Series Preview: Penn State Baseball vs. Purdue
After playing six straight conference games on the road, Penn State will host the Boilermakers in a three-game series. Easter weekend brings Purdue to Happy Valley for the first time since March 2018.
The Nittany Lions have dropped their last two games against Northwestern and West Virginia. Against the Mountaineers, they were unable to mount a comeback after trailing 7-0 going into the bottom of the third.
Tommy Molsky started on the mound for Penn State, surrendering five runs until head coach Rob Cooper would make a change. Jordan Morales came in for Molsky and allowed three runs quickly in one inning pitched.
Trailing 8-2, the Penn State relief pitchers dialed it in preventing further scores from West Virginia. Sophomore pitcher Carson Kohls had a career outing, pitching 3.2 shutout innings. His presence on the mound halted the Mountaineers’ momentum, throwing three strikeouts.
On offense, Cole Bartels and Josh Spiegel hit two homeruns, combining for all four runs scored in the game for Penn State. In total, the Nittany Lions had 11 hits but couldn’t send players home, leaving eight players on base.
Jaden Henline is set to start pitching on Thursday for Penn State, who has had two starts earlier this year. With a 3.72 ERA this season, Henline is coming off one of his best games at Penn State tying his previous career-high six strikeouts. Both times came against Northwestern.
The Boilermakers (21-7, 3-4) had a great start to the season in nonconference play, opening with a 15-game win streak but have struggled to catch fire inside the Big Ten.
Last week featured an offensive barrage at home for Purdue. In the five games they played, the Boilermakers scored a total of 59 runs with 16+ runs in three of those games. Coming to Penn State, the Boilermakers will look to steamroll their way through Happy Valley.
The offense was led by Troy Viola, CJ Valdez and Evan Albrecht during last week’s home game stretch. Viola had zero strikeouts in that stretch and is currently on a seven-game hitting stretch.
Valdez hit 9-for-23 with nine total RBI’s. Against Indiana, he had seven runs in the series. Albrecht was a big reason for the 16-15 win in the rubber match against the Hoosiers. He had a two-out walk during the sixth inning that would fuel a 4-0 run, giving them the win.
Both Landon Weins and Jackson Smeltz sit inside the Big Ten’s top-six for earned run average. Smeltz will start Friday, getting some rest after throwing 121 pitches in eight innings on Saturday. He allowed only one hit and prevailed the team to a 17-0 victory.
Penn State will need more consistency from its bullpen to prevent Purdue from continuing its offensive firepower from last week.
Austin Groft is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.