Recently in Baseball Category
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - The Penn State bullpen played an instrumental role in Saturday's
doubleheader split against Iowa (14-19, 3-8 Big Ten) as the Nittany Lions came
from behind to win game one, 8-7, and fell short in game two, 5-2.
State (9-25, 1-10 Big Ten) found itself in a 7-0 hole heading into the bottom
of the fifth inning in game one before the offense ignited, scoring eight runs
over five frames to defeat the Hawkeyes in dramatic fashion.
like we were just playing," said sophomore catcher J.C. Coban. "We were loose. It didn't feel like we were down seven
runs. It didn't feel like it was tough
to come back. It was natural, it was fun,
and everybody enjoyed it."
7-5 with runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, sophomore
Taylor Skerpon doubled to score a run and put the tying run on third and the
winning run on second with one out. That's
when Coban stepped to the plate, waited for a pitch high in the zone, and
cracked a walk-off single to seal the victory.
was great," said Coban. "Everybody
before me did their job and I was just in the right position at the right
team's true offensive potential showed as the Nittany Lions recorded 16 hits,
six of them doubles, in the winning effort.
Junior centerfielder Steve Snyder led the way with four hits, two runs
scored, and an RBI.
was just a good day of baseball," said Snyder.
"I didn't really change anything, so just a good day."
players had multi-hit games in game one, including Coban, who went 3-for-5 with
the game tying and game winning RBIs.
big thing today was we were putting the ball in play and when you put the ball
in play, good things are going to happen," said Snyder.
Penn State began its comeback in the fifth, the bullpen solidified and shut
down the Hawkeyes late. Sophomore
reliever Geoff Boylston and senior Neal Herring combined to pitch four hitless
and scoreless innings to end the game as Herring earned the victory.
was huge," said Snyder on the bullpen's performance. "They all came in, they were ready to pitch,
they threw strikes, and they did everything they needed to do."
game two, the Nittany Lions found themselves behind 5-2 in the fifth, despite
an early 2-1 lead. Though the offense struggled
to capitalize on a number of opportunities, the bullpen continued its day of
excellence. Sophomore Ryan Harper
replaced senior starter Steven Hill in the sixth and threw four scoreless
innings, allowing just one hit with one strikeout.
great," said Snyder. "He's a workhorse,
so I like when he's on the mound. He
throws strikes, he does everything he can, and he's a competitor."
Harper kept the opposing batters off balance with an effective
fastball-curveball combination and gave his team a chance to rally heading into
the ninth, but Iowa reliever Ricky Sandquist would match that effort with three
scoreless innings of his own to close the game.
was just throwing the off speed for a strike and keeping them off balance,"
said Harper. "I was just challenging
them, just throwing the ball in the zone."
State returns to action on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. for the THON Sluggers game
where $1 dollar of every ticket sold will be donated to THON. Junior Greg Welsh will take the mound as the
Nittany Lions look to take the series from the Hawkeyes.
Novak Changes Stance
and Sees Results
Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - If you don't know who the "Batting Stance Guy" is, I would go check
out his impersonations on YouTube and see the multitude of stances he can
smaller and more serious extent, Penn State sophomore outfielder Aaron Novak
channeled his inner batting stance guy and made a change to his stance after he
started off the season a bit slow offensively.
was March 28, the day before a three-game series with Purdue series, and head
coach Robbie Wine suggested Novak to tweak his stance. Novak had the whole
weekend to work it, as he didn't record an at-bat in the series against the
he needed to find something that would allow him to relax at the plate.
just found a stance that was more comfortable that allowed me to be more
relaxed at the plate," said Novak. "It is helping me see pitches a lot better,
recognize pitches a lot better and everything I am doing is just a lot more
natural than it was."
then played with his stance in the batting cage for a few days, looked at some
major league stances including former Seattle Mariners outfielder Jay Buhner
and went back to the cage and tried them out.
few days later, he found something fixable within his stance. He decided to
open it up, rather than being straight in line with the pitcher. The change was
made because Novak realized he would start straight up and then finished
closed, which caused him to reach at pitches and not have full power behind
this new stance, once I get into my stride toward the pitcher, I am straight up
and not closed anymore so I find my hips to be open and free and I am more
controlled at the plate," he said.
return, Novak's new stance has paid dividends.
not starting five consecutive games, Novak had time to reconstruct his stance
and carried a six game hitting streak in the midweek tilt with Bucknell. He is hitting
.381 with eight hits and three RBIs during that stretch.
acknowledged Novak's hard work to fix his stance after Penn State's 3-2 win
over Kent State, where Novak was in the beginning of his current offensive
been working at it and sticking with [his stance]," said Wine. "He's sticking
with it and it's coming along. It's going to get better and there's more for
him in there, too."
hitting streak or no hitting streak, Novak just wants to continue to gain
comfort with his new stance and continue to swing at better pitches.
four games in the next five days for Penn State his mission at the plate is
just taking it at-bat by at-bat and trying to get more comfortable with my new
stance and my new swing," said Novak. "I'm just trying to have quality at-bats
every time I get up there."
doesn't plan on channeling his inner batting stance guy again any time soon,
By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn
State traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich. this past weekend and despite some solid
efforts on the mound the Nittany Lions (7-24, 0-9) were unable to pick up their
first conference win of the season against Big Ten frontrunner Michigan
It started on Friday night where both teams were slow offensively as Penn
State held 1-0 lead heading into the eighth inning.
In the top of the seventh, Penn State broke the scoreless tie via an Aaron
Novak single that scored Luis Montesinos and starting pitcher T.J. Jann
delivered seven scoreless innings to put the Nittany Lions in prime position. Jann
allowed just two hits with one strikeout before leaving the game after the
However, Michigan, the current co-leader in the Big Ten standings, found a
way to get going offensively with a five run offensive explosion in the bottom
of the eighth to snatch the victory from the Lions.
Penn State had eight hits in the loss, including three from Montesinos and
two from freshman outfielder James Coates.
Senior Steven Hill took the mound in game two against and gave the Lions
eight solid innings, but came out on the wrong side of a 3-2 decision. Hill
allowed three runs on eight hits while recording four strikeouts.
The Wolverines scored all three of their runs by the end of the third
inning and Hill was able to shut down the Wolverines offensively and allowed
just two hits over the next five innings.
Penn State scored its first run of game two in the top of the third inning
thanks to a Taylor Skerpon double that scored Alex Farkes, after he singled to
left field earlier in the frame.
The other Nittany Lion run came in the top of the fourth inning after Michigan
starting pitcher Evan Hill walked four Nittany Lions, with a Coates base on
balls forcing Novak across the plate.
Both teams went silent after the fourth inning. Michigan's relief pitching shut
down the Nittany Lions as James Bourque, Kyle Clark and Jacob Cronenworth
combined for three and two-thirds scoreless innings to close out the win for
Game three featured Greg Welsh and Logan McAnallen on the mound for Penn State
and Michigan, respectively, but neither pitcher was able to make it out of the third
Penn State tallied one run on one hit in the first inning to take their second lead
of the weekend when J.C. Coban single to center field to score Elliott Searer,
who reached on a fielders choice and stole a base in the inning.
Michigan responded immediately with a run of its own via three hits in the bottom
of the inning. They added two runs in both the third and fourth innings, before
tacking on three more in the seventh to cap the scoring at 8-1.
Penn State churned out seven hits, with Searer collecting two hits and scoring
a run, to go along with five walks and one hit-by-pitch. The Nittany Lions also
turned three of their four double plays on the weekend in the series finale.
Novak and Montesinos continued their steady contributions from the plate versus
Michigan, combining for seven hits on the weekend. Novak had a hit in each game
to extend his hitting streak to six games.
Penn State has four games at home this weekend starting with Bucknell on
Wednesday night at 7 p.m. before hosting Iowa in a three game series beginning
on Friday night at 6:05 p.m.
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - Penn State sophomore pitcher T.J. Jann refused to quit after being informed
by doctors in 2011 that his baseball career may be over following complications
from Tommy John Surgery.
Westford, Mass. native battled two surgeries and two years of rehab before
returning to the mound and earning the role of Friday night starter in 2013.
pretty unbelievable being in the situation that I'm in right now given two
years ago doctors told me that I would probably never play baseball again,"
said Jann. "The fact that I worked as
hard as I did over the last two years, it shows that hard work pays off."
made his collegiate debut during the opening weekend of the 2011 season against
Notre Dame, throwing one and two-thirds innings without allowing a hit, before
being shut down due to an elbow injury known all-too-well by pitchers
After his outing on Feb. 20, 2011 the right-hander would require Tommy John
Surgery to repair the damage.
main risk associated with the procedure includes damage to the ulnar nerve and in
Jann's case the nerve was severed and required a second surgery. He was later informed by doctors that his
baseball career could be over, but Jann was unfazed.
worked tirelessly through two years of rehabilitation and could not have done
it without the support of his family and his girlfriend during one of the
toughest periods of his life.
dad has always been there for me and so has my mom, my sister, and my
girlfriend," said Jann. "They saw me go
through the worst part [during and after the surgery] and it was great to have
the end, Jann persevered. After
redshirting in 2012, Jann returned to the mound on Feb. 24, 2013 at Liberty,
but taking the mound after a two-year absence was not easy and, though Jann
struggled early, his confidence has grown with every outing.
think [my confidence] builds every time I go out there," said Jann. "I haven't played in two years, so every time
it's like a stepping stone for me."
of the challenges Jann faced earlier in the season was adapting to his
injury. In high school, Jann mastered the
fastball-changeup combination, but after severing his nerve, he has been unable
to emulate the changeup he once threw.
always been a big fastball-changeup guy," said Jann. "After my surgery I have very limited feeling
in my hand, so I can't throw the exact same changeup I used to throw."
adjusted by using his curveball more often and recently added a slider to his arsenal.
more [reliant] on my curveball now and I worked with coach Bell and he has
given me a slider to add to my repertoire," said Jann. "I've actually used [the slider] a lot more lately
than I ever have before."
earned his first victory pitching four and one-third innings of relief against
Houston Baptist, allowing just one run on two hits. Head coach Robbie Wine elected Jann as the
Friday night starter two weeks later at No. 22 Indiana.
Wine gave me the opportunity to pitch on Friday night and I'm more than
ecstatic to have that opportunity," said Jann.
onto Medlar Field in front of the home crowd on a Friday night is an incredible
experience and Jann has embraced it emphatically.
"It's really exciting pitching under the lights with the fans cheering for
you," said Jann. "You get that little
most recent start against Wright State was arguably his best thus far. The sophomore right-hander threw seven and
one-third innings, allowing just three runs on eight hits. He recorded three strikeouts and didn't walk
a batter before leaving to an ovation from the crowd.
slider was key to Jann's success and is an added bonus considering his favorite
player in the Major Leagues is legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who
throws a pitch similar to the Jann's slider known as a cut fastball. Jann hopes to develop a cutter during his
Rivera has always been my idol and when coach Bell actually showed me how to
throw a slider, [Rivera's cut fastball] is what I envision," said Jann. "My dad always wanted me to throw a cutter,
so I think maybe this could be a stepping stone towards it."
experience is similar to the challenges he and his teammates have battled this
season. Though the Nittany Lions have faced
a lot of adversity early, Jann believes they can compete with anyone in the
"I think everyone's pulling for each other," said Jann. "I think this team can be as good as any team
because we all have each others' backs and we're all willing to work hard."
will take the mound on Friday at Michigan (17-14, 4-2 Big Ten) with game time slated
for 4:05 p.m. as Penn State looks to ride the momentum of a two-game winning
streak into Ann Arbor.
Esse, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - Cody Lewis was warming up in the bullpen during the seventh inning
before getting the nod from pitching coach Jason Bell to enter the game with a
runner on second and nobody out. Quite the situation for someone with zero career
knew he would be coming into a big situation, but had no idea that he would
throw his first pitch with a 2-2 count. All he knew was the pitch that his
pitching coach wanted and that his mission was to get three outs and not allow
the runner on second to cross home plate.
be honest, I didn't even realize [the count was 2-2] until I got on the mound,"
said Lewis. "I went out there and [coach Bell] said 'let's throw a curveball to
this guy' and I said 'alright let's do it'. That's pretty much it."
mindset turned out to be beneficial for Lewis as he would then retire three
straight batters to strand Kent State pinch runner Troy Summers on third and
hold Penn State's one-run lead.
would then go on to retire six of the next seven Golden Flash hitters to notch
his first career save and secure Penn State's second straight win, a 3-2 triumph.
three inning performance from the redshirt senior is just a small sample of
what head coach Robbie Wine is trying to get out of his players as they try to
turn the page after a rough start to the season.
was exactly what we needed," said Wine. "These midweek games can be tough, but
guys have to step up and Cody [Lewis] stepped up for us tonight."
great outings from starter Nick Hedge and reliever Ian Parvin, Wine counted on
his experienced senior to get the job done and he did exactly that.
performances from all three Penn State pitchers, especially the three outs that
Lewis got in the seventh, are something that motivate a Nittany Lion team that's
in need of any momentum they can get. That momentum was big on Tuesday against
a Kent State team that was in the College World Series just one year ago.
just a huge boost for us," said freshman outfielder James Coates. "You have a
runner on [base] and a 2-2 count and [Cody] comes in and gets a couple outs and
no runs score, so you just want to do better for him after a performance like
did exactly that in the ninth inning as Golden Flash catcher Jeff Revesz lined
a Lewis fastball to deep left field and the freshman was there to make an
acrobatic running catch that preserved
the Nittany Lion lead.
thanked his outfielder in the postgame media availability, but admitted he thought
there was no chance Coates would get to the ball.
kid absolutely smoked [the pitch] and by the time I turned back and looked the
ball was already to Coates. I thought it was going over his head and he made a
great play on it and it pumped me up," said Lewis.
just had one more out to get the win. It was huge"
and his team are now seeing, via plays like the one by Coates, that things are
starting to turn their way. They have been making some of the big plays that
earlier in the season avoided them and they are turning into wins.
Lewis, it is pretty simple, this team just has to do their jobs and the wins
will come and Tuesday night proved that.
did my job," said Lewis. "I did what I was supposed to do: hang zeroes and get
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - Penn State (6-21, 0-6 Big Ten) needed a spark heading into the
series finale against Wright State (12-16, 4-5 Horizon League) and that's
exactly what the Nittany Lions found during an impressive 11-3 win over the
Raiders on Sunday.
coach Robbie Wine knew it was only a matter of time before all the pieces came
together. His players had been working
hard since day one and, despite struggling early, maintained a positive
the key to winning on Sunday was to relax, let loose, and simply play Penn
just came in with a great attitude from start to finish," said Wine. "We didn't have a care in the world. [We] just
kept playing our game."
Nittany Lions battled in the series opener on Friday, taking the game to the 11th
inning before falling to Wright State, 7-4.
Penn State trailed 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth before stringing
together three walks, two hits, and a pair of fielders' choices to tie the
the bottom of the ninth, junior Steven Snyder led off with a double, but the
Nittany Lions were unable to bring him home.
two saw a similar result, with Penn State falling 6-2 despite drawing nine
walks along with six hits on the afternoon.
The Nittany Lions grinded and fought but were unable to develop a rhythm
pressure was building, but the coaches and players never doubted their
abilities. Heading into the series
finale, coach Wine changed his team's mentality.
Wine told us [on Saturday], 'you guys just have to relax,'" said freshman left
fielder James Coates. "We're right there
every game. We just have to keep
State needed to take a step back, breathe, and just play baseball. The pressure would dissipate and the wins
exactly what happened. The Nittany Lions
entered Sunday's contest calm, collected and dialed in.
came in, we relaxed, and just did what we were supposed to do: play the game,"
results were apparent from the moment the players took the field. Junior Greg Welsh was on the mound and shut
down the Raiders in the first inning with a pair of strikeouts and a
groundout. The offense followed suit,
posting three runs in the bottom of the frame.
the first inning, Welsh went out and did his job," said Wine. "He shut them down, we put three on the
board, and it was just a good feeling all the way through."
State racked up five runs on eight hits in the first two innings of play. When Wright State climbed back to within two runs
in the fifth, the Nittany Lions responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of
the inning, three runs in the seventh, and a run in the eighth to seal the win.
what we need to start doing more," said Coates.
"When we give up a couple runs, we can't get down on ourselves. We just have to come back and keep going,
keep fighting through it."
player in the batting order recorded a hit with five players earning a
multi-hit game as Penn State outhit the Raiders, 17-7. Coates went 2-for-3 in the leadoff spot,
scoring twice to go along with a walk and an RBI. Sophomore J. C. Coban and senior Luis
Montesinos both went 3-for-5 and combined to score four runs and drive in four
had] a lot of confidence right from the start," said sophomore right fielder Aaron
Novak. "We came out loose and we almost
expected this because we were feeling so good."
notched a pair of doubles and two RBIs in his return to the starting lineup.
a good game gives me a lot of confidence," said Novak. "It feels good to do something to help the
team out and get a win."
Nittany Lions were patient at the plate, as they had been all weekend, only
striking out four times, while earning four walks. The players collected 17 walks during the
series and when combined with timely hitting, there was no stopping them.
comes with confidence and being comfortable up [at the plate]," said Wine. "We're not swinging at a lot of bad pitches
early in the count like we were [earlier in the season]. Staying patient is important."
State saw strong starting pitching throughout the weekend with redshirt
sophomore T. J. Jann throwing seven and one-third innings in game one and
allowing just three runs on eight hits, while senior Steven Hill pitched eight
innings and allowed four earned runs on ten hits.
On Sunday, Welsh threw an impressive eight innings without allowing an earned
run. He scattered six hits and one walk to go along with eight strikeouts. He commanded his fastball-slider combination
with pinpoint accuracy and was able to effectively keep the opposing batters
just had command of my slider and my fastball the whole game," said Welsh. "I had good command and continued to mix [my pitches]
up against the hitters."
it was a team effort as the batters supported their pitcher with run support
and Welsh responded by throwing lights out.
a team [effort]," said Wine. "It's momentum.
The pitcher goes out and does his job, we score runs, we play better
defense, and it just keeps going around and good things happen."
the game, the players enjoyed their success in the locker room and had one
thought on their minds: keeping it going.
kept saying, 'let's start a streak today,'" said Novak. "Let's start a winning streak today."
Nittany Lions are back in action on Tuesday, April 9, as they face Kent State inside
Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. First pitch
is slated for 7:00 p.m.
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - After falling to Wright State (12-15, 4-5 Horizon) in game
two, 6-2, Penn State (5-21, 0-6 Big Ten) turns its attention to the final game
of the three game series with a new mindset.
The Nittany Lions are looking to simply play the game they love without the
a team is struggling, the players start to lose confidence, which causes the
pressure to build and the cycle to continue.
Penn State is facing more pressure and more adversity now than it has
seen all season and the players are trying harder and harder to turn it all
not a patient team [right now]," said head coach Robbie Wine. "We want to make it happen instead of letting
the game come to us."
key to turning this season around for the Nittany Lions is to take a step back
and remember to have fun playing the game of baseball.
effort is there, the mentality is there, and the talent is there, but this is
an inexperienced team with a lot of pressure on its shoulders. Coach Wine knows his team just needs to relax
and let the pressure melt away. The wins
all trying hard," said Wine. "We're
practicing hard and our heads are in the right spot. We just have to relax in the game a little
Steven Hill threw eight innings and allowed just four earned runs on 10 hits
with one walk and four strikeouts. Three
errors led to two unearned runs, but Hill kept his team in the game.
one of the best guys to keep out there as long as you can," said Wine.
State was patient at the plate, drawing nine walks and garnering six hits, but
was unable to capitalize on their opportunities. The pressure mounts with runners in scoring
position and it is important for these young players to gain experience and
learn to keep battling.
a young team and guys are getting experience," said Hill. "We just have to grind it out. It's a grind."
Nittany Lions take the field tomorrow at Noon for the final game of the series
against the Raiders. The priority for
Penn State will be to arrive loose and to enjoy the game they love to play.
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - The result wasn't what head coach Robbie Wine envisioned, but Penn
State (5-20, 0-6 Big Ten) put together one of its most impressive efforts on
the season in their 7-4 loss to Wright State (11-15, 4-5 Horizon League) on Friday night.
Nittany Lions saw 10 innings of quality pitching and an eighth inning rally
before falling in extra innings to the Raiders.
not just one thing," said head coach Robbie Wine. "It's just in certain situations we're not
getting the job done and it comes down to fundamentals."
pitcher T. J. Jann was the highlight of the evening, throwing seven and one-third
innings, allowing just three runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. The redshirt sophomore was accurate and
efficient the entire outing, throwing 87 pitches, 63 of which were strikes, and
didn't walk a batter in his longest career outing.
J. is doing his job," said Wine. "He's
throwing strikes, he's working fast, and he's doing a great job."
was focused following a challenging start the week before against Purdue where
he threw four innings and allowed two runs on three hits with three walks. The coaches believed in him and knew he was
on the verge of a strong outing.
have confidence in him," said Wine.
"That's why he's out there. He's
going to throw strikes, he's got life on [his pitches], he's a competitor, and
he fields his position. He does all the
little things that help you have a chance to win a game."
State opened the scoring with a run in the sixth and two more in the eighth
inning, taking a 3-0 lead to back up starting pitcher Casey Henn, who threw seven
shutout frames, allowing four hits with five strikeouts.
It seemed as though three runs would be enough until the Penn State offense,
which had been threatening all game, caught fire.
the first inning, Penn State had runners on second and third with no outs, but
was unable to score. Later, in the third
inning, the Nittany Lions put runners on first and third with two outs, but
couldn't come up with the timely hit.
when Wright State took the lead, the offense responded in the bottom of the
eighth. Senior Elliot Searer led off
with a single, followed by walks from sophomores Taylor Skerpon and Tyler
Kendall. Senior Luis Montesinos then
grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring a run and putting runners on the
corners with one out.
think the bench really stepped up," said Wine.
"Those guys into certain situations and created that rally."
J. C. Coban walked to load the bases for a second time and redshirt freshman
Ryky Smith grounded into a fielder's choice to score another run and keep
runners at the corners. An errant throw
by the WSU shortstop to first plated the third run for the Nittany Lions during
the play and tied the game.
three-run spell there at the end of the game to come back, that's important,"
said coach Wine. "Every little spark
that we can find is important."
was in Penn State's favor. Redshirt
senior Cody Lewis shut down the Raiders in the top of the ninth and junior
Steve Snyder led off the bottom of the frame with a double. With a runner on second and nobody out, the
Nittany Lions were unable to scratch one across.
the eleventh, Wright State scored four runs to seal the victory, but Penn State
continued to battle, scoring a run and leaving a runner on second to end the
think the energy was there, the positive feelings were there, but you have to
be able to [make the plays]," said Wine.
"When it's that moment where you have to get a hit or have to make a
play or do something special for the team, the pressure seems to mount and [the
players] just need to relax."
loss said a lot about this Nittany Lion squad.
They can pitch. They can
hit. And they can come from behind, but
eliminating the little mistakes and capitalizing on opportunities is
crucial. As the players gain experience,
the pressure will melt away and the fundamentals will return to them.
need to go back to just playing baseball and having fun again," said Wine.
two is slated for Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Senior Steven Hill will take the mound for the Nittany Lions as the
players look to put an end to their current skid.
By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - Before every home Penn State baseball game a short clip is played
on the video board at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. It is a clip from the movie
"The Sandlot" where the characters in the film are playing the game of baseball
and having fun while doing it, win or lose.
Penn State's weekend series with Purdue, it was both fitting and ironic that
head coach Robbie Wine compared the characters and theme of that movie to one
of his players; redshirt freshman infielder Ryky Smith.
may seem a little odd that Smith is being compared to a group of 13 year old
kids that play baseball on a dilapidated field in their hometown, that is
probably the best way to describe the way the York, Pa. native carries himself on
and off the baseball diamond.
just wants to have fun. He can do impersonations on the spot of just about
anyone and always tries to find a way to make the people around him laugh. He's
has no shame in comparing himself to the aforementioned kids from "The Sandlot",
because that is what he is.
me, one-hundred percent," said Smith. "Day in and day out, that is what I try
to bring to the team. I always revert back to playing as a kid and bringing
that mentality to the field and hopefully that translates from player to
loves [his attitude]," said sophomore shortstop Taylor Skerpon. "He is very
good at impersonations and that keeps the dugout light. We always look to Ryky
in the dugout to start a rally or something like that. He's good at what he
preached over the last few days that he wants his team to get back to having
Skerpon, that is exactly what Smith has been able to keep at a constant over
the past few days, something very important to the Penn State players.
current skid isn't fun for Smith and it may be hard at times to try and enjoy
the game, he firmly believes that his team must have fun.
the going gets tough you always have to revert back to why you are playing the
game and hopefully we are all playing the game because it is fun," said Smith.
"Winning is fun, everyone knows that, but when you're losing you need to continue
to have fun to play this game, even though it is tough sometimes."
mentality as paid dividends as of late for Smith on a personal level as he was
given the opportunity to start the final two games in the Nittany Lions
three-game series against Purdue.
saw the opportunity and seized it by going 4-for-8 with three runs scored and
one RBI in those two games, starting at first base for just the second and
third times all season.
combine the rookie's talent with his personality and versatility on the field,
he has made a great case to pencil his name into the starting lineup,
especially with the mentality that he carries.
positive and having fun is very important [to me]," said Wine. "[Smith] is one
of those ball players that I love having on the field."
Smith is appreciative of the opportunity his coaches have afforded him, he
knows there is more to contribute than just a multi-hit game or a strong
go [hitless] with four strikeouts, but if I helped point something out that helps
another guy on the team, that is contributing," said Smith. "It is all about
contributing towards a team win, whether you have personal succeed or not."
matter what, though, win or lose, Smith just wants to have fun. Just like the
fictional characters from the dusty field in Los Angeles.
type of play, although we are in college and are adults now, you can always
turn back to that childish type of play and that always brings the game back into
perspective," said Smith.
By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - On a rainy and cloudy Sunday, Penn State was swept for the second
straight weekend of Big Ten play. However, maybe for the first time in recent
weeks there were numerous positives for head coach Robbie Wine to takeaway as
his team put together two encouraging performances on Saturday and Sunday.
started on Saturday with a two run comeback in the ninth inning to tie the game
before falling in the 10th and then erasing a three run deficit on Sunday in
the fifth inning.
has reached a point where he is telling himself and his team to focus only on
the positives and that's exactly what he did when evaluating this weekend's
games. He said it is not his team's effort, but more so erasing the pressure
and the negatives that come with such a losing streak.
guys are locked in, they're trying, doing their best, it's just overcoming some
of these mistakes we are making," said Wine. "[The pressure] is growing on us.
[There is] more pressure on routine plays and we have to get rid of that, we
have to play this game relaxed."
telling his team the positives of its recent games, Wine hopes to achieve
exactly that. Quite frankly, there are a lot of good things that came out of
Purdue's three game sweep of the Lions.
redshirt freshman Ryky Smith was inserted into the lineup at first base for the
first time of the 2013 season. Smith added a single, an RBI and another run
scored on Sunday to stand out as one of Penn State's biggest bright spots from
acknowledging the numbers that Smith put up over the weekend, Wine looked at
his personality and his demeanor as the biggest thing he took away from Smith's
even compared Smith's attitude on the field to that of the characters from the
movie "The Sandlot".
is always there," said Wine. "He is one of those ball players that I love
having on the field. My whole thought is trying to get him on the field because
he does bring energy out there and he's talking all the time.
need that to start carrying over from player to player."
a good chance that Wine will continue to see that happen over the coming weeks.
More and more bright spots are emerging, even if the overall outcome isn't what
the Nittany Lions want to be.
example is Sunday's starting pitcher Greg Welsh. Welsh struggled in his last
outing at Indiana, but put that behind him as he faced Purdue and struck out 11
batters in eight innings and 142 pitches.
made his improvements by staying positive, a theme Wine wants and needs to
carry over to the rest of his team.
the only way," said Wine. "People dwell on being in a slump individually, as a
hitter or struggling defensively and when that ground ball is hit to you a
million negative things go through your mind instead of the positives. The
longer an at bat goes those negative thoughts get in there and we just have to
flush them out."
allow his team to do that, he gave them the day off on Monday to focus on
academics and their personal mindset before a practice on Tuesday and a road
game at Kent State on Wednesday.
told the media after the game he advised his team to be away from the Medlar
Field facilities on Monday and think about all of the good things, rather than
bad things they need to be focusing on.
believes that if they can do that, they will realize the most important thing
his team may be forgetting at times; they have to have fun, no matter what.
have to find the fun in the game again and we are not doing that right now," he
said. "We just have to get over the hump with the negative thoughts and have to