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Baseball Travels to No. 19 Purdue this Weekend

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Zach Ell

March 29, 2012

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball (7-16, 1-2) will open up its second weekend of Big Ten action as it travels to Purdue beginning on Friday for a three-game set. The Nittany Lions went 1-2 against Indiana this weekend and are coming off a two-game sweep of Coppin State on Wednesday. Penn state has lost seven of its last eight games against Purdue.

Penn State baseball picked up two wins on Wednesday afternoon over the Coppin State Eagles by scores of 6-2 and 7-1. Senior Mike Franklin and freshman Patton Taylor each picked up wins on the mound. The win for Taylor was the first of his career. Franklin fanned a career-high eight batters, while JC Coban and Alex Farkes each hit homeruns in separate games for the Nittany Lions. The homerun by Farkes was the first of his Nittany Lion career. Coban's homer was the second of the season for him.

Junior pitcher John Walter (Haddonfield, N.J.) will be handed the ball on Friday night, making his second Friday start of the season. Walter enters the series with a 0-4 record, but has had some solid outings. Despite a poor outing last weekend against Indiana, Walter had his best outing of the season two starts ago, as he went 7.2 innings of five-hit ball and giving up just one run at No. 25 East Carolina. Walter also punched out four batters and walked three on the day in a no-decision effort.

Saturday's starter will be sophomore Joe Kurrasch (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), who will be making his third career start in a Penn State uniform. In last Saturday's win against Indiana, Kurrasch pitched a solid game for the Lions as he went seven innings of two-run ball to get the no-decision. In his first career start at East Carolina, he didn't allow a base runner from the fourth to the beginning of the eighth inning. Kurrasch fanned seven batters and gave up four earned runs in his first-career start in a Nittany Lion uniform. He threw 109 pitches in a complete game effort and only walked one batter.

Junior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) will get the ball in Sunday's contest. Hill enters the series looking for his first win of the season, but has pitched very solid as of late. The junior has had quality outings in the last three contests, as he gave up just two runs in 6.1 innings of work last Sunday against the Hoosiers.

Purdue enters this weekend with a 18-4 overall record with a 2-0 mark in home contests. The Boilermakers are one of the most dangerous teams in college baseball right now and have done most of their winning away from home, going 10-3 in road games and 6-1 in neutral site contests. Purdue's .336 team batting average is good enough for first in the country. Eric Charles, Cameron Perkins and Kevin Plawecki each have accumulated 30-plus hits this season, while hitting .370 or better. Perkins and Plawecki are the big RBI guys in the lineup, as they have driven in 26 and 23 respectively. Purdue will throw two righties and a lefty in Joe Haase (3-0, 4.83), Lance Breedlove (3-2, 3.41) and Calvin Gunter (2-0, 4.13). The Boilermakers are most recently coming off a win against a ranked Louisville team this past Tuesday. In addition, Purdue took two of three at Ohio State last weekend.

Purdue holds a 36-26 all-time advantage over the Nittany Lions, winning seven of the last eight meetings. The Boilermakers took two of three in Happy Valley last season and also defeated Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State was swept the last time it travelled to Purdue.

Following Purdue, Penn State will travel to Kent State next Tuesday for a day game before returning home to Medlar Field on Wednesday. Binghamton will make the trip to Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions on MLB Cap Night. All students that wear an MLB hat to the game will get free admission.

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