May 17, 2021
Nittany Lions use eight-run sixth to top Rutgers
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Justin Williams’ grand slam in Penn State’s (16-21) eight-run sixth inning powered the Nittany Lions to a series victory over Rutgers on Monday afternoon.
Williams went 2-4 with four RBI in the 8-3 win and gave Penn State a pair of series wins over Rutgers in the 2021 season.
How It Happened
Rutgers struck first for the second-straight game, plating one run in the top of the first. A one-out walk and a single put runners on first and second for the Scarlet Knights. A strike out by starter Tyler Shingledecker got the second out of the inning as he looked to end the scoring chance for Rutgers.
A single to left by Rutgers leading hitter, Mike Nyisztor, scored the first run of the game.
Shingledecker would get the next hitter to strike out to end the frame.
The Penn State offense was held in check through early innings of the game, going in order in each of the first three innings.
Rutgers would add a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions got their first baserunner in the bottom of the fourth as Matt Wood walked with one out. Justin Williams was robbed of extra bases as a leaping catch at the wall by the Rutgers centerfielder.
Wood swiped second but the inning was ended as a foul out erased the scoring opportunity.
Ralph Gambino came on in relief of Shingledecker, keeping the Scarlet Knight scoreless in both the fifth and sixth innings.
The Nittany Lion offense came alive in the bottom of the sixth. After the leadoff hitter was retired, Jay Harry worked a seven-pitch walk. Gavin Homer laced the first hit of the game for the Nittany Lions to right.
Wood reached on a catcher’s interference to load the bases for Williams. On a 2-0 count Williams came up clutch with a grand slam to right center and put the Nittany Lions up 4-3.
Penn State’s offense continue to click as Johnny Piacentino worked a walk and Josh Spiegel singled to put runners on first and second. Curtis Robison laced a single to center to score Piacentino.
Cole Bartels narrowly missed a three-run homer as his liner banged off the left field wall and gave Penn State a 7-3 lead. Bartels scored on a Harry single and the Nittany Lions sent 12 batters to the plate in the eight-run sixth.
Rutgers got two back in the seventh, taking advantage of an infield error to lead off the inning.
Logan Evans worked a perfect eighth and closer Mason Mellott came on to pitch the ninth.
Rutgers trimmed the lead to 8-6 in the ninth but Mellott secured the save, his fourth of the season and 13th of his career and the Nittany Lions took the weekend series.
Mason Mellott recorded his 66th career appearance, tied for eighth all-time. His 13 saves are in sole possession of fourth all-time.
Justin Williams batted .467 on the weekend for the Nittany Lions, belting two home runs and driving in six in the series win. Williams is batting .417 in his last ten games.
Penn State has won three series this season and was 5-2 in seven meetings with Rutgers. The Nittany Lions are 7-3 in their last 10 games and 4-1 in the last five.
Penn State travels to Illinois for its next series.
COURTESY PENN STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS