Penn State Baseball Hosts Kent State on Tuesday
April 4, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State baseball team will continue its homestand on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. when the Nittany Lions host the Kent State Golden Flashes during a non-conference bout at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Having won five or their first seven home games, the Nittany Lions (17-8) enter the contest on a nice roll in Happy Valley. Meanwhile, Kent State (15-10) comes into the midweek action with a 10-8 record during road tilts in 2011.
Unable to complete their battle last Wednesday in Ohio, the two teams played three innings before the game was cancelled due to a blizzard that engulfed the stadium. During that contest, PSU jumped out to a 1-0 advantage on an RBI double by Joey DeBernardis and capitalized on three outstanding innings by freshman southpaw Greg Welsh before the storm rolled into town.
Recently, the Lions and Flashes have established a bit of a rivalry with a slew of meetings over the last few years. In 2010, the two squads battled four times with each team picking up a pair of victories. Penn State won the lone battle in Happy Valley after topping Kent State, 10-8.
Making their first appearance under the lights at Medlar Field this season, the Nittany Lions hope to continue their recent success in home night games. Last year, the squad won seven such contests after capturing three in 2009.
Available on Penn State All-Access and ESPN Radio 1450 AM, the game will be broadcast live with commentators Loren Crispell and Brian Tripp behind the mic. GameTracker will also be available for the contest on GoPSUSports.com
Nearing the midpoint of the season, Penn State has looked strong in the early going by combining a deep rotation with a talented lineup. Currently, the Nittany Lions rank second in the Big Ten with a 3.04 ERA and third with 150 runs scored. Additionally, the PSU defense leads the conference with 32 double plays.
Masterful on the mound, sophomores John Walter and Steven Hill have held their opposition in-check so far this season. In the Big Ten, both men currently rank in the top-10 in ERA, opponent batting average, and strikeouts. Hill also sits atop the conference with 48.1 innings pitched.
Unstoppable in the first few weeks of the season, the top of the Lion lineup has also been outstanding so far this year. Batting a robust .289 as a team, Penn State has five individuals hitting over .300, led by Sean Deegan's .358 average.
Not to be overlooked, Jordan Steranka is hitting .340 with a league-high six home runs, while Joey DeBernardis is raking at a .337 clip with a Big Ten-best 14 doubles. Bobby Jacobs and Luis Montesinos have also done their part in the early going, combining for 54 hits and 29 RBI.
Similarly as strong on both sides of the ball, Kent State has posted an incredible 2.78 ERA while scoring 138 runs. All-American hopeful Andrew Chafin has been the leader of the Golden Flashes, going 3-1 with a 0.65 ERA and 49 strikeouts in just 41.1 innings of work.
Offensively, KSU has relied on Ben Klafczynski, who leads the squad with a .417 batting average, six home runs, and 24 RBI. Jimmy Rider is also hitting .306 with 17 RBI, while David Lyon and Travis Shaw have knocked in 21 runs apiece.
Next up for Penn State will be a trip to Northwestern for the squad's first Big Ten road series of the season. Action will get underway on Friday evening when the two teams take the field at 4 p.m. ET.