Penn State Hosts Maryland on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m.
April 19, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State baseball team will continue its homestand on Wednesday when the Nittany Lions host Maryland at 6:05 p.m. during a non-conference showdown at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Having won two of the first four games during its current home stretch, Penn State (21-12) will look to kick it into high gear this week. Overall, the Lions hold a 7-5 record in Happy Valley, including a 4-2 mark against non-conference opponents.
ACC foe Maryland (17-20) will serve as the team's next test as the squad makes its first trip to Penn State since winning a 3-2 decision on April 15, 2003. Despite their relative proximity, the two programs have met just 22 times and only twice since 2000. Overall, the Lions hold the lead in the all-time series with a 13-9 record.
Non-conference battles with ACC foes have been rare in recent years for Penn State, but Maryland marks the second team from the league that the Lions have faced this year. Earlier, PSU took two-of-three from NC State in Raleigh over spring break.
Keeping with recent tradition, the midweek game will serve as Penn State's annual Greek Night. Spirit points will be awarded for those Greeks that attend the game with one point given for each sign-in. There is a 60-point maximum per triad.
Similar to most games this season, fans can follow the action live from the comfort of their home. In addition to GameTracker, which will be available on GoPSUSports.com, there will also be a live radio broadcast on PSU All-Access as well as ESPN Radio 1450.
Fans that make it out to the game will enjoy an excellent pitching match-up. Junior southpaw Mike Franklin will take the ball for Penn State for his fourth start of the season. During the year, he has posted a pristine 2-0 record to go along with a 3.63 ERA. In his last start, he did not allow an earned run in six innings against the high-powered Pittsburgh offense.
On the hill for Maryland will be Eric Potter. The senior southpaw leads the Terrapins with 10 starts this year. During those appearances, he has recorded a 3-5 record with a 4.78 ERA. He has also struck out 39 in 43.1 innings while holding his opposition to a stellar .204 batting average. That mark is the eighth best in the ACC.
Ready for the challenge, the Penn State offense will look to get back on track against Maryland. After scuffling a bit at the plate against Purdue's strong rotation over the weekend, the Lion lineup hopes to find its rhythm during the midweek battle.
Successful in non-conference action, Penn State enters the game hitting .294 against teams outside of the Big Ten. The pitching staff has also posted a 3.13 ERA against non-league foes, which is a run less than its mark against conference competition.
Entering the week, Jordan Steranka has been at the forefront of the Penn State attack. The junior third baseman currently leads the Big Ten with a .616 slugging percentage, six home runs, and 43 RBI. His 85 total bases and 33 runs scored also rank second in the league.
In addition to Steranka, Sean Deegan and Mario Eramo have provided a powerful punch to the lineup. Both men have clubbed five home runs this year, which trail only Steranka's six blasts. Deegan has also chipped in with five triples and a .593 slugging percentage.
Not to be overlooked, Joey DeBernardis has been excellent as the Lions' cleanup hitter. He leads the Big Ten with 16 triples while hitting a lofty .320. A staple at first base, he has also helped the team flip 45 double plays, which ranks sixth in the nation.
Facing off against the Penn State offense will be a flexible Maryland lineup that has seen 13 players start at least 10 games this year and 19 players start at least once. Ryan Holland has been one of the constant figures in the lineup, leading the team with a .333 batting average and 24 RBI.
Equally as important to the Terrapin lineup, Alfredo Rodriquez is the lone member of the team to start all 37 games. Currently, he sports a .288 batting average with 19 runs scored. He has also collected 10 RBI while drawing a team-high 20 walks.
Looking to win just its fourth road game in 18 opportunities this year, Maryland will rely on its running game. The Terrapins have stolen 72 bases this season, which ranks 11th in the nation. Rodriguez has been the top thief, swiping 18 bags in 21 tries. Charlie White has also been dangerous, going 15-for-15 in his attempts this year.
Days away from a crucial Big Ten series, the Nittany Lions will continue their homestand on Friday when the squad kicks off a three-game stretch with Ohio State. The first battle will begin at 6:35 p.m.