Penn State Set for Series at Rutgers
Penn State baseball hits the road this weekend and heads to Piscataway, New Jersey to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Both teams will open a three-game series at Bainton field with Friday’s game beginning at 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday’s games beginning at 1 p.m.
Penn State baseball and Rutgers have quite a history as the Nittany Lions lead the all-time series 41-29. The last two times these two teams met, the Scarlet Knights took the series 2-1 with Penn State escaping with one win.
In game one on Friday, Penn State will send RHP Justin Hagenman (2-1, 3.21 ERA) to the mound. Hagenman, thus far, has shown that he is the Nittany Lions strongest pitcher. Opposing him for Rutgers is RHP John O’Reilly (1-1, 6.23 ERA).
In game two, on Saturday Penn State will send LHP Taylor Lehman (2-1, 3.66 ERA) to take the ball. Opposing him for Rutgers is LHP Harry Rutkowski (2-0, 5.68 ERA). Lehman has shown the stats thus far to prove he is the second strongest starter thus far.
On Sunday’s finale, Penn State will send LHP Dante Biasi (0-2, 6.14 ERA) to the mound and Rutgers will send LHP Eric Heatter (1-0, 2.35 ERA). Games two and three look pretty even pitching wise with both teams as they are both sending lefties to the mound.
However, thus far, the Nittany Lions are 5-6 in day games and 2-2 when it comes to left handed pitchers starting.
When it comes to right handed pitching, the Nittany Lions are 4-7. So, in around about way, Penn State currently fares better against lefty pitching.
On the other hand, Penn State has already seen three mid-week matchups postponed due to inclement weather. Those matchups include Mount. St. Mary’s, Bucknell and Pitt.
Likewise, Penn State would like to better its conference record from last year when they finished 4-20 in Big Ten play. Also, the last time both teams faced each other was during 2015-2016 season and that also happened to be at Rutgers.
Penn State, however, is two games below .500 on the road at Rutgers with an all-time record of 14-16.
Rutgers is currently 11-7 on the season as they open Big Ten play. The Scarlet Knights are coming off of a spring break trip where they went 6-1, winning five-straight against Army, FIU and then-No.27 Florida Gulf Coast.
The Scarlet Knights lead the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 7.5 runs per game. Leading them in hitting is Kyle Walker who has a .417 batting average, which ranks second in the Big Ten.
Eric Heatter of Rutgers is seventh in the Big Ten with a 2.35 ERA, first with a 7.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.17 WHIP.
For Penn State, Ryan Sloniger remains hot as he has a hit in 14 of 15 games thus far and is riding a five-game hitting streak. He started the season on a nine-game hitting streak.
Tom Johnston is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.