FEATURE: Pitchers Paradise
March 28, 2011
By Kyle G. Arslanian, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Hill, who is pitching his way to the ace designation, threw a complete game effort on Saturday against Le Moyne. Hill struck out seven, walked none and surrendered only five hits for two runs. His performance Saturday and in his previous starts has earned him the Friday start this weekend in the Big Ten opener versus Illinois. After starting the season 3-1 with two complete games and team-high 34 strikeouts, Coach Wine likes what he sees from his sophomore ace.
"What Hill has been doing, he's earned that Friday start," said head coach Robbie Wine. "He'd be a good guy to go for us because he gets his pitch count up there, throw strikes and get a feel for the other team and what they are trying to do with the bats. You talk about pitching; changing speeds, throwing strikes, working fast, that's what he does. He throws strikes and he has four pitches he throws for strikes he can put an opposing team in slumps by just having fun out there."
Not to be out done by Hill, fellow sophomore Walter came out Sunday throwing strikes. Walter struck out the side in the first inning on his way to six solid innings against the Le Moyne Dolphins. Walter was throwing so well, that through 5.2 innings, he had yet to surrender a hit. Le Moyne's Pat Wiese broke up the early no hit bid with a single to left field with two outs in the fifth. Like most pitchers, Walter did not even realize he had just given up his first hit.
"I had no idea. Actually, Mike Franklin, when I came into the dugout, he was like; `you know you just gave up a hit?' And I was like, what? I had no idea," said Walter laughing.
Throwing strikes has been key for Walter, who did allow five walks in the game, but Coach Wine is confident he will be able to pitch ahead of hitters and keep them off balance.
"Walks will hurt any pitching, and that's been his thing, and it's not only the walks, its falling behind guys that's shows up as hits or walks," said coach Wine. "He's been working on that and coach Bell has been staying after him, that's probably something that should be ironed out here soon, just get the ball and throw it. He's got the stuff; he just needs to put it all together."
The Penn State bullpen showed that if needed, it can help the team at any time. Geoff Boylston came into the second game of the double header Sunday and worked his way out of a jam and retired seven straight batters. He seemed ready to cruise through the remainder of the game until he was struck by a line drive back up the middle. Boylston wanted to continue pitching, but coach wine said it wasn't worth it and replaced Boylston so he could get checked out, luckily Boylston escaped serious injury.
The pitching staff has given the team a lift recently and the position players know how important that is and say that good pitching makes their job easier.
"Once the pitchers are going, and we get rolling; everything is just smooth and we are just playing solid ball all around," said Joe DeBernardis.