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Penn State baseball team turns two triple plays ... in the same game

Triple plays aren't only rare because they're difficult to execute, but because they also require a very specific set of circumstances: two runners on, nobody out, a ball hit to the exact right spot at the exact right speed, etc.

So, for the Penn State Nittany Lions to turn two triple plays in Friday's game against Michigan State, an awful lot had to go exactly right (or wrong, if you're a fan of the Spartans).

And yet ...

In the fourth inning and runners on first and second, shortstop Jim Haley caught Blaise Salter's liner, stepped on second and then threw to first for a 6-3 triple play. With runners again on first and second in the eighth, Jimmy Pickens lined out to second baseman Taylor Skerpon, who started a 4-6-3 triple play -- Penn State's third of the season.

Let's watch:

Despite hitting into triple plays in both the fourth and eighth innings, Michigan State still won the game 4-2.

It was only the second game in NCAA Division I history to feature two triple plays. In 2006, Gonzaga pulled off the unlikely feat against Washington State.

Of course, it's only happened once in MLB history -- July 17, 1990, in a game between the Twins and the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Interestingly enough, the two triple plays in that game were also in the fourth and eighth innings.

In the fourth, with the teams locked in a scoreless tie, the Sox managed to load the bases against Minnesota starter Scott Erickson. Then, right fielder Tom Brunansky stepped up to the plate and hit a ground ball sharply to third. Unfortunately for Brunansky, four-time Gold Glove third baseman Gary Gaetti was there to reel it in and start the 5-4-3 triple play.

The Red Sox were able to plate one run in the fifth frame, but couldn't do much else until the bottom of the eighth, when part-time shortstop Tim Naehring doubled to lead off. Hall of Famer Wade Boggs followed that up with a walk (which was unsurprising -- he led the AL in OBP from 1985-1989).

The next batter, Jody Reed, wasn't as fortunate. He -- much like Brunansky before him -- hit a grounder to Gaetti, starting yet another 5-4-3 triple play.

But, much like Michigan State, the Red Sox still won the game.

Take a look: