Penn State Battles Norfolk State This Weekend
March 10, 2011
NORFOLK, Va. - Victorious in four of the last five games, the Penn State baseball team looks to continue its winning ways and carry some momentum into the last stretch of the squad's spring break tour as the Nittany Lions battle Norfolk State for four games beginning on Friday at 1 p.m. at Marty L. Miller Field.
Eager to get back on the diamond while riding a current three-game winning streak, Penn State looks to wrap up its spring break with another strong showing. Following Friday's contest, the Lions will square off with the Spartans in a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. before concluding the series with a single game on Sunday at noon.
Norfolk State enters the weekend with a 5-7 record and has won three of its last four contests at home. Penn State comes into play with a 7-4 record and stands at least three games over .500 for the first time since early in the 2009 campaign.
Unable to make it to the games this weekend, fans can still catch the action live by following along with GameTracker on GoPSUSports.com
Sean Deegan continues to be the bedrock of the Nittany Lion attack. The junior centerfielder leads the team with a .404 average, three triples, and 14 RBI. He has also clubbed a pair of home runs, which is tied for the most on the team with Ryan Clark and Mario Eramo.
From top to bottom, the Penn State lineup has found a groove in the early going. In addition to Deegan, Blake Lynd, Bobby Jacobs, Joey DeBernardis, and Luis Montesinos are all hitting above .300. As a team, the squad enters the weekend with a .276 average and has outscored the opposition by a 63-46 margin.
Looking equally as adept in the early going, the pitching staff has also found a fair amount of success already this season. Heath Johnson has been at the forefront of the rotation, posting a 1.20 ERA in three starts. Steven Hill and John Walter have also added sub-4.00 ERAs during their weekend appearances, while Dave Walkling is tied for the national lead with three victories.
Yesterday, the Lions also received a boost from a few other players to extend their winning streak. Mike Franklin, in his first appearance of the season, tossed seven innings and struck out six while limiting ODU to four runs. Freshman catcher Alex Farkes provided the offensive support, reaching base safely in all five plate appearances while knocking in the go-ahead run with a two-run double that happened to be his first career hit.
The Norfolk State Spartans are led by a well-balanced offensive attack. Chris Joyce leads the way with a stellar .426 batting average, while John Rasberry is close behind at .389. Brandon Hairston has provided the power in the middle of the lineup, clubbing a team-high three home runs while posting 13 RBI.
Running is also a large part of the Spartan offense as the squad has swiped 17 bases in 21 attempts during the 2011 campaign. John Lynch has been the top thief, going a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts this season. Rasberry also has swiped three, while six other members of the team have stolen at least one.
Anchoring the starting rotation are aces Jordan Egan and Ryan VanAssche. Egan is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA this year, while VanAssche has picked up a pair of victories and posted a 3.43 ERA during his three starts on the mound.
Penn State will continue its early-season road trips next weekend when the squad travels to Kansas for a three-game series against No. 19 Wichita State beginning on Friday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m.