Penn State Baseball Opens Home Slate This Weekend vs. Niagara

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – After playing its first 14 games away from home, Penn State baseball opens its home slate against Niagara, hosting the Purple Eagles in a three-game series starting at 5:30 p.m. and continuing Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at noon.

Essentials

Live Video: N/A

Live Audio: GoPSUsports.com

Live Stats: GoPSUsports.com

TV: N/A

Radio: ESPN Radio 1450 AM

 

Series History: 1-0 (2011)

Last Meeting: W, 4-1 (5/10/2011)

Streak: W1

Friday  

Probables

PSU LHP Taylor Lehman (1-3, 4.07 ERA)

NIA LHP Cody Eckerson (0-2, 11.57 ERA)

Saturday 

Probables

PSU RHP Eli Nabholz (0-0, 6.35 ERA)

NIA RHP Daniel Procopio (0-2, 11.57 ERA)

Sunday 

Probables

PSU RHP Justin Hagenman (2-1, 1.38 ERA)

NIA RHP Zachary Kolodziejski (0-1, 7.65 ERA)

 

Home Sweet Home

Penn State has won its last two home openers, defeating Canisius, 11-1 last season, and NYIT, 7-3, in 2014. The Nittany Lions went 13-7 at home last season.

 

Diamond Lions Improving

After posting an improved record in 2015 from the season prior despite a much more challenging schedule, Penn State seems to be carrying momentum into 2016. At 5-9 through the first 14 games, Penn State is off to its best start in head coach Rob Cooper’s tenure, and off to a better start than last year’s 1-13 opening stretch.

 

Youth Movement

Freshmen have gotten their chance early, with Penn State’s starting lineups featuring at least three freshmen in all but one game, and as many as five. Freshman RHP Justin Hagenman leads the team with a 2-1 record and 1.38 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. He’s batting .259 and tied with a team-best five extra base hits.

 

Anderson Again

With three saves this season, Jack Anderson has 15 for his career. Drew O’Neil (2007-08) is the Penn State record holder with 22, while he is tied with Clint Eury (2002-05) for second at 15. He now has 77 career appearances which ranks. He is on track for the record of 85 set by David Lutz (2007-10).

 

Last Time Out

Penn State went 1-2 at the Spider Invitational hosted by Richmond. Led by Tyler Kendall’s 4-for-6 day at the plate, Penn State scored a run in each inning en route to a 15-2 rout of NYIT in the tournament’s first game to extend its winning streak to three. Princeton snapped the Lions’ streak the next game though, breaking a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning and adding three runs in the seventh for a 6-2 win. Against Richmond, Kendall went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for Penn State, but the Nittany Lions could not overcome five errors and lost, 6-5. RHP Justin Hagenman worked 6 2/3 innings for the Nittany Lions, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

 

One-Run Improvement

Although Penn State dropped a game decided by one run in its last outing, three of Penn State’s five wins so far have been by one run. The Lions were just 1-7 in games decided by one run last year.

 

Finding a Way to Win

Penn State totaled just seven hits in a pair of games against UNCW and Duke, but won both by scores of 5-4 and 2-1.

 

Walk This Way

The Lions rank third in the Big Ten with 67 walks.

Nick Riotto ranks fourth the Big Ten with 12 walks.

James Coates walked a career-high four times against NYIT (3/11).

 

ERA Leaders

Sunday starter and freshman Justin Hagenman ranks fifth in the Big Ten with a 1.38 ERA.

 

Three-Hitter

Eli Nabholz, Nick Hedge and Jack Anderson combined to hold Duke to just three hits (3/9)

It was the fewest hits allowed by Penn State since Central Connecticut State managed just two hits against Taylor Lehman and Sal Biasi 3/29/15.

 

Everybody Plays

Every position player on the roster has played and started in a game.

Freshman Keith Leavitt and sophomore Nick Graham were the last position players on the roster without a start, but both started in the win at Duke (3/9).

The start was Leavitt’s first.

Five players have played in every game: Jim Haley, Conlin Hughes, Nick Riotto, James Coates and Greg Guers.

Of those five, Haley, Hughes and Riotto are the only three to start every game.

 

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.

He leads the team with a .339 batting average, seven extra base hits, two home runs and 11 RBIs.

Made a great catch and throw on a grounder up the middle for the final out in 5-4 win over UNCW. If the runner was safe it would have been runners on the corners with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Haley also made another great play on a ball hit up the middle in the bottom of the ninth against Duke in another one-run game.

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.

 

Blue and White Submarine

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.

With three saves this season, he has 15 for his career. Drew O’Neil (2007-08) is the Penn State record holder with 22, while he is tied with Clint Eury (2002-05) for second at 15.

He now has 77 career appearances which ranks. He is on track for the record of 85 set by David Lutz (2007-10).

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.


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