Nittany Lion Baseball, Franklin Blank Bucknell
April 19, 2012
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Franklin had his strongest outing of the season, pitching a complete game shutout of the Bison with 10 strikeouts and allowing just four hits. He was able to keep the opposing hitters guessing through all nine innings with good command of his fastball and an effective changeup.
"I was locating my fastball well as well as throwing my changeup effectively," said Franklin. "I think the combination of the two really kept the hitters off balance."
"He really worked ahead," said pitching coach Jason Bell on his starter's performance. "He threw strikes early and then he got them to chase."
Franklin's sole challenge came in the seventh inning, when Bucknell's Rob Krentzman reached first on a bunt and advanced to second on a single by Gerry Runyan. With one out, runners on first and second, Franklin zeroed in and struck out the next two batters he faced, ending the threat.
"Even with guys on base I try to buckle down and really just hit my spots," said Franklin. "As a pitcher that's all I can really do."
"He (Franklin) didn't get rattled and just went back to commanding the zone and getting ahead," said Bell.
Offensively, the Nittany Lions were hitting the ball hard all game, but were unable to come up with timely hits until the bottom of the seventh. Feeding off Franklin's dominance on the mound, freshman catcher J.C. Coban singled to start the inning and reached second on an errant pickoff throw by the pitcher. With two outs, sophomore outfielder Steve Snyder drove the ball to left field, scoring Coban and giving Penn State a 1-0 lead.
"I was just trying to get a hit, put us on the board," said Snyder. "It was getting late in the game and we were kind of getting antsy, so just wanted to get a hit and get us in the book."
The Nittany Lions added a run in the eighth after senior first baseman Jordan Steranka led off with a triple and scored on a wild pitch. The two run lead was all Penn State needed as Franklin shut down the Bison hitters to end the game.
Penn State heads to Iowa this weekend for a crucial conference series against the Hawkeyes.
Head coach Robbie Wine is changing the starting rotation with sophomore Joe Kurrasch pitching Friday, junior Steven Hill pitching Saturday, and junior John Walter on the mound for Sunday's series finale. The Nittany Lions have struggled on the road all season, but the players know that confidence is the key to success.
"I think we're all confident right now, so we're just going to carry that confidence over to Iowa," said Snyder. "Whether we're home or away I think if we're confident we're going to play well and that's what we need."