Penn State emerged victorious after a marathon of a doubleheader on Saturday, beating Purdue 7-2 in the first game and 7-6 in 12 innings in the second.
The wins gave Penn State (15-12, 4-2) the series sweep and sixth-straight victory, as well as nine wins in the team’s last 11 games.
After cruising to a sizeable win in their first game of the day, the Nittany Lions and Boilermakers stayed even at four runs apiece to force extra innings in the second game. Reliever Jack Anderson also made his school record-tying 85th career appearance, pitching 4 2/3 innings of relief and earning his second win of the year.
Purdue tacked on two more runs in the top of the 12th. Designated hitter Greg Guers answered with a leadoff double, and, with one out, scored from second on a single up the middle by centerfielder Jordan Bowersox to make it a 6-5 game.
Then, Alex Malinsky hit a walk-off double to send in James Coates and Jordan Bowersox for the go-ahead score to end the game.
“I don’t even know if I remember (the pitch) right now,” he said to reporters after the game (video courtesy of Penn State Athletics). “I just saw something I could drive, which is what I was trying to do to score the runner on third...Just saw the ball up, I’m not even sure what it was. Just saw the ball and went hacking at it.”
It was the catcher’s only at-bat of the day (he entered the game 1-for-14 on the season) — and what a way to end both the game and the series.
“I try to make it like it’s not the case, like I’d been in the whole time,” he said. “Then watching all their guys all three games, trying to look at tendencies, and just trying to prepare myself for that at-bat coming through.”
Malinsky told reporters he ‘called his shot’ in a sense — he said he saw the runner on third and called “ball game” when he walked up to the plate, then saw the runner on first was actually the potential game-winner and realized it might be a bigger challenge than he’d thought.
“I was just looking for something to drive,” he said. “So even if it did get caught we still had that tying run…But I’ll take that.”
“It’s unbelievable,” added Guers. “Especially after a long day, and we’re in the bottom of the (12th) inning, especially after giving up two runs, so we could’ve easily just shut it down, I mean we’d been here since what, 8 a.m.? So I mean it just shows...I can’t even describe how much resiliency that we have based off today.”
Penn State hosts Pitt on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.