Penn State Baseball and Softball; Pitt Baseball Ready for Weekend Series

The Penn State baseball and softball teams and the Pitt baseball team are ready for weekend series.

PSU Baseball Hosts No. 10 TCU

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State will face one of its stiffest tests of the season when No. 10 TCU visits for a rare late-season, non-conference three-game series starting Friday at 6:30 p.m. The series will continue Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

PARKING NOTICE

Fans attending the Penn State Baseball series against TCU are strongly encouraged to park in Porter North, accessing Park Avenue from the North off I-99. Parking is free of charge, and gates open 90 minutes before game time on Friday and Saturday and 60 minutes prior on Sunday. Fans should anticipate heavy traffic on Park Avenue including one-way traffic patterns outbound on Porter Road to College Avenue following commencement ceremonies held in the Bryce Jordan Center and Pegula Ice Arena.

Friday Probables

PSU LHP Taylor Lehman (1-8, 4.66 ERA)

TCU LHP Dalton Horton (7-0, 2.13 ERA)

Saturday Probables

PSU RHP Sal Biasi (5-4. 3.61 ERA)

TCU RHP Brian Howard (5-2, 4.25 ERA)

Sunday Probables

PSU RHP Justin Hagenman (6-2, 2.83 ERA)

TCU RHP Mitchell Traver (First Appearance)

Finals Week

For the first time since February, the Nittany Lions did not play a midweek game this week, as it was finals week at Penn State.

Uncommon Opponent

No. 10 TCU will become the first team from Texas and the first from the Big 12 other than West Virginia to play on the diamond at Penn State. The last time Penn State hosted a College World Series participant from the previous season was Indiana in 2014, and the last non-conference opponent to visit after going to Omaha was Kent State in 2013. TCU will be the highest ranked non-conference opponent to ever play at Medar Field at Lubrano Park and the highest ranked since No. 8 Illinois played at Medlar in April last season. Penn State last defeated a top-10 team in 2007, taking one game at No. 1 North Carolina.

Diamond Lions Improving

At 25-20, Penn State owns its best record through 45 games since 2011. Penn State’s 25 wins are its most since winning 29 in 2012.

Home Sweet Home

Penn State is 14-6 in the friendly confines of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Lions have already surpassed their 2015 total of home wins and secured their 10th winning season in the stadium. After a loss in the home opener, the Lions rewarded the home crowd with 10-straight victories for its longest streak ever in Medlar. See Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, Page 6

Historic Closer

Jack Anderson lowered his earned run average to 0.63 in his last outing Saturday, also breaking the team’s career saves record with his 23rd and tying the single-season saves record with his 11th. Anderson entered last week as the NCAA ERA leader, but he dipped below the minimum workload of one inning per team game at 42 2/3 innings pitched in 45 games. His 11 saves this season leads the Big Ten and rank sixth nationally.

Pitching Success

Penn State’s pitching has seen a dramatic improvement, bringing a 3.41 team ERA into the weekend to rank fourth in the Big Ten and 37th in the country after finishing with a 5.01 ERA last season. The bullpen has been particularly strong, boasting a 9-4 record, 13 saves and 2.74 ERA in 167 2/3 innings pitched. Penn State’s three shutouts are its most since earning four in 2011.

Scouting TCU

TCU is ranked as high as 10th in the nation by both the USA Today Coaches Poll and the NCBWA poll. The Horned Frogs are 20-12 overall and 11-7 in the Big 12. They rank first in the Big 12 in batting at .307 and second in ERA at 3.26, with both figures ranking in the Top 30 nationally. Starters Luken Baker and Dalton Horton are among national and conference leaders with ERAs of 1.70 and 2.13, respectively. TCU is one of just seven programs to have appeared in the College World Series in three of the last six years (2010, 2014 and 2015).

Penn State vs. the Big 12

TCU will become the seventh team in the current alignment of the Big 12 to face Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are most familiar with recent Big 12 addition West Virginia. Otherwise, Penn State has not faced any other Big 12 team since playing a four-game series at Texas in 2009.
Penn State owns a 73-58 record against the current alignment of the Big 12, but is just 3-18 against members other than West Virginia.

Late Non-Conference Series

Penn State will be playing a three-game non-conference series in May for the first time since 1996 and the first time in the history of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (2007).
Penn State swept Richmond at home May 5-6, 1996.

Pitt Baseball Heads to South Bend for Clash with Notre Dame

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team will look to improve its conference mark this weekend, traveling to South Bend, Ind., for a weekend series with Notre Dame.

The Panthers will square off with the Fighting Irish at 7 p.m. on Friday, with game two set for 4 p.m. on Saturday and the series finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday from Frank Eck Field.

LEADING OFF

· Pitt (22-17-0) returns to the road, traveling to Notre Dame (25-18-0) for a three-game stand with the Fighting Irish
· The Panthers enter the weekend after a mid-week split with Maryland Eastern Shore, earning a 9-1 victory on Tuesday but falling 9-6 in Wednesday’s contest
· Notre Dame had the week off after dropping two-of-three to Ohio at home last weekend
· The Fighting Irish were swept by then seventh-ranked Florida State in their last ACC weekend, falling 12-6, 7-6 (12) and 11-6 in Tallahassee, Fla.

SCOUTING NOTRE DAME

· Three Fighting Irish batters have averages above the .300 mark, led by Cavan Biggio’s .327
· The trio of Biggio, Ricky Sanchez and Zak Kutsulis have combined for 78 RBIs, as each boasts a slugging percentage north of .450
· On the hill, Friday starter Peter Solomon has pitched to a mark of 3-4 in 14 appearances, including eight starts, and leads the team with 65 strikeouts
· Sunday’s starter Michael Hearne paces the Fighting Irish staff, boasting a record of 6-1 in 11 appearances (10 starts) and an ERA of just 2.25

SERIES WITH NOTRE DAME

· The Panthers are 18-40-0 all-time against the Fighting Irish in a series dating back to the 1951 season
· Since joining the ACC, Pitt is 0-6 against the Fighting Irish
· In 2014, Notre Dame took all three games in Pitt’s season finale on the road
· Notre Dame also swept the Panthers in 2015, taking a doubleheader and single game victory at Charles L. Cost Field

STREAKING

· Ronnie Sherman enters the weekend with the longest hit streak for the Panthers, having recorded at least one hit in six consecutive games
· On the year, Charles Leblanc has posted a 13-game hit streak to pace the offense, while Nick Yarnall recorded a 10-game mark
· Leblanc has reached base safely in 15 consecutive contests to lead the Panthers, while Aaron Schnurbusch has a nine-game streak going
· The 15 games by Leblanc is the longest by any Panther this season, while Yarnall and Schnurbusch have each posted 13-game streaks and P.J. DeMeo, Jacob Wright and David Yanni have recorded 10-game bids

RPI WATCH

· The Panthers check in at No. 43 in the latest RPI, released May 5, having completed one of the toughest schedules to open the season
· Pitt is one of 11 ACC schools in the top 50, leading all conferences

ZEUCH LIGHTS OUT

· RHP T.J. Zeuch has been dominant yet again for the Panthers as the junior ace of the Pitt staff
· The Mason, Ohio native is 5-1 in seven attempts this season, leading the starters with a 2.62 ERA in 48.0 innings pitched
· The sky high 6’7” Zeuch has allowed just 41 hits and 10 walks for a WHIP of 1.06 to pace the Panthers’ starters, recording 51 strikeouts and holding opponents to a .222 average
· A projected high-round draft pick, Zeuch is one of the most prolific pitchers in Pitt history

CHARLES IN CHARGE

· Shortstop Charles Leblanc has been dominant for the Panthers this season, leading one of the top offenses in the nation in just his second season of collegiate baseball
· Leblanc is 11th in the NCAA and second in the ACC with an average of .428 in 38 games, recording 41 RBIs
· Also, Leblanc has posted a team-high 21 multiple hit games and 11 multiple RBI performances, including a six-RBI outing against Clemson (April 2) and a five-RBI showing at Grambling State (Feb. 28)

MALDONADO MAKING A MARK

· Sophomore outfielder Frank Maldonado has had a superb sophomore campaign
· Maldonado hit .188 after appearing in 42 games with the Panthers last season, producing five triples, he has already matched that production with five three-baggers on the year, but has upped his average to .333, second amongst the Panthers
· The Short Hills, N.J. native has one home run and 19 RBIs, along with a perfect fielding percentage in 80 opportunities.

LEBLANC NAMED TO BROOKS WALLACE WATCH LIST

· Sophomore Charles Leblanc has been named to the Brooks Wallace Midseason Watchlist
· The award is given annually to the top shortstop in the nation
· Leblanc joins the cast of 54 student-athletes to make the cut, including five ACC shortstops

LEBLANC GARNERS PERFECT GAME ALL-AMERICA HONORS

· The honors continue to roll in for shortstop Charles Leblanc, as he was named a Perfect Game All-American
· Leblanc checked in on the second team, joining the cast of nine ACC players to make the cut

UP NEXT

· Pitt will return to Charles L. Cost Field for back-to-back mid-week games with regional rivals Youngstown State and Penn State
· The Panthers will return to the road the following weekend, traveling to nationally-ranked Miami for a three-game stand

PSU Softball Hosts Illiniois

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State will finish off its 2016 regular season Friday, May 6 through Friday, May 8 when the Fighting Illini of Illinois come to Happy Valley for a three-game Big Ten Conference series. The Nittany Lions will celebrate Season Ticket Holders Day and Hawaiian Day at the Saturday, 3 p.m. match up and will honor its seven seniors Sunday, at 1 p.m. Sunday will also be Penn State’s annual Pink Day.

PARKING ADVISORY FOR WEEKEND CONTESTS

Due to construction in the residence hall area near Nittany Lion Softball Park, all spectator parking will be located in the East Parking Deck on Bigler Road. Please follow the yard signs that will be placed along the route marked with red arrows to walk back to Beard Field at Nittany Lion Softball Park. To avoid the parking fee to exit the East Parking Deck, please show your softball game ticket to the attendant upon exiting. Staff and Season Ticket Holders with the Pink Parking Permit can park in any of the Orange-B parking lots surrounding Nittany Lion Softball Park. Due to anticipated heavy traffic on Park Avenue, all staff and fans are encouraged to access the Ball Park via Park Avenue coming from the West from Atherton Street.

SERIES HISTORY WITH THE FIGHTING ILLINI

Illinois holds the 18-11 all-time series record over Penn State having won seven of the last nine meetings between the two squads. The Nittany Lions and the Fighting Illini have not met up on the field since the 2014 season when Illinois came to Happy Valley and took the sweep of the Blue and White at Beard Field. Head Coach Amanda Lehotak will be looking for her first win over the Fighting Illini after falling three times in the only meeting since she has been the head coach of the Nittany Lions. Furthermore, Illinois Head Coach Tyra Perry will be seeking her first win over Penn State in her first season at the helm of the Fighting Illini.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS

The Fighting Illini travel to University Park for one final regular season Big Ten Conference series with a five-game win streak and winning its last three conference series taking two games from Purdue, Wisconsin and Iowa. Most recently, Illinois defeated Indiana State in a 9-0 five-inning victory at home.

As a team, Illinois is hitting .312 on the season with six batters hitting .300 or better. Kylie Johnson leads the Fighting Illini with a .348 batting average, while Carly Thomas has a team-best 56 hits, batting in the eight slot. Thomas, along with four other batters, has secured over 50 hits on the season for Illinois. Batting in the three hole, Nicole Evans has driven in 47 RBI for the Fighting Illini and both Allie Bauch and Thomas have driven in 27 apiece.

Junior Breanna Wonderly has established herself as the ace for Illinois in the 2016 season, tossing 173.2 innings with a 3.02 earned run average and 71 strikeouts in 29 appearances and 15 complete games. Also seeing a significant amount of time in the circle is junior Jade Vecvanags, who has thrown 114.1 innings with a 3.24 ERA.

SENIOR SPOTLIGHTS

>> Macy Jones – Jones has etched her name in the Penn State single season record book eight times in her senior campaign and finishes her career as the all-time RBI leader with 135 in her four-year career. Furthermore, Jones ranks in the top-10 in nine other career batting categories.

>> Christy Von Pusch – Von Pusch has appeared in 58 games in the circle with 21 starts and tossing two complete games in her time donning the Blue and White. The right-handed pitcher has thrown 119.0 innings with 53 strikeouts.

>> Reina Furuya – Furuya ranks in the single season record book with 25 walks in her senior campaign and the career record book with 68 base on balls.

>> Lexi Knief – Knief holds the single-season hits record at Penn State, tallying 75 in her junior season en route to an NFCA All-Great Lakes Region Third Team honor.

>> Maegan Tupinio – Tupinio has appeared in 111 games, starting 25 and scoring 39 runs for the Blue and White. She has also tallied 14 hits and stolen six bases

>> Erin Pond – Pond has appeared in 91 games with 82 starts in her two years at Penn State, claiming a starting role in right field in her senior season. The senior outfielder has tallied 65 hits and 39 RBI for the Blue and White.

>> Shannon Good – Good has played in 66 games with 32 starts in her career at Penn State. This season she has mainly seen time as a designated player or a pinch hitter, tallying 11 hits with three doubles and seven RBI.

WHERE CAN PENN STATE FINISH IN THE B1G?

With the Big Ten Softball Tournament a week away, it is time to take a look at all the scenarios and see where Penn State can finish in the regular season. If the Nittany Lions sweep Illinois this weekend, they are guaranteed to finish third in the Big Ten Conference with a 16-7 overall record. However, if the team drops one game to Illinois, it will finish with a 15-8 B1G record, while Ohio State could jump ahead of Penn State with a series sweep of Michigan State and Northwestern could force a tiebreaker with a series sweep of Purdue. In the matter that PSU wins two games against Illinois, the Nittany Lions could finish either third or tied for fourth heading into the tournament.

In the event that Illinois takes two games and Penn State finishes the regular season with a 14-9 record, the Nittany Lions could be overtaken by Ohio State if the Buckeyes win at least two games against MSU. Nebraska could also jump PSU and finish as high as third should the Huskers sweep the series against Wisconsin. Northwestern could tie Penn State’s record with two wins, and could finish ahead of the Nittany Lions with a series sweep of the Boilermakers. Should Penn State drop two games to Illinois, the team could finish either third, fourth, tied for fifth, or sixth depending on the outcomes of other league series.

Finally, if Penn State is swept by Illinois, the Nittany Lions and the Fighting Illini will be tied with a 13-10 record. In the best case scenario, the two teams would tie for third in the league, as could Northwestern with one win. For PSU to finish third, Ohio State would need to be swept by Michigan State, Northwestern cannot win more than one game, Nebraska cannot win two or more games, and Wisconsin could also enter the mix with a sweep of Nebraska. With three losses this weekend, Penn State could finish tied for third, tied for fourth, tied for fifth, or tied for sixth.

PENN STATE FALLS AT THE HAND OF NO. 2 MICHIGAN

Penn State battled with No. 2 Michigan in game one, taking the early 1-0 lead on an Alyssa VanDerveer home run but the Wolverines responded immediately to knot the game at 1-1. U-M broke the tie in the top of the seventh inning scoring three runs to take a 4-1 lead into the bottom half of the seventh. After loading the bases, the Nittany Lions brought in one run but were unable to tie up the score, falling 4-2. Penn State struggled in its doubleheader with the Wolverines falling 12-0 in game one and 13-3 in game two.

JONES BREAKS CAREER RBI RECORD AT PENN STATE

Senior Macy Jones needed 22 RBI in her senior season to take the Penn State softball career RBI record. The starting left fielder easily broke the record, driving in 39 so far this season for a career total of 135 RBI with six regular season games to play in her final season donning the Blue and White. Furthermore, Jones ranks in the top-15 of eight single-season batting categories and nine career records for the Nittany Lions.

FEELING COMFORTABLE AT BEARD FIELD

Closing out the season at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field will be an advantage for Penn State, not only because it will not have to travel, but because the Nittany Lions carry a 12-6 overall record inside their home facility in the 2016 season. The Blue and White won 11-straight contests at Beard Field before suffering its first Big Ten home losses at the hands of No. 2 Michigan. After playing its first 20 games on the road, Penn State returned to Happy Valley and put up a 2-3 record in its first week home, but worked its way back to a 12-6 overall record in the 2016 season and a 6-3 record in Big Ten Conference play.

ON DECK

For the first time in program history, Penn State will host the 2016 Big Ten Softball Tournament at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field, May 12-14. The Blue and White will find out its seeding following the final regular season conference contest on Sunday, May. 8.


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