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April 11, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Returning to conference play for the first time since March, the Penn State baseball team will take on Big Ten foe Michigan for a weekend series. The Nittany Lions (7-21, 0-6 Big Ten) are looking for their first Big Ten win of the season, kicking off the three-game set against the Wolverines (17-14, 4-2 Big Ten) at 4:05 p.m. on Friday, April 12. Saturday's first pitch is also slated for 4:05 p.m., while Sunday's contest will begin at noon.
Links: All contests will be available via GameTracker and Live Audio at GoPSUsports.com, as well as updated at the @PennStateBASE Twitter account. Sunday's game will be aired live by the Big Ten Network and by BTN2Go. Coverage begins at noon from the Wilpon Complex in Ann Arbor.
Last Time Out: The Lions won their second straight contest on April 9, topping Kent State 3-2 in a midweek, non-conference battle. Penn State's contest against Bucknell scheduled for April 10 was cancelled due to severe weather conditions. Sophomores Aaron Novak (Ambler, Pa.) and J.C. Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.) led the Lions against the Golden Flashes, each going 2-for-4. Coban collected his 30th and 31st hits of the season, as well as his 15th RBI, while Novak tallied the game-winning run. Freshman James Coates (Girard, Ohio) notched his first career sac fly RBI in the contest, going 1-for-3 to continue a four-game hit streak. Hitting a career milestone, redshirt senior Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.) recorded his 80th career run in the first inning, with sophomore Taylor Skerpon (Sayre, Pa.) scoring immediately after for his 10th of the season.
The Penn State pitching staff excelled against Kent State, with freshman Nick Hedge (Winnetka, Ill.) making his first career start. Hedge fired 4.0 innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs while striking out a career-best two. Junior Ian Parvin (Irvine, Calif.) earned the win for the Lions, posting a scoreless relief outing with just two hits allowed. Closing out the contest, redshirt senior Cody Lewis (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) earned his first career save as a Nittany Lion. Lewis went 3.0 scoreless innings, striking out three and holding the Golden Flashes to one hit.
Lion Rotation: Continuing his role as the Friday night starter, redshirt sophomore T.J. Jann (Westford, Mass.) will open tomorrow's contest against the Wolverines, holding a 4.71 ERA and an opposing batting average of .235. Jann is coming off of a strong showing against Wright State, allowing eight hits and three earned runs in a career-high 7.1 innings. The sophomore has fired a total of 28.2 innings this season, giving up 23 hits and 15 earned runs with 11 strikeouts. Senior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) is expected to make the start on Saturday, carrying a 3.70 ERA after 48.2 innings this season. The senior has struck out a team-best 32 batters and currently rests with a .284 opposing batting average. Junior Greg Welsh (Holland, Pa.) will take the mound on Sunday, boasting an ERA of 2.31 in 23.1 innings. Welsh earned his first win of the season in the 11-3 victory over Wright State on April 7, firing 8.0 innings with just six hits allowed and three unearned runs. The junior has now allowed 22 hits and just six earned runs this season, while striking out 23 batters and walking 10.
Scouting the Wolverines: Amidst a six-game win streak, Michigan sits with a 17-14 overall record and a 4-2 mark in Big Ten play after sweeping Michigan State. The Wolverines most recently topped No. 18 Notre Dame on April 9, shutting down the Fighting Irish 4-1 at South Bend. Four Wolverines recorded multiple hits in the non-conference game, including junior Michael O'Neill, sophomore Kevin White, freshman Jack Sexton and junior Cole Martin. O'Neill leads the pack with a .353 batting average, as well as with 47 hits and 24 runs. Freshman Jacob Cronenworth leads with 23 RBIs on the season, while fellow rookie Travis Maezes sits close behind with 22. The trio has currently combined for 121 hits, 63 RBIs and 59 runs.
Michigan boasts a strong pitching staff, with sophomore Trent Szkutnik facing off against Jann on Friday. Szkutnik holds a 3.95 ERA and a 3-4 record on the season after allowing 47 hits and 18 earned runs in 41.0 innings. Freshman Evan Hill will make the start on Saturday, boasting a 1.74 ERA and a 5-1 record on the season. The lefty has struck out a team-best 30 in 51.2 innings while allowing 36 hits and just 10 earned runs. Completing the trio of left-handed starters for Michigan, redshirt junior Logan McAnallen will make his 12th appearance and 6th start on Sunday, currently holding a 3.34 ERA and a 2-2 record. McAnallen has fired 35.0 innings this season, allowing 42 hits and 13 earned runs while striking out 26 and walking 10. The Wolverines' bullpen is led by Cronenworth, holding a 1.20 ERA in 10 appearances and 15.0 innings. The rookie has struck out 14 batters in relief while allowing 14 hits and two earned runs. Sophomore Matt Ogden, who holds a 3-0 record, sits with a 2.49 ERA in 25.1 innings and 10 appearances, while senior Kyle Clark holds a 3.63 ERA in a team-high 15 appearances and 17.1 innings.
All-Time Series: Penn State leads the all-time series against Michigan, holding a 50-40 overall record with a 25-15 record in Ann Arbor. Last season, the Lions took the conference series 2-1, topping the Wolverines 6-4 and 14-1 in Happy Valley. PSU is 6-4 in the last 10 contests against Michigan.
Up Next: The Lions will pick up an extra midweek contest, facing Bucknell on Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at Medlar Field. Penn State will then host Iowa for another Big Ten series, taking on the Hawkeyes April 19-21.
Tickets: Season tickets for students are just $20, with Student General Admission tickets starting at $2 and Student Bleacher tickets at $1. Season tickets for Adult General Admission start at $63, while Adult General Admission tickets are sold for $4. For fans interested in the Diamond Club "In the Box" seats, single games start at $6 and season tickets will be sold for $99. Youth General Admission and Season tickets are the same cost as student tickets. Single game tickets can be purchased at the Spikes' Box Office or via the Tickets page on GoPSUSports.com.
Check back to GoPSUSports.com for continued updates during the 2013 season. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/PennStateBASE and find us on Facebook at facebook.com/pennstatebaseball.