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April 26, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball (20-21, 6-6) hosts Ohio State in a big three-game series this weekend at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Penn State is coming off two-straight victories over Mount St. Mary's on Tuesday and Kent State on Wednesday.
Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 6:05 contest and will sign autographs until the second inning. In addition, junior pitcher Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) will be honored prior to first pitch for throwing the first Penn State no-hitter since 1995 this past Saturday. Friday's contest will also feature Dollar Dog Night and postgame fireworks. Penn State baseball snapback hats will be Saturday's giveaway while supplies last. On Sunday, it will be PSU Pride Day.
This weekend's contests can be heard on ESPN Radio 1450 State College with Loren Crispell and Brian Tripp calling the action. 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.
The Nittany Lions picked up two midweek wins over Mount St. Mary's and Kent State. Penn State trailed 3-0 late, but a five-run rally in the eighth inning put the Lions on top of Mount St. Mary's by a score of 5-3 on a wet and cold Tuesday night. Penn State senior Sean Deegan(Readington, N.J.) made history on Wednesday night, as he hit a bases-clearing triple in the fourth inning to put the Nittany Lions on top for good, as they defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes by a score of 6-4. The triple by Deegan broke the school record, as he now has 14 on his career. Penn State swept the season series with Kent State.
The Nittany Lions have won seven of their last eight contests and moved one game within .500 for the first time since Feb. 18. With a win on Friday, Penn State will be .500 for the first time this season. Penn State started the season 3-14 and is 17-7 since then.
Penn State will send sophomore Joe Kurrasch (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) to the mound on Friday, followed by Hill on Saturday and junior John Walter (Haddonfield, N.J.) on Sunday. Kurrasch has allowed just five earned runs in his last five starts, dropping his ERA to 2.08 on the season. The sophomore picked up the win last Saturday, as he went six innings of shutout ball with six strikeouts. On Saturday, Hill threw a no-hitter in a 2-0 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. Hill is the first Penn State pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Nate Bump did against Duquesne in 1995. Hill is the first Nittany Lion pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter in a Big Ten game. Walter will be looking for his first victory in three starts. The trio through their last 12 starts have combined for a 7-3 record and a 2.35 ERA in 80.1 innings, while giving up just 58 hits and striking out 61.
Ohio State comes into this weekend with a 23-18 overall record and a 7-8 mark in Big Ten games. Penn State slightly sits atop Ohio State in conference standings. The Buckeyes are hitting .271 as a team in 41 total games this season. Leading the way for Ohio State offensively is Josh Dezse, who is hitting .335 on the year with five homeruns and 27 RBI. Brad Hallberg has also been an effective player at the plate, as he's hit a team-best 12 doubles with a .305 batting average. The Buckeyes are a team that likes to steal bases as well, converting 63 of 78 steal attempts on the year. Kirby Pellant leads the team with 22 swipes and Joe Ciamacco has successfully converted all 14 of his stolen base attempts. The Buckeyes will start Jaron Long (3-2, 2.08), Brian King (3-3, 4.93) and John Kuchno (6-3, 5.11) on the mound this weekend.
The Buckeyes hold a 53-32 all-time advantage on the Nittany Lions. In game played at Penn State, Ohio State holds a 23-17 edge. Penn State took two of three last year at Medlar Field. In fact, the Nittany Lions have won five of the last seven contests between the two schools.
Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.