Penn State Baseball Gets Set to Open Conference Play in Ann Arbor
The 12-5 Penn State Nittany Lions will travel to Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines in a three-game set from Friday to Sunday.
When it comes to the Big Ten rankings, the Nittany Lions are sitting in second place only behind Iowa and the Wolverines are third to last only ahead of Minnesota and Northwestern. Both teams will be facing each other for the first time.
For the Nittany Lions, they are on a three-game win streak after having three games before that were canceled. Junior Jay Harry is leading the team with a .314 batting average, .959 OPS and .557 slugging percentage. He is also getting on base 40.2% of the time.
Right behind him is graduate student Thomas Bramley, who is hitting .311 with an OPS of .967 and a .492 slugging percentage. His on-base percentage is even higher than Harry's at 47.5%.
When it comes to pitching, the Nittany Lions have four pitchers that eat up the majority of the innings. Those pitchers are Travis Luensmann, Daniel Ouderkirk, Jaden Henline and Jordan Morales.
Each pitcher has a different stat that jumps off the page so far this season. Three of the four have not been responsible for a loss yet this season.
Looking over to Michigan, the Wolverines are on a two-game skid that was preceded by a three-game winning streak. Sophomore catcher Joe Longo is having a terrific year at the plate hitting for an average of .354, with an OPS of .906 and slugging .521.
Where the Wolverines are lacking is getting on base as only one player on the usual starting roster gets on base over 40% of the time. Longo is also the only batter on the roster that hits over .300 which is not an alarming stat, but definitely something the Wolverines would want to see have more players in that statline.
The qualified starters have struck out 200 times as a team this year, so if the Wolverines want to have any success against the Nittany Lions, that number will have to rise at a way slower rate.
Focusing on the mound, the Wolverines also have four pitchers who are considered qualified.
Junior lefty Connor O’Halloran has a 1.62 ERA with a 0.93 WHIP. After facing 123 batters, he had struck out 44 of them which is a nearly 36% strikeout rate.
The main storyline of this matchup between two bitter school rivals is can Penn State’s live bats defeat the two star pitchers of Michigan.
Penn State will look to ride its current momentum into Ann Arbor and continue its hot streak.
Joey David is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.