After seeing last weekend's games canceled due to snow, the Penn State baseball team opens its season this weekend at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge. The Nittany Lions will face Cincinnati on Friday (1 p.m.), Seton Hall on Saturday (10 a.m.) and Notre Dame on Sunday (10 a.m.).
This weekend marks the second ever Big Ten/BIG EAST challenge. The Lions will play in varioius facilities around the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area. Al Lang Stadium and Naimoli Complex, sites of Friday's and Sunday's games, are in the former spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays while Saturday's tilt at Jack Russell Stadium will be played in the former Philadelpha Phillies' facility.
The Nittany Lions posted a 2-1 record in last season's challenge, defeating Northwestern and Seton Hall while falling to St. John's.
GameTracker will be available all weekend. Live streaming video will be available on Friday while Sunday's game can be heard through Notre Dame radio. In addition, be sure to follow the Penn State Baseball Twitter page for continued updates throughout the weekend.
Probable Starting Pitchers Friday vs. Cincinnati, 1:00 p.m., Al Lang Stadium (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Penn State: Ryan Ignas (First Appearance)
Cincinnati: Dan Jansen (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
Saturday vs. Seton Hall, 10:00 a.m., Jack Russell Stadium (Clearwater, Fla.)
Penn State: Neal Herring (First Appearance)
Seton Hall: TBA
Sunday vs. Notre Dame, 10:00 a.m., Naimoli Complex (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Penn State: Calvin Grumley (First Appearance)
Notre Dame: Eric Maust (0-0, 0.00 ERA) or Steve Sabatino (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Penn State Set For Second Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge
The Penn State baseball team will face Cincinnati, Seton Hall and Notre Dame at the 2010 Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission.
The event runs for three days, from Feb. 26-28, 2010, in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area.
Last year, the Nittany Lions went 2-1 record, with wins over Northwestern and Seton Hall. Penn State was one of only six Big Ten squads to post a winning record along with Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.
Baseball's Season-Opening Weekend Canceled Due To Snow
The Penn State baseball team's season-opening weekend at Longwood University was canceled due to snow pack. The Nittany Lions were scheduled to play a neutral site game against Coppin State on Saturday before facing host Longwood on Sunday.
Southern Virginia received a significant amount of snow in the past weeks, which made the field unplayable.
Nittany Lions Take Part in THON
With its season-opening weekend canceled, the Penn State baseball team made the most of it by getting involved in THON at the Bryce Jordan Center. The 38th annual Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon began on Friday (Feb. 19) at 6 p.m. and lasted until Sunday at 4 p.m., raising more than $7.8 million for pediatric cancer research.
Penn State student-athletes have always been heavily involved in THON. Baseball is normally on the road THON weekend, but with the games at Longwood canceled, the Nittany Lions were on campus, giving them the opportunity to participate. Despite being too late to enter the pep rally, the squad found time between a busy weekend of practice for Athlete Hour on Saturday.
All-Time In Season Openers
Penn State looks to improve on its 73-46 all-time record in season openers.
The Nittany Lions have struggled of late, winning only two of their last eight season-openers. In the process, they've dropped games against some of the nation's best teams: 2009 (St. John's), 2007 (Kansas State), 2006 (Tulane), 2005 (Charlotte), 2004 (Virginia) and 2003 (Arizona State). They did defeat High Point in 2008 and Norfolk State in 2002.
Penn State posted an impressive 19 straight season-opening wins, spanning from 1948-1966.
All-Time Against The BIG EAST
Penn State owns an impressive 260-136-2 all-time record against current members of the BIG EAST.
The squad has faced Pittsburgh the most (120 times) while also playing West Virginia (105), Villanova (59) and Rutgers (54) numerous times.
The Nittany Lions have never faced two squads - Cincinnati & Louisville.
In total, Penn State plays five BIG EAST teams this season, the most of any conference (other than the Big Ten) - Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Villanova.
Latest Season Opener Since...
Due to last weekend's cancelation, Friday marks the latest season-opener for the Nittany Lions since 2003 when they opened on Feb. 28 at Arizona State.
In fact, this is only the third time in the last 16 years that Penn State has begun Feb. 26 or later.
The Series With Cincinnati
The Nittany Lions face four teams for the first time this season, starting with Cincinnati on Friday.
They also play Hofstra, Lamar and McNeese State for the first time of their long and storied history.
The Bearcats opened their season last weekend with a win and two losses against Florida Atlantic. Following a season-opening victory on Friday, they were shut-out in two straight games, falling 3-0 and 9-0.
The squad returns 21 letterwinners from last season's team that went 29-29 and advanced to the BIG EAST Tournament.
The top offensive returnee is sophomore T.J. Jones, who hit .327 in his rookie campaign with four home runs and 32 RBI.
Junior Dan Jansen, who is slated to start against the Lions Friday, is one of the top returning pitchers. He went 3-4 with a 4.60 ERA in 26 games out of the bullpen last season. This year, he has already started one game at FAU, tossing five strong innings, only allowing three hits and an earned run for the victory.
The Series With Seton Hall
The Lions and Pirates have faced 11 times, dating all the way back to 1899, with the all-time series knotted at 5-5-1.
Penn State was undefeated through the first four meetings (three wins and a tie), but Seton Hall responded with four straight victories spanning from 1974 to 1986.
The Nittany Lions broke that streak at last season's Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, a 6-1 victory.
The teams have played at a neutral site on five occasions, three Penn State victories.
Scouting Seton Hall
Seton Hall enters the weekend with an 0-3 record after three hard-fought games against Texas A&M.
The Pirates hung tough, especially in the final two games, falling 13-6 and 6-3 in College Station.
The squad is coming off a solid campaign in 2009, posting a 25-24 record and 13-14 conference mark. It returns 21 of 31 letterwinners from that team.
The top returning hitter is senior Michael Rogers, who hit .299 with one home run and 23 RBI last year. Junior A.J. Rusbarsky also returns after a season in which he hit .271 in a team-leading 203 at-bats.
Henry Warner is one of the top returning pitchers. The redshirt sophomore went 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in 19 games and two starts. Matt Singer also returns for his final season after posting a 6-4 record with a 4.12 ERA in 29 games out of the bullpen.
The Series With Notre Dame
Like Seton Hall, Penn State has also faced Notre Dame 11 times, but the Irish hold a 8-3 advantage.
The first-ever meeting in the all-time series came in 1909. Notre Dame won three straight from 1909-1913, but Penn State broke the skid in 1957, while also winning the next meeting that came a full 40 years later.
The Fighting Irish are in the midst of a four-game winning streak in the all-time series.
Penn State is 3-5 all-time at neutral site games.
Scouting Notre Dame
The Irish rolled through their opening weekend, posting a 3-0 record in dominating fashion. They defeated Mississippi Valley State (12-4, 8-3 and 19-3).
Leading the way through three games is senior first baseman Casey Martin, who hit .500 (8-for-16) with two home runs and seven RBI last weekend. He was later honored with BIG EAST Player of the Week accolades.
The top returning hitter is junior Mick Doyle, who finished with a .327 average, three home runs and 31 RBI last season.
The pitching staff has impressed thus far, posting a 3.00 ERA and allowing only 19 hits in 27 innings pitched.
Junior pitcher Cole Johnson is the top returning starter, posting a 7-3 record with a 4.47 ERA.
Baseball's Big Ten Network Schedule Released
The Penn State baseball team will be featured at least six times on the Big Ten Network in 2010.
The Nittany Lions open the Big Ten Network's coverage on Apr. 2 at Illinois. All three games from the weekend series can be viewed on BigTenNetwork.com.
Penn State's complete home series vs. Iowa from May 7-9 will be shown live on the Big Ten Network as well.
Should they make the conference tournament, the Nittany Lions would see additional games aired on the Big Ten Network. Each and every game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
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Big Ten Baseball Tournament To Be Held In Columbus Through 2010
The Big Ten Conference, Huntington Park and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission announced that Columbus, Ohio, will be home to the Big Ten Baseball Tournament for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons.
The Big Ten played its first neutral-site tournament since 1994 at Columbus' Huntington Park in 2009 and will return to the ballpark in 2011 and 2012.
Due to a facility conflict, the 2010 tournament will be held at Ohio State's Bill Davis Stadium.
For the complete story, please click here
Nittany Lions Release Complete Ticket & Promotional Information
Penn State baseball single-game and group tickets went on sale on Monday (Feb. 1) at 9 a.m. An action-packed promotional schedule is now available as well. The Nittany Lions play 21 home dates (and 22 games) at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, beginning with their home-opening weekend from Mar. 26-28 against Hofstra.
Ticket prices remain the same as last season with "In The Box" reserved seats for only $6 while Adult General Admission is $4 and Youth and Student General Admission are $2. In addition, groups of 20 or more can purchase General Admission tickets for only $3.
Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone. Please call 1-877-997-7453 or (814) 272-1711, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Fans can also direct any additional questions or comments via phone, or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information, please click here
Baseball Signs Seven Top Recruits To National Letters Of Intent
Penn State head baseball coach Robbie Wine announced in November the signing of seven top recruits to National Letters of Intent.
Among the class are five of the top prospects from Pennsylvania and two from Massachusetts. The group, that will join the program in the fall of 2010, consists of two pitchers, three position players and two others who can both pitch and play in the field.
Among the incoming freshmen are five from the Keystone State: right-handed pitcher Scott Dixon (Blairsville), outfielder Zach Ell (Plains), third baseman Kyle Redinger (Lebanon), pitcher/infielder Austin Urban (Windber) and left-handed pitcher Greg Welsh (Holland). They are set to join 15 Nittany Lion underclassmen from Pennsylvania who are scheduled to return in the fall of 2010.
Along with the Pennsylvania talent, the Nittany Lions will welcome two from Massachusetts: catcher Alex Farkes (Boston) and right-handed pitcher/infielder TJ Jann (Westford).
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Nittany Lions Ride Roller Coaster In 2009
The Penn State baseball team entered the `09 season with high hopes. After starting the year on fire, the Lions fell short of reaching their third-consecutive Big Ten Tournament. Despite the disappointment, the squad did finish with a 25-26 record, one of only four Big Ten teams (along with Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State) to post 25 or more victories in each of the last three seasons.
The Nittany Lions won 13 of their first 21 games and 21 of their first 35. Included in that stretch was taking two of three at the inaugural Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge. They were one of six Big Ten squads to finish the weekend with a winning record.
They then went on to battle at #4 Texas, but were swept by the powerhouse Longhorns. Included was a nail-biting 1-0 defeat in which senior T.J. Macy sparkled on the mound.
Penn State subsequently won six of its next nine, but the best was yet to come as the Lions followed with six straight wins in the latter stages of March. After the streak was snapped, they rebounded with a thrilling 15-11 victory over #16 Ohio State on Mar. 29.
Success continued into the beginning of April, with notable wins coming against perennial conference power Michigan, eventual NCAA qualifier Indiana and Big Ten Tournament participant Purdue. The Nittany Lions would finish the year having beaten four of the six tournament participants at least once.
Following their huge win over Indiana on Apr. 17, the Nittany Lions would struggle down the stretch.
Penn State was still alive for a postseason berth heading into the final weekend of the regular season at home. Despite dropping the first two games against #21 Minnesota to eliminate any postseason aspirations, the Lions would ultimately have a say in the Big Ten race. They then went on to a thrilling 10-8 win on May 16 amidst two rain delays to prevent the Golden Gophers from winning the Big Ten Regular Season Championship, while also concluding the season on a positive note.
Freshmen Ignas & Steranka Highlight Big Ten Postseason Honors
Penn State freshmen Ryan Ignas and Jordan Steranka were both named to the All-Big Ten Third Team, marking the first time since 1995 that the Nittany Lions netted multiple freshmen on the All-Conference squad.
Ignas enjoyed an impressive rookie season, leading the team in both wins and saves. He was one of just 10 players in all of Division I to accomplish that feat. He appeared in 22 games (two starts) with a 5-1 record, 5.31 ERA and 1.25 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched). He posted five saves while holding opponents to a .270 average.
Steranka made his mark on Penn State baseball history, becoming the program's all-time single-season hits leader for a freshman. The third baseman tallied 70 and also earned the team's "triple crown," leading in average (.365), home runs (6) and RBI (42). He was atop triples (3) and runs scored (39) as well.
In addition to All-Conference accolades, Steranka was a unanimous choice as the All-Freshman Team third baseman.
Ryan Boonie was awarded the Sportsmanship Award, which is presented to one player from each of the Big Ten baseball programs.
Hitting Streaks Aplenty
The 2009 season saw a number of lengthy hitting streaks from Penn State players.
The top came from freshman Jordan Steranka (18 games), which was tied for fourth in program history.
In addition, senior Blake Lynd and sophomore Grant Youngblood saw streaks reach 14 games, tied for 15th all-time.
In fact, Youngblood's streak was actually 15 games dating back to the final game of 2008. That mark is the fourth-longest to bridge two seasons.
Louie Picconi also posted a career-best 11-game hitting streak.
All the impressive marks are still far from the Penn State all-time leader, Michael Campo, whose streak reached 41 games in 2000.
Milestone Game For Penn State Baseball
Penn State played in its 3,000th all-time game on Mar. 1 of last season. Fittingly, it came against the winningest program in NCAA history, Texas.
The Nittany Lions stand in the top 50 in all-time winning percentage among schools with a minimum of 25 years in Division I. Their all-time record is 1,835-1,188-21 (.606).
Baseball is the oldest intercollegiate sport at Penn State, dating back to its debut in 1875. This season marks the Nittany Lions' 122nd in program history due to not fielding a team for several years in the late 1880s. Penn State is one of only a select few schools in the nation to boast a team for at least 120 years.
Lutz, Alfreno Emerge In Pen
Lefty David Lutz and righty Jesse Alfreno impressed in the bullpen last season, finishing atop the team in ERA (3.38 and 4.44, respectively). Both took very different paths to where they are today as arguably the top pitchers in the Lions' pen.
Lutz, a former walk-on was Penn State's most consistent pitcher in 2009, finishing with a 4-2 record and three saves to go with his stout ERA. Batters only hit .247 again him.
Alfreno, also a member of the Penn State football team, impressed in his first collegiate baseball season. He made his mark from the beginning, going nine innings spanning his first five appearances before allowing a run. Opponents only hit .226 against him for the year.
The duo allowed fewer hits than innings pitched. The only other Nittany Lion with at least 10 innings of work to accomplish that was T.J. Macy, who gave up 76 base knocks in a team-leading 76.1 innings.
Cory Wine Finishes Penn State Career Among Program's Best
First baseman Cory Wine concluded his collegiate career in 2009 among Penn State's career statistical leaders in a number of categories.
One of the top hitters last year and throughout his entire career, he finished his senior season with a .307 average, five home runs and 41 RBI.
He leaves as the Penn State all-time leader in three categories: at-bats (799), putouts (1,903) and sacrifice flies (13, tie).
Wine is also third in career hits (228), triples (9) and total bases (338), fifth in RBI (128), sixth in doubles (44) and eighth in walks (85).
His 458 putouts last season were third in single-season history. Wine owns the top four all-time slots.
Three From Penn State Selected In Major League Baseball Draft
Three Penn State student-athletes were selected in June's Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Pitcher Scott Kelley was chosen in the 23rd round, first baseman Cory Wine in the 38th and Nittany Lion football player Anthony Scirrotto in the 50th.
Kelley was the first selectee, going to the Kansas City Royals with the 692nd overall pick.
The following day, Wine was picked in the 38th round (1,157th overall) by his grandfather's old team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Bobby played eight seasons for the Phillies in the 1960s.
Then, a surprise selection came as Penn State football safety Scirrotto was chosen in the 50th round, also by the Royals. Scirroto last played baseball in high school, but was highly-touted and considered by many as a potential second-round Major League Draft selection coming out of high school. He chose to play football at Penn State rather than pursuing a baseball career.
Former Nittany Lion Clark Invited To San Francisco Giants' Spring Training
Former Penn State pitcher Craig Clark (Phoenixville, Pa.) is one of 22 non-roster invitees heading to San Francisco Giants' Spring Training this February, as announced by the club.
Clark, who will participate in his first-ever Major League Spring Training, is among some of the Giants' top prospects heading to Scottsdale, Ariz.
Former Penn Staters Impress In The Professional Ranks
Former Nittany Lions continued to represent Penn State well in the pros in 2009, highlighted by Craig Clark's emergence as a dominant pitcher in the California League (High-A).
The San Jose Giants pitcher finished the year with a 16-2 record and 2.86 ERA to win the league's pitcher of the year honors. He was promoted to Double-A Connecticut to finish the season and pitched against both New Britain and Akron in the Eastern League Playoffs.
Clark also made news on June 1 by striking out 10 consecutive Stockton Port batters to tie a California League record. He finished the season among the league leaders in K's with 135 in 147.2 innings of work.
Also emerging was David Aardsma of the Seattle Mariners, who had a breakout season in his first experience as a Major League closer. Aardsma, who pitched in Happy Valley in 2001, finished the season tied for fourth in the American League in saves with 38. He also struck out 80 batters in 71.1 innings, only allowing 49 hits for a miniscule .190 batting average against. He posted a career-best 2.52 ERA for the year.
Another feel-good story came from pitcher and former first round pick Nate Bump. After winning a World Series with the Marlins in 2003, he bounced around and eventually found himself with the Independent League's Camden Riversharks last season. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers' organization midseason and dazzled at Triple-A Toledo, going 7-1 in only 10 starts with a 2.38 ERA. The three-year big league veteran has a 4.68 career ERA, all with the Florida Marlins. The 34-year old looks to make it back to the majors for the first time since 2005.
A number of other pitchers impressed in 2009 with Clayton Hamilton and Sean Stidfole both reaching and enjoying success at the Triple-A level. Hamilton posted a 4.46 ERA between the Texas Rangers' Double-A and Triple-A teams while Stidfole's season ERA was 3.74 in the Toronto Blue Jays' system.
Gary Amato (1.89 ERA), Scott Gaffney (3.88), Scott Kelley (1.94) and Drew O'Neil (2.54) also excelled in the lower minors.
Vote For The Top Moment Of The 2000s!
With the 2000s coming to a close, we took some time to look back on a decade of Penn State baseball's most memorable games.
Five of the top games are highlighted, so here's your chance to vote for your favorite memory. Just click here to vote. Voting will remain open all season.
Baseball Camp Information Now Available
Baseball camp information is now available.
Just call the Sports Camp Office at (814) 865-0561 or email them at SportCampInfo@outreach.psu.edu for more information.
Also, visit them on their website by clicking here.
2010 Media Guide Now Available
The 2010 media guide is now available! In it, you can find everything you need to know about Penn State baseball including stats, player bios, a complete history section and MUCH more!
The guide is available for PDF download, for view through the interactive website Issuu or for purchase.
Hard copies are available for only $7. They can be purchased through the publications store on GoPSUsports.com.
Just click here for all the information!
Sign Up For Penn State Baseball News
Fans, want to stay up to date on the Penn State baseball team? Sign up today by contacting Justin Lafleur (email@example.com) in the Penn State Athletic Communications Department. You will receive game previews, game recaps, news releases and more, straight to your inbox!
Follow Penn State Baseball On Twitter!
Penn State baseball is on Twitter! You can find exclusive notes and features to help stay one step ahead when following the Nittany Lions.
Included will be live in-game scoring updates, so if you can't make it to Happy Valley, you'll still be able to follow all the action. Go to www.twitter.com and search for the username psubaseball. Or click here!