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After being behind Matt Cavagnaro and Scott Gaffney on the depth chart for his few two seasons at Penn State, Landon Nakata got his first opportunity to become an everyday starter in 2008. He displayed outstanding plate discipline. Nakata had a team-high 39 walks, the third most in Penn State history, and tied a Big Ten record with 108 assists. The 39 walks, along with 51 hits, earned him the team's fourth-best on-base percentage (.415). In 2009, Nakata will be one of the team's top middle infielders, rotating between shortstop and second base. He'll be instrumental in the success of Penn State as he looks to work pitch counts and get on base for the team's power hitters.
In his first season as a regular starter, has put up solid numbers while playing primarily second base....Started 45 games at second base and eight at shortstop....Hit mostly in the number two spot in the order (45 times) while starting 53 games and seeing action in 55 contests on the year....Leads the team and co-leads the Big Ten in walks with 39 and also leads the team in on-base percentage (.415)....Second on the team in sacrifice hits (12)....Currently ranks tied for third in school history for single season walks....Also leads the team and the Big Ten in defensive assists with 168, which also ranks third in Penn State single season history....Reached base safely in 13 straight games from March 29-April 13....Overall, reached base safely in 44 out of 52 games played....Drew walks in nine of 10 games between March 29 and April 12, including one string in which he drew multiple walks in six straight games....Reached base safely in 19 out of 26 consecutive plate appearances in a six-game span from April 5-April 12.
_vs. High Point (2/24): Started the season with extra-base hits in three of his first four games, including a 2-for-5 performance with a pair of RBI against High Point.
_vs. Kennesaw State (3/1): Hithis first career home run, a two-run shot.
_vs. Connecticut (3/11): Scored a pair of runs and drove in a run with his second home run of the year against the Huskies.
_vs. Ohio State (3/29): Knocked in a run and went 2-for-3 against the Buckeyes.
_vs. Purdue (4/11-13): Started off the Purdue series by going 2-for-3 with three runs, two RBI and three walks. In the series finale versus Purdue, went 2-for-5 with a run and a double.
_vs. Indiana (4/19): Had two RBI and scored a run.
_vs. Youngstown State (4/23): Drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth to force in the tying run against the Penguins and went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs in the game.
_vs. Illinois (4/26): Scored three runs and went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a double in the first game of the doubleheader against the Fighting Illini. Followed that up by hitting his third home run of the year and driving in two runs in the second game of the twinbill.
_vs. Iowa (5/9-10): Went 2-for-4 with a double and a run in the series opener against Iowa. Scored twice, had two RBI and went 2-for-2 and also drew two walks in the first game of the doubleheader against the Hawkeyes. Knocked in the tying run in the bottom of the seventh with a single just before Joe Blackburn hit his game-winning, grand slam in the second game of the Iowa doubleheader (5-10).
_vs. Minnesota (5/15): Went 3-for-5 with two RBI in the series opener.
Played for the Waimea Waves of the Hawai'i Collegiate Baseball League....Helped lead the team to a 20-12 overall record and a first place finish in the six-team league.
Spent the season as a backup for all three infield positions but mainly was Mike Deese's backup at third....Started four games at third, two at DH, and one at second....Got a hit in four of his seven starts....Hit .273 with nine hits in 33 at bats with a .394 slugging percentage and a .342 on-base percentage....Had three extra-base hits on the year, the first of his career, and scored six runs in just 37 plate appearances._
_vs. Northwestern (4/21): Entered the game as a replacement at third for Mike Deese and went 2-for-2 with a double and a triple and two RBI in the third game of the Northwestern series.
_vs. Indiana (4/28-29): Went a perfect 3-for-3 at Indiana Doubled and scored in the series finale at Indiana.
Started four games and played in 19 as a true freshman....Displayed outstanding plate discipline as he drew seven walks and struck out just five times in only 21 at bats....Had a .429 on-base percentage, which would have been second on the team if he had qualified for the team lead....Was flawless in the field in 17 chances.
_vs. Sacred Heart (3/5): Drew a walk in his first plate appearance and had a two-run single in his first official career at bat against Sacred Heart.
_vs. Arizona State (3/25-26): Entered the game as a pinch hitter and later as a defensive replacement and went 2-for-3 with a run scored at Arizona State, while playing in front of his family, who had come to Tempe from Hawaii for the weekend. Got his first career start the next day at Arizona State.
Named All-State Honorable Mention by the Honolulu Advertiser (`02, `03, `04); First team All-State his senior year; State Champions (`04); ILH and State Champions (`05); Team went 20-6 as a junior and 21-3 as a senior; Earned four varsity letters; Elected team captain for two years; Attended the same high school as professional golf standout Michelle Wie.
Landon Thomas Nakata was born September 24, 1986 in Honolulu, Hawai'i; Parents are Dale and Lawton, Sister Richelle (26); Sister Richelle played volleyball at California-Davis; Landon is majoring in business.