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|Game Notes: Penn State | Bucknell|
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After playing its first 17 games on the road, Penn State returns home to play its next eight games in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, starting with Bucknell Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and West Virginia Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Purchase Penn State baseball tickets by visiting GoPSUsports.com or calling the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park ticket office at 814-272-1711. For more information on Penn State baseball tickets please call 814-272-1711 or email Stephen Christ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday - Bucknell
Two tickets for the price of one! Any fan who purchases a full price ticket is eligible to claim an additional ticket at no charge.
FREE Hot Chocolate to the first 200 fans through the gates
Wednesday - West Virginia
Wing Wednesday! Fans can enjoy wings at the ball park at the following great prices:
- 3 wings for $3
- 6 wings for $5.50
- 12 wings for $10
Live Video: N/A
Live Audio: GoPSUSports.com
Live Stats: GoPSUsports.com
Radio: State College’s ESPN 1450 AM
Bucknell Series History: 128-29-1
Last Series: 2016, Home, Penn State 2-0
PSU RHP Eric Mock (0-1, 2.16 ERA)
Home Sweet Home
The Nittany Lions will open their 11th season in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, where they hold a 132-85 all-time record. Penn State won a facility record 10 consecutive games last season en route to totaling 15 wins, its most since 2008. The Lions enjoyed their seventh winning mark in the park and hosted two of the 11 largest crowds in program history.
Penn State is in the midst of a stretch of nine games in nine days by virtue of its doubleheader at Delaware Saturday and another doubleheader scheduled for Saturday against Columbia. With three games down at Delaware, the Nittany Lions have games remaining against Bucknell, West Virginia and four against Columbia.
In-State Winning Streak
Penn State has won its last 12 games against Pennsylvania-located opponents dating back to 2014. Last season, Penn State went 4-0 with two wins over Bucknell and single wins at Lafayette and at Pitt. The Lions are scheduled to face Bucknell again in April, as well as Pitt in a home-and-home series, Lafayette at home and Villanova at home in May.
The average Nittany Lion starter this season is a sophomore, as the average class year (Freshman = 1 ... Senior = 4) across all 10 positions through 17 games is 2.00. On the mound the Lions are averaging 2.24 years of experience as compared to 1.97 at the plate. For the 2016 season, the Lions averaged 2.25 years in the starting lineup with a youthful 1.96 on the mound and a deceptive 2.49 at the dish as the Lions started two to five freshmen per game.
The Nittany Lions have used underclassmen exclusively up the middle this season. Sophomores Ryan Sloniger and Willie Burger have platooned at catcher, with freshman Brett Davis also drawing two starts. Sophomore Conlin Hughes has started every game at second base, and freshmen Joe Weisenseel and Mason Nadeau have started the vast majority of games at shortstop and centerfield, respectively. Freshman Braxton Giavedoni has drawn 11 of 14 starts in left field.
Penn State only has three upperclassman position players on the roster, and senior Alex Malinsky has only played in one game this season due to injury.
The Nittany Lions are 0-1 in midweek games so far this season, dropping a 10-2 decision at UC Davis (3/8). They have 10 remaining.
The Lions went 10-2 in midweek games last season, only dropping both games of a home-and-home series with Kent State.
Sophomore second baseman Conlin Hughes has arguably been Penn State’s most consistent position player.
He owns the team’s longest hitting (10) and reached base streaks (14) of the season (not active), only failing to reach base in the season opener at No. 1 TCU (2/17) and in the second game at Delaware (3/18).
During a tough week at Delaware during which the Lions only had 10 hits over three games, Hughes had three of those hits and enjoyed a multi-hit game in the series opener, breaking up a no-hit bid by Delaware’s starting pitcher in the seventh.
Hughes leads the team with 12 runs and five stolen bases and is batting .288 with a .356 on-base percentage to go along with two home runs and seven RBIs. With the exception of the RBI total (third), he ranks second in each of the other categories.
Hughes and sophomore outfielder Jordan Bowersox are the only two Nittany Lions to play in every game and start every game so far this season.
Bowersox Leading at the Dish
Jordan Bowersox is the team leader in average (.359), hits (23), doubles (6), total bases (32), on-base percentage (.433) and extra base hits (6 2B, 1 HR).
He is also second on the team with nine RBIs and tied for second with four stolen bases.
Year-over-year, Penn State has doubled its home run total through 17 games, jumping from five to 10. Penn State hit 16 home runs in all of 2016.
The Lions have also slugged 13 more extra base hits, totaling 40 so far this season.
Penn State’s 10 home runs in the first 14 games of the season was is its most since at least 2002.
XBH 27 40
2B 18 29
HR 5 10
New Power Sources
Seven different Nittany Lions, as many as last year, have combined for 10 home runs.
Four hit their first career home runs, including three sophomores - Conlin Hughes, Jordan Bowersox and Keith Leavitt - and one freshman - Braxton Giavedoni.
Christian Helsel hit a grand slam against Pacific (3/5) after going homer-less in 2016. He hit one home run in 2015.
Willie Burger hit just one home run as a freshman, but hit two in the third game of the season at No. 1 TCU (2/19) and added another at Sacramento State (3/11).
Nick Riotto has one home run after hitting two last season. He is the only Nittany Lion returning with multiple home runs hit the season prior.
Burger is the team power leader with a career-high three home runs, a .482 slugging percentage and 15 RBIs. He is also batting .286 and getting on base at a .333 clip.
RHP Sal Biasi leads the Big Ten and ranks 14th in the nation with 13.50 strikeouts per nine innings.
He has struck out a total of 20 batters in his last two appearances (11.1 IP), setting career highs in back-to-back outings of nine (at Sac State, 3/9) and 11 (at Delaware, 3/18) strikeouts.
He ranks second in the Big Ten and 74th in the NCAA with 35 strikeouts.
Starting RHPs Sal Biasi, Justin Hagenman and Cole Bartels combined to throw 16 innings and allow just one earned run on 12 hits and seven walks with 22 strikeouts at Delaware, but all three suffered losses.
Biasi struck out a career-high 11 batters in 5 2/3 innings pitched, allowing an unearned run on three hits and three walks, and Hagenman also set a career high for strikeouts with 10, working six innings and yielding two unearned runs on five hits and a walk.
Bartels yielded one run on four hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings with one strikeout.
Bart Likes to Start
Freshman RHP Cole Bartels has found success in his first two starts, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and four walks with three strikeouts over eight innings pitched for a 1.12 ERA.
In four appearances out of the bullpen, Bartels had a 8.44 ERA after yielding five runs on six hits and 10 walks with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
A total of 11 Nittany Lions have made their debuts this season.
Five position players have also made their first career starts, while redshirt freshman RHP Eric Mock will become the third pitcher to make his first career start.
Freshmen Mason Nadeau and Joe Weisenseel started the first 14 and 16 games, respectively, this season.
Nadeau’s first career hit was a double against Xavier (2/24), and he went 6-for-13 for the series.
Weisenseel singled at No. 1 TCU in his second game.
Freshman Braxton Giavedoni made his debut in the second game of the season at No. 1 TCU (2/18) and doubled for his first career hit when he drew his first start in the series finale. After entering the next game as a pinch runner, he has started the last 13 games.
RHP Myles Gayman pitched the final inning of the TCU series (2/19) and made his first career start against Xavier, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Redshirt freshmen LHP Blake Hodgens RHP Eric Mock both made their first appearances at No. 1 TCU.
Freshman Logan Goodnight made his debut starting at No. 1 TCU (2/18) and tallied his first career hit - a double - against Xavier (2/25).
Freshman RHP Cole Bartels made his debut pitching two innings at No. 1 TCU (2/19) and made his first start Sacramento State (3/11), allowing an unearned run in 3 2/3 innings.
Freshman catcher Brett Davis entered in the second and third games at No. 1 TCU. He made his first career start and recorded his first career hit at Pacific (3/6)/
Junior transfer LHP Colin Macon and freshman RHP Tucker Triebold both made their debuts on the mound against Xavier (2/25).
Senior catcher Alex Malinsky saw his first action of the season in the finale at Delaware.
Malinsky was injured during preseason practice.
Scholly Takes the Mound
Penn State senior Tim Scholly has already pitched more this season than he had in his previous three years combined (counting the 2015 season he missed due to injury).
Scholly has three appearances this season and has worked three scoreless innings in games at UC Davis (3/8), at Sacramento State (3/10) and at Delaware (3/18).
The State College native allowed a single in his last outing at Delaware for his first hit allowed of the season, but recorded his first career strikeout too
He is the only Penn State pitcher with a 0.00 ERA still.
Scholly entered the season with 2 1/3 innings pitched over three appearances in 2014 and 2016.