Penn State rally in 8th ends Illini’s season

The Penn State Nittany Lions had just come off a 10th inning victory off Michigan. One half hour later they played Illinois for another elimination game. That’s the thing about losing your first game in the Big Ten Tournament… every game you play, you’re playing for your tournament life.

Scott Shaw allowed only 3 hits in 7 IP

Scott Shaw was the starting pitcher for Illinois. When Shaw is on his game, he’s a pretty dang good pitcher. And quite honestly, he looked really good Friday. He was fooling hitters and more importantly, keeping them off the basepaths (3 hits and 1 BB in 7 IP).

High fives all around as Lars Davis scores in the 6th inning

Penn State drew first blood in the second scoring a run on a Mike Deese single. It was goose eggs for both teams till the fifth when the Illini put together hits by Brandon Wikoff, Lars Davis, Daniel Webb, and Ryan Hastings. That pushed a pair across, giving the good guys the lead.

In the 8th, all hell broke loose. Shaw who until this time was still going strong, led the inning off with a walk. A throwing error put runners on first and second with no outs. Coach Hartleb then made the call to Jake Toohey.

RF Nick Stockwell under the telling scoreboard

Four hits and one more error later, Penn State had scored 5 runs and put the score at 6-2, the final score.

Penn State’s Matt Ogrodnik who pitched a nearly perfect 3 2/3 innings (just one hit) got the win. Scott Shaw (2 ER in 7 IP and 5 K) who in my opinion pitched quite well, got the loss.

Said Coach Hartleb after the game:

“This is a tough way to end the season, but we have a lot to build on. The older guys on this team have put us in a very favorable position for the coming years, and I really like the young players we have on this team. Our top three starting pitchers have a chance to be very, very good next year.”

For the record, this is the farthest the Illini have gone in the Big Ten Tournament since 2001.

Some photos I took before and during the game are here. Not so much after.

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