STATE COLLEGE — The Penn State baseball team joined an exclusive club on Friday.
Despite losing both games of a doubleheader with Michigan State at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, the Nittany Lions (18-31, 5-17 Big Ten) became just the second team in NCAA Division I history to turn two triple plays in the same game.
In the top of the fourth inning of Michigan State’s 4-2 win, the Spartans had runners on first and second with Blaise Salter up to bat.
The Spartan runners broke with the pitch and Salter lined a ball at Penn State shortstop Jim Haley who caught the ball, stepped on second base and threw to J.J. White at first for Penn State’s first triple play of the season.
In the eighth, the situation was the same with runners on first and second who took off on the pitch to Jimmy Pickens at the plate. Pickens drilled a ball to second baseman Taylor Skerpon caught it then threw to Haley who tagged second and relayed to first for the second triple play of the day.
Gonzaga is the only other team to complete two triple plays in a game. The Bulldogs did so agaisnt Washington State on April 4, 2006.
Only one team in Major League Baseball history has turned two triple plays in one game. The Minnesota Twins did so against the Boston Red Sox in 1990.
Greg Guers and Ryky Smith notched RBIs for Penn State in Game 1 while Tim Dunn (2-4) allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts through seven innings. Penn State scored both of its runs in the bottom of the ninth.
The Spartans (28-24, 10-13) overcame an early deficit to win Game 2 4-1. Smith came through with Penn State’s lone RBI while Michigan State pitcher Justin Alleman shut down the Nittany Lion offense. Alleman allowed just four hits through seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts.