The Mountaineers started out aggressively against the Nittany Lions, putting up three runs in the first two innings to take an early lead on the road. However, WVU's pitching staff was unable to post a quality inning until it had yielded seven runs, and the result was a 8-4 defeat in State College.
After dropping three straight against the Horned Frogs, West Virginia appeared determined to break the skid. Ryan McBroom drove Bobby Boyd home with a sacrifice fly in the first, and Ray Guerrini drove in two more with a single in the second to give West Virginia a 3-1 lead. As was the case in Fort Worth, though, pitching let the Mountaineers down.
Trevor Simms got the midweek start for West Virginia (16-12, 2-3), but he lasted just two innings (and two runs) before giving way to Zack Bargeron. Bargeron yielded five hits and hit a Nittany Lion in the third inning, leading to five runs that put the home team in control. The light-hitting PSU squad smacked a double and a triple in the inning, and left with a 7-3 lead.
Even with the big deficit, West Virginia had chances to get back into the game. The Mountaineers left two runners on in both the fifth and sixth innings, then stranded three in the seventh when it again couldn't come up with a hit to produce runs. The Mountaineers finally got back on the board in the ninth on a McBroom RBI single to shortstop, but again stranded two runners when Jacob Rice fanned to end the game.
West Virginia got two hits each from Taylor Munden, Bobby Boyd and Billy Fleming, but the power hitters behind them were unable to push them along. McBroom, Rice and Shaun Wood were a combined 1-11 on the evening. West Virginia cycled through five pitchers on the evening, with none going more than three innings.
The going only gets tougher for WVU (16-12) this weekend as the Mountaineers host Oklahoma State in a three-game set at Hawley Field in Morgantown, W. Va. Going into Tuesday night's game against Arkansas-Little Rock, the Cowboys were 22-10 and 5-4 in the Big 12, which put them in a third-place tie in the standings. Friday's first game is set for 6:00 p.m.
The loss was WVU's fourth in a row, extending its season-worst losing streak. Prior to this skid, the Mountaineers had not lot more than two games in a row this year. The losses erase the four game winning streak the Mountaineers had fashioned against Pitt and Baylor.
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A small bright spot for WVU was the pitching of erstwhile closer Pascal Paul, who bounced back from some recent tough outings with three innings of respectable work. He allowed three hits against 11 batters, but did not walk anyone and escaped unscathed.
Usually patient at the plate, West Virginia was first-ball swinging throughout the evening. The Mountaineers went down on just four pitches in the fourth, and at one point recorded eight outs on just 16 Penn State pitches.