Penn State Baseball and Softball Hosting Bucknell Wednesday

Jim Haley PSU
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State baseball and softball teams will host midweek games against Bucknell Wednesday.

(Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

BASEBALL

Penn State will host nearby foe Bucknell in a non-conference baseball midweek match-up Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Essentials

Live Video: N/A
Live Audio: GoPSUsports.com
Live Stats: Gametracker (GoPSUsports.com)
TV: N/A
Radio: ESPN Radio 1450 AM (Brian Tripp/Ryan Stevens)
Series History: 126-29-1 (1882)
Last Series: 2-0 (4/7, 15/2015)
Streak: W2

Dominate the State

Penn State has won its last nine games against Pennsylvania opponents dating back to 2014. Penn State blanked Pitt (4/5) and won at Lafayette (4/6) to start the 2016 season 2-0. The Lions went 5-0 against in-state foes Pitt, Villanova and Bucknell last season, with weather forcing the cancellation of a contest against Lafayette. Later this season, Penn State will host Bucknell again, April 19, and visit Pitt (May 11) and Villanova (May 17).

Riotto Named Big Ten Player of the Week

Nick Riotto was named the Big Ten Baseball Player of the Week for the week of Apr. 4-10. For the week, Riotto went 12-for-22 (.545) with a .583 on-base percentage, home run, two doubles, eight runs scored and six RBIs. He had four-multi-hit games, including three three-hit games and is currently on a nine-game hitting streak on which he is batting .487 with a .523 OBP and 11 RBI. Perhaps his most important performance came in Penn State’s lone victory over Michigan State Sunday, as he accounted for five of the seven runs Penn State scored by crossing home plate three times and driving in two more. He reached base four times going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a hit by pitch, with the latter coming in the decisive bottom of the ninth, and he later scored the game-tying run. To start the week, Riotto led the Nittany Lions at the plate in its biggest win of the season based on RPI, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs against Pitt (No. 24 in RPI at the time). He then led the Nittany Lions at Lafayette the very next day going 3-for-5 with a home run, double, four RBIs, three runs and a walk. Riotto is the second Nittany Lion to earn the award this season, as freshman Willie Burger was recognized earlier in the season March 21.

Diamond Lions Improving

At 18-14, Penn State owns its best record through 32 games since 2011 when it opened the season at 21-11. At 18 wins, Penn State has matched its season total for wins in each of the previous two seasons. The most noticeable gain has been in pitching, as the Lions’ 3.38 team ERA is approximately 1.75 runs lower than last season’s and ranks 40th nationally and fourth in the Big Ten. Penn State is also 6-2 in one run games after going just 1-7 in games decided by one run last year, and already has more wins away from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park than it did all of last season.

Back End of Home Stretch

The Bucknell contest marks the conclusion of a stretch in which 15 out of the last 19 games were at home.

Penn State is 13-5 so far during the densest part of its home schedule.

Seven of the next eight games will be on the road, starting with a Big Ten series at Northwestern.

Youthful Lineup

Penn State is not afraid to rely on its freshmen.

Penn State has used starting lineups featuring at least three freshmen in all but four games and has had no less than two freshmen starting each game.

The Lions have had five start on seven occasions with a season-high of six at Lafayette (4/8).
Freshman RHP Justin Hagenman leads the team with a 4-1 record and has a rotation-leading 2.25 ERA, while freshman middle infielder Conlin Hughes is just one of three student-athletes to start and play in every game so far this season. Corner infielder Willie Burger is second on the team with 19 RBIs.

Penn State’s three-man weekend rotation has consisted entirely of underclassmen.

One-Run Improvement

Penn State is 6-2 in one run games after going just 1-7 in games decided by one run last year.

Anderson Among Big Ten and Nation’s Best

Closer Jack Anderson enters the meeting ranking fifth in the country and tops in the conference with a 0.84 ERA.

He is also tied for ninth nationally with a Big Ten-leading eight saves.

Anderson has broken the Penn State career appearances record and now has 87, and he is threatening the school’s single-season and career saves records.

Anderson Rewriting the Record Books

Every appearance by Jack Anderson from here on out will be a new Penn State career record, as his 86th career trip to the mound at Lafayette (4/6) set a new standard.

With a career-high eight saves this season, Jack Anderson now has 20 for his career to rank second all-time at Penn State. Drew O’Neil (2007-08) is the Penn State record holder with 22 after posting a single-season record 11 in back-to-back seasons.

Anderson needs three more saves to equal the single-season record.

Keep Watching

Jack Anderson was one of 70 relievers named to the initial watch list for the 12th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.

He is notable for his “submarine” style delivery.

Anderson currently ranks fifth in the nation and first in the Big Ten with a 0.84 ERA.
Until Sunday’s game against Michigan State, he had not allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances.

His eight saves lead the Big Ten and rank tied for ninth in the nation.

Anderson ranks second in the Big Ten and ranks 20th in the country with 18appearances.

Anderson picked up his third win of the season in his last outing, pitching the final three innings against Michigan State (4/12, G2).

He pitched a season-high 4 2/3 innings to earn the win in extra innings against Purdue (4/2, G2).

Anderson posted a team-best 2.98 ERA in 2015 to rank ninth amongst all pitchers in the Big Ten. He also led the Nittany Lions with 29 appearances, tallying four wins and five saves, and he finished a third of the Lions’ games. His most impressive stretch in 2015 came late in the season against Pitt, Rutgers and Michigan State when he made appearances in six consecutive games, throwing 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA, 1-1 record and three saves.

Dramatic Finishes

Jack Anderson has worked out of some tough spots this season, often entering before the ninth inning.
Anderson was called upon with a one-run lead against Michigan State (4/12, G2) in the seventh inning.

He allowed two runs (one unearned) but earned the win.

Anderson entered in tie games against Purdue (4/1-2, G2) earning the win in both.

He pitched two full innings against Niagara (3/19, G1) for his fourth save of the season.

At Duke, Anderson entered with a runner on second base with two outs in the eighth inning. Anderson hit and walked a batter to load the bases before getting the inning-ending out without allowing a run.

For his second save opportunity, Anderson worked the final 2 1/3 innings with just a one-run cushion.

He entered the game with two outs in the seventh and a runner on first who moved into scoring position on a passed ball.

He earned his first save of the season in dramatic fashion against Army for Penn State’s first victory of the year. Nursing a one-run lead, Anderson entered in the eighth inning with runners on the corners and no outs, and did not allow a run over the final two innings.

Red-Hot Riotto

Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Nick Riotto owns Penn State’s longest active hitting streak at nine games.

He is batting .487 during the stretch, going 19-for-39 with a team-high 11 RBIs, a team-high 10 runs, a home run, two doubles and two walks and two hit-by-pitches for a .523 on-base percentage.

His home run at Lafayette (4/6) was his first this season and the second of his career.
Riotto has struck out just once during the streak.

Getting in Guer

Greg Guers started the season batting just .083 going 3-for-36 over the first 11 games. but over the last 13, Guers is batting .333 (17-for-51) with nine extra base hits – more than twice as many as anyone else on the team during the same span – including seven doubles, a triple, a home run and seven RBIs.

Guers has hits in six out of his last seven games with four multi-hit games.

Guers went a combined 5-for-9 with two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI in a doubleheader against Purdue (4/2). Guers’ lead-off double in the bottom of the 12th of game two ignited a three-run inning for a walk-off win.

Guers enjoyed a career season in 2015 with eight home runs (7th in Big Ten), 38 RBIs, 13 doubles, 14 stolen bases on 15 attempts, 101 total bases and a .495 slugging percentage to lead the team in all categories.

Haley’s Comets

Jim Haley picked up where he left off to start the 2016 season.

After batting .436 with seven doubles and a triple over final nine games of the 2015 season, Haley opened the 2016 campaign with a 10-game hitting streak.

Haley had an 11-game hitting streak halted in the final game of the Purdue series (4/2).

He leads the team entering the weekend with a .349 batting average, 21 RBIs, 12 extra base hits and is tied for the team lead with Greg Guers with two home runs.

Against Michigan State (4/8), Haley posted his third three-hit game of the season. It was his second three-hit game in a week as he went 3-for-5 with a season-high three RBIs at Lafayette (4/6).

Haley has had a hit in all but three games this season: at Duke (3/9), Niagara (3/18) , Purdue (4/2, G2) and Michigan State (4/8).

For the first time in his career, he has drawn starts at third base this season.

Haley hit his first career home run during the South Carolina series.

More Than Batting Average

The Lions rank second in the Big Ten and 66th in the country with 139 walks.

At first glance it might be surprising that James Coates, is drawing regular starts in left field with a .148 batting average, but the senior’s patience at the plate has resulted in a team-best 26 walks as well as a .377 on-base percentage, which ranks third on the team.

The 26 walks rank third in the conference and 45th in the country.

He ranks seventh all-time at Penn State with 92 career walks, 34 shy of the record.

Coates and Greg Guers are tied for fifth in the conference with five sacrifice bunts this season.

Triples

With 12 triples on the season, Penn State leads the Big Ten and ranks 27th in the country.
An RBI-triple by Tyler Kendall in the eighth inning against Purdue (4/1) resulted in the go-ahead run in the game

Jim Haley leads the team with three to rank second in the league and 58th in the country.

SOFTBALL

The Penn State softball team returns to Happy Valley for a midweek non-conference doubleheader against Bucknell Wednesday, Apr. 13. The Nittany Lions and the Bison are set for a 5 p.m. first pitch with the game airing live on BTN Plus. Game two is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. or 20 minutes after the conclusion of game one and will also be aired live on BTN Plus.

SERIES HISTORY WITH THE BISON

Penn State has dominated in-state foe Bucknell in the past with a 28-5 advantage in the all-time series. The Nittany Lions have won the last six meetings between the two squads, while head coach Amanda Lehotak has a 4-0 record when taking on Bucknell. Penn State earned the one-run, 9-8, victory over the Bison in game one last season before taking the decisive 13-1 five-inning victory in game two. However, the Bison are under new leadership this season as Courtnay Foster took the helm prior to the 2016 campaign. Foster is familiar with both Penn State and the Big Ten, having played and coached at Northwestern.

SCOUTING BUCKNELL

The Bison make the short trip to Happy Valley with a 21-14 overall record and most recently dropped a conference series to Army West Point moving to 6-3 in Patriot League action. Bucknell has been able to find ways to win away from home, carrying an 8-6 record in true road games while winning 10 games at neutral sites.

As a team, Bucknell is hitting .298 and has four players batting .300-or-better on the season. Sophomore Meghan Kovac has notched a team-high 54 hits ont hes eason which includes 15 double, two triples and four home runs for a .439 batting average and a .691 slugging percentage. Senior Amanda Fazio has been a leader offensively and defensively for the Bison, batting .373 and carrying a team-low 1.79 earned run average in the circle. Hitting in the leadoff spot for the Bison, Fazio has 44 hits, six doubles and two triples with a .449 on-base percentage. Furthermore, once on base Fazio has stolen 21 bases on 23 attempts. In the circle, Fazio has tossed 113.2 innings with 10 complete games in 23 appearances and 16 starts. The left-handed hurler holds an 11-7 overall record and a 1.79 earned run average for Bucknell.

BATS COME ALIVE IN INDIANA

The Penn State softball team scored 30 runs on 34 hits in its three-game series win of the Hoosiers. After having hot bats against Ohio State in game two, the Nittany Lions offense stayed red hot heading into its three-game series with Indiana, taking game one 13-3 before earning a 15-7 victory in game two. Despite its loss in the final game of the series, Penn State had seven hits on the day and scored two runs.

FEELING COMFORTABLE IN HAPPY VALLEY

After an opening weekend series loss, Penn State has found its groove at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field. The Nittany Lions are 5-3 overall at home having won its past four contests at Beard Field. However, PSU has suffered in non-conference contests at Beard Field with a 2-3 record in the 2016 campaign.

SETTLING INTO A LINEUP

After seeing the lineup change on numerous occasions throughout the 2016 season, Penn State has found its groove in the top of the order. Senior Macy Jones has proven to be a stellar leadoff hitter with a .504 on-base percentage and a .722 slugging percentage, while two-hitter Mollie Sorenson has been able to move runners with bunts and infield slaps all season. In the three spot, Shelby Miller is hitting .383 with 29 RBI, while Alyssa VanDerveer has driven in a team-high 37 runs in the clean up spot for the Blue and White. Finally, senior Lexi Knief has come alive in the second part of her senior year, batting .364 with 39 hits and 19 RBI for the Nittany Lions.

ON DECK

Penn State stays in Happy Valley for its second home Big Ten Conference series of the 2016 season. The Terrapins of Maryland come to town Friday, Apr. 15 for a 6 p.m. game against the Nittany Lions before game two Saturday, Apr. 16 at 4 p.m. The series will close out Sunday, Apr. 17 at 1 p.m.


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