Nittany Lions Travel to Ohio State for Big Ten Showdown
April 10, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 10, 2014 - The Blue and White travel to its neighboring state this weekend for a three-game set in Columbus against Ohio State. Game one is scheduled to begin on Friday at 6:35 p.m. with game two of the series on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. The series will wrap up on Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. start in Columbus.
Follow the Games Live: This weekend’s games will have a number of options in ways fans can follow the action. Friday and Sunday’s games will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Digital Network. The games will air live on State College ESPN 1450 or can be heard on GoPSUsports.com. Fans can also follow along with the GameTracker found on GoPSUsports.com, which allows users to get up to the minute stats and plays from the game.
All-Time Series vs. Ohio State: The Nittany Lions have faced the Buckeyes more than any other opponent for the Blue and White, as the two sides have squared off 92 times in series history. Ohio State leads the all-time series with a record of 58-34 over Penn State. The Buckeyes have won the last four games, including a sweep a season ago. Prior to the 2013 campaign, Penn State won the last three regular season series, taking two out of three games in 2012, 2011 and 2010. The Lions have not found much success when playing in Columbus, recording a 13-31 record while playing at Ohio State.
Ohio State at a Glance: The Buckeyes enter the weekend with a record of 19-14. After a great start to the season, Ohio State has hit a rough patch recently, dropping seven of their last 10 games and starting 2-7 in Big Ten play. However, six of the seven losses have come against conference power houses in Indiana and Nebraska. Last weekend’s three losses at Nebraska where each by one run in low scoring affairs.
OSU at the Dish: Through 33 games, Ohio State is hitting .268 as a team in 2014. The Buckeyes’ best hitter for average has been sophomore infielder Ryan Leffel, who leads the team with a batting average of .393 (22-of-56). Sophomore Troy Kuhn leads the team in runs (27), doubles (9), home runs (4) and RBIs (22). The team has not been a threat on the base paths, stealing just 12 bases.
OSU on the Mound: The Buckeye pitching staff has a combined ERA of 3.4+ this season, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Friday’s starter, LHP Tanner Tully, has been dominant this season, posting an ERA of 1.91 in four starts and five relief appearances. The Buckeyes’ best arm out of the bullpen this year has been RHP Tyler Giannonatti, who enters the weekend with the team’s best ERA of 1.06 over 17 innings, holding teams to an average of .213.
Last Series vs. the Buckeyes: Ohio State earned a three-game sweep over Penn State in last season’s matchup in Columbus. The Buckeyes won the first two games by two runs each before claiming the finale by a score of 8-3. Despite coming up short in all three contests, Penn State recorded more hits in the three-game set and in two of the three games. The OSU offense proved to be more efficient, getting clutch hits when needed.
Last Time Out: The Nittany Lions played one of their best games of the season, defeating a strong West Virginia team by a final of 8-4. The Penn State bats posted 13 hits, while Geoff Boylston, Dakota Forsyth and Jack Anderson held the Mountaineer hitters in check. The trio cobined to allow just three earned runs in Tuesday’s win.
Haley Named B1G Freshman of the Week: Freshman Jim Haley was awarded the Big Ten Freshman Player of the Week on Tuesday, April 8, marking the first Big Ten accolade in his collegiate career. Haley achieved the honor by hitting .500 in the three-game series against Purdue. The freshman turned in two multi-hit performances in West Lafayette, propelling the Blue and White to its first series win over the Boilermakers since 2007. The Upper Darby native posted an on base percentage of .583 against Purdue. Haley delivered PSU the win in game one at Purdue, coming up with a two-out RBI double to score what ended up being the game-winning run in the seventh inning.
Executing the Gameplan: A big reason for Penn State’s recent success is the team’s ability to do the small things to help the team win. To go along with leading the league in walks, the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in sacrifice flies with 16 and rank second in sacrifice bunts with 28, trailing just Nebraska, which has 31 on the season. The Penn State pitching staff ranks second in walks allowed, giving up 81 free passes on the season.
‘Pen’n State: Since returning home from California, the Nittany Lion bullpen has been lights out to opposing batters. The relievers have combined to toss 58.1 innings over the 13 games, allowing just 11 earned runs for a staff ERA of 1.70. The Penn State pen has held hitters to an average below the Mendoza line of .185. Jack Anderson, Ian Parvin, Dakota Forsyth and Ryan Harper have done much of the damage in relief over the stretch, with each recording at least 10 innings of work. The Penn State relievers combined for six of the team’s 11 wins over the last 13 games.
Another stat that displays Penn State’s relievers dominance this season is the Nittany Lions are an undefeated 12-0 when having the lead after the seventh inning. Penn State’s staff ERA drops to 0.53 in the ninth inning of games, as the team has combined for 17 innings pitched with one earned run allowed in the final frame.
Guering Up in the Big Ten: Redshirt sophomore Greg Guers has taken his game to another level for Big Ten games. Guers is tied for the team lead in batting average over the five conference games with a mark of .389. The sophomore has driven in four runs and scored three himself to help propel Penn State to one of its best starts in the conference in program history.