt continued the fireworks for West Virginia, as the star infielder launched a solo home run to right field that traveled 450 feet and reached a speed of 109 miles per hour. With Lee struggling, Matt Morash came in relief and stuck out Chumley to end the inning as Penn State trailed 16-7.

Tommy Beam took the mound to start the fifth inning for the Mountaineers and worked a scoreless inning. West Virginia scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to a two-run triple off the bat of Ellis Garcia. Norris led off the sixth inning with a single, but doubled when Beam recorded another out on the mound.

The impossible happened for Penn State when pitcher James Lordi entered the game and held the Mountaineers scoreless for the first time all evening. With Penn State within three outs of losing due to the seventh inning 10-run rule, the Nittany Lions went down with little resistance to end the game.


  • Penn State’s pitching staff hasn’t been exactly spectacular all season and showed as such against an excellent West Virginia team. Butash recorded just one out before being pulled and Perkowski was the only pitcher to find consistent success for the Nittany Lions. To make matters worse, Penn State gave up six home runs in the first four innings, one of which was a grand slam.
  • Any time a team is down 12-0 in the second inning, it is almost impossible to come back and win that game. Penn State showed some fight in the third inning, scoring seven runs to cut the deficit to under 10, but it would take a lot more to win as West Virginia was swinging the bats just as well.
  • West Virginia is one of the best programs in college baseball, and a win at Penn State would have been a huge upset. With a star-studded roster, highlighted by a future first-round pick in Wetherholt, the Mountaineers appear primed for a deep postseason run.

What’s next?

Penn State baseball returns to Happy Valley for the final home series of the year against Rutgers, with game one taking place at 5:30 PM on Friday, May 10. The match can be streamed on BTN+.

Dennis is a third-year journalism major from Brick, New Jersey. He has a love-hate relationship with every team he chooses to root for, especially the New York Giants. When he’s not watching Jack Hughes highlights, you can find him playing golf or listening to music. Send all complaints to him via email ((email protected)) or on Twitter (@denniswilkins27).