By Kyle G. Arslanian, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As far as pitchers are concerned, the ones who start the games and the ones who close them out are the ones who get most of the credit and recognition. A group of players that often flies under the radar on any team is the bullpen. Having a strong bullpen is often the difference between a decent team a great one.
This season, the Nittany Lions are experiencing unprecedented depth in the
bullpen. A group of freshmen have
stepped up to make the Penn State bullpen a force this season. More times than not, they come in and put up
zeros; and there are several players who are capable of putting zeros on the
scoreboard. Having a lot of options in
the bullpen makes choosing who to pitch easier for the coaching staff.
"I trust our bullpen," said head coach Robbie Wine. "I'll throw anybody out there and I feel good with it."
Freshman Geoff Boylston came into Tuesday's game against Kent State in the sixth inning and pitched two scoreless frames. The southpaw came in and held the Golden flashes off the scoreboard and gave his team a solid chance to win the game, his efforts did not go unnoticed.
"He goes out there and throws strikes he has good stuff, command of two or three pitches," said Coach Wine. "Any time the zeros go up, momentum starts shifting on your side; we talk about momentum all the time once those zeros go up, it gives the offense that feel of okay, we are going to get something going. He did his job and we talk about it, everybody has a job to do every pitch every inning, he did his job and that's all you can really worry about."
The coaching staff often uses mid-week games to see how players are progressing and what situations they are best suited for. By throwing well against Kent State, Boylston quite possibly earned himself some innings in conference games.
"We'll throw him out there, you have your guys, the experienced guys that are proven, but Boylston is going to be in the mix and has to be," said Coach Wine. "We are going to need every guy out in that bullpen to win this thing.
In his five appearances this season, Boylston has thrown 9.2 innings and has not given up an earned run. Opposing batters are hitting a measly .171 against him and he has a 1.08 WHIP. He has located his pitches well and kept hitters off balance, surrendering only six hits Boylston's fellow bullpen members have all pitched similarly well this season, and that talent is a key to winning games.
"The bullpen is the most underrated part of a team," said coach Wine. "That middle relief, six, seven, eight; everybody talks about closer, everybody talks about the starter, but that middle relief bullpen [should be given some kind of recognition]. They don't get wins, they don't get saves, they just eat up innings an that's what its all about."