Baseball Hosts Michigan in Big Three-Game Series

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Steve Hill pitching at last year's Wounded Warrior game. Penn State will be sporting camouflage hats and uniforms on Saturday.

Steve Hill pitching at last year's Wounded Warrior game. Penn State will be sporting camouflage hats and uniforms on Saturday.

April 12, 2012

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball (13-19, 2-4), winners of six of its last seven games, crawls back into Big Ten action this weekend as it hosts the Michigan Wolverines in a big three-game series at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Friday's 5:05 p.m. game will be televised on the Big Ten Network with Steve Jones and Loren Crispell calling the action. Friday's contest can be heard on ESPN Radio State College 1450 with Brian Tripp and Dan Smith doing the broadcast. Crispell will re-join Tripp on 1450 this Saturday. Live stats will be available via a Gametracker link on GoPSUSports.com. In addition, fans can follow @psubaseball on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.

This weekend's Big Ten clash with the Wolverines will include a highlight-reel of promotions. Friday will be Dollar Dog Night at the ballpark and all students will get free admission into the game as part of the Free Day Friday promotion. In addition, student season ticket holders will get free food for showing their voucher. Also, Friday will be "Winning Weeknight Scratchoffs." The first 200 fans that show up to any weeknight game this season will receive a scratchoff ticket. Each ticket is a guaranteed winner for a Penn State Baseball prize.

Saturday will be the third annual Wounded Warrior Game. The game was developed to help create awareness for wounded warriors and their sacrifices while providing useful services to meet the needs of injured service members and their families. During the game, Penn State will wear special camouflage uniforms and hats and a silent auction for the jerseys will be held with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project. In addition to the silent auction, fans can purchase the camouflage Penn State baseball hats for $20 to benefit the project. Additionally, a portion of each ticket sold for the game will be donated to the cause. The Wounded Warrior Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to "honoring and empowering wounded warriors" of the U.S. Armed Forces. Its mission is to raise awareness while providing benefits such as quality healthcare, support groups, and compensation programs to the service members and their families.

Sunday will be THON Sluggers Day at the ballpark. For every student ticket purchased, all proceeds will be donated to THON 2013. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately referred to as THON, is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $88 million for The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. Individual game tickets for Adult General Admission start at just $4 and just $2 for youth. Student tickets cost $2 as well. Single game tickets can be purchased at the Spikes' box office or via a link on the tickets page on GoPSUSports.com.

Penn State is coming off a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, where it struggled to get things going offensively. With the game tied at two in the fifth, the Panthers scored two and maintained the lead throughout the remainder of the contest. In his return to his hometown of Pittsburgh, senior Jordan Steranka racked up two doubles and an RBI in the loss. Junior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) also recorded two hits as he started in the No. 2 hole for the Nittany Lions.

Despite the loss at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Penn State's offense has really picked it up as of late. Through its first 21 game this season, the Nittany Lions were averaging just 3.5 runs per game. In its last 11 games, Penn State is averaging 7.3 runs per contest. The Lions 8-3 in those 11 games.

Penn State will send out junior John Walter (Haddonfield, N.J.), sophomore Joe Kurrasch (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and junior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) to the mound this weekend. This weekend trio has pitched strong together as of late. Last Friday, Walter picked up his first victory of the season on the mound with a six inning, three-run performance against Canisius. He also fanned seven batters in the victory. The following day, Kurrash punched out 10 batters in 6.2 innings while giving up just four hits and no earned runs against the Golden Griffins. He dropped his ERA to 2.49 this season and had four multi-strikeout innings. Hill went the distance for the Nittany Lions last Sunday, allowing three runs while striking out eight hitters. Hill, who hurled his fifth-straight quality start, threw 122 pitches in the victory. The trio through their last six starts have combined for a 3-2 record and a 2.55 ERA in 42.1 innings, while giving up just 33 hits and striking out 36.

Michigan enters this weekend with 15-19 overall record and a 2-4 mark in conference action. The Wolverines leading hitter in Michael O'Neill will be sitting out of this weekend's series with a hand injury. Will Drake has been a big contributor to the Michigan offense, as he's hitting at a .316 clip in 34 games this season. Drake has driven in 21 runs this year. Brandon Sinnery and Trent Szkutnik are Michigan's slated starters for Friday and Saturday. Sinnery is 2-3 with a 4.30 ERA this season while Szkutnik will be making his third start of the season with a 2-1 record and 4.32 ERA. Michigan's Sunday starter is TBD.

Penn State holds a 45-37 all-time record against the Wolverines, including an 18-18 record in home contests. Penn State has a tight 6-4 edge over Michigan in the last 10 contests as it took two of three most recently in Ann Arbor last May.

Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.

 

 

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