Baseball Travels to Houston for Two-Game Set
March 4, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas – The Penn State baseball team will take on its fourth opponent of an eight-game road trip, competing midweek for the first time this season against Houston. The Nittany Lions (3-6, 0-0 Big Ten) will take on the Cougars (8-3, 0-0 C-USA) on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET and on Wednesday, March 6 at 5 p.m. ET. This is the first ever meeting between the two programs.
Links: Both games will be available via GameTracker.
Last Time Out: The Lions are coming off of a 2-1 performance at the UTSA Collegiate Baseball Classic, topping Stephen F. Austin, 4-2, and shutting out Nebraska-Omaha, 3-0, while falling to UTSA, 3-2. Penn State led the tournament with a 0.35 ERA and two saves in 26.0 innings, with sophomore Ryan Harper (Texas City, Texas) posting a 0.00 ERA in seven innings with two strikeouts. Harper tallied his first career win as a Nittany Lion against the Mavericks, with redshirt senior Dave Walkling (Nanaimo, B.C.) earning his first win of the season against the Lumberjacks. Senior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) also held a 0.00 ERA in the tournament, pitching six innings and striking out seven batters against the Roadrunners.
Leading the team with a .500 batting average in the three-game stretch, sophomore Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) recorded five hits with two RBIs and a stolen base. Additionally, sophomore J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.) recorded his second home run of the season against SFA, while sophomore Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) notched his first home run of 2013 for the third of his career.
Lion Stats: Penn State currently is hitting .238 as a team, with Skerpon leading the pack with a .417 average and slugging percentage. The sophomore has racked up 10 hits and currently holds a .976 fielding percentage. Skerpon, Coban and sophomore J.J. White (Lansdowne, Va.) have combined for a total of 26 hits and 16 RBIs this season, with Coban leading Penn State with seven RBIs and two home runs. The sophomore currently holds a .444 slugging percentage to lead the team, as well. Penn State also has an overall fielding percentage of .969, which is fourth in the Big Ten.
The Lions’ pitching staff enters the Houston series with an overall 4.44 ERA, with three saves in 73.0 innings. Harper leads the squad with a 1.46 ERA, while freshman Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) leads with two saves and has pitched 5.0 scoreless innings. After their performances at the UTSA Classic, Hill improved to a 4.67 ERA and Walkling improved to a 2.33 ERA. Sophomore Patton Taylor (Nichols, N.Y.) will make the start in Tuesday’s contest, holding a 9.82 ERA after two appearances against ETSU and Liberty. This will be the sophomore’s third start of the season and the fourth of his career.
Scouting the Cougars: Houston is currently hitting .260 as a team, with Jonathan Davis leading the squad with a .367 average and a .567 slugging percentage. The Cougars’ top players include Kyle Kirk, Justin Montemayor and Josh Vidales, who have combined for 35 hits, 24 runs and 17 RBIs this season. All three are also hitting at least .300. Leading Houston in RBIs, Caleb Barker has posted 10, with Davis and Kirk each tallying eight.
The Cougars pitching staff is led by Chase Wellbrock, who holds a 1.59 ERA in 11.1 innings of relief. Also coming out of the bull pen for Houston is Jake Lemoine, boasting a 2-0 record with a 0.00 ERA in 8.1 innings. Aaron Garza, who has helped the Cougars to an overall team ERA of 3.75, will make the start on Tuesday. The sophomore sits with a 1-0 record and a 2.45 ERA after 11.0 midweek innings.
Up Next: Following the two-game set with Houston, Penn State will take on Houston Baptist for a weekend-series from March 8-10.
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