Series Preview: Penn State Baseball vs. Rutgers

Story posted April 1, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Bourandas

Penn State is coming off a surprising series against Michigan where it managed to win one of three games. The Wolverines are ranked near the top of the Big Ten but despite that, the Nittany Lions managed to have a lead for most of the series.

They won game one in walk-off fashion as Cole Bartels roped an RBI single that brought in the game-winning run in the tenth inning. Game two was dominated by Michigan, but in the third-and-final game the Nittany Lions held the lead until the ninth inning. It was there when the Wolverines scored two in the top of both the ninth and tenth innings to win the game and the series.

In its upcoming series, Penn State will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Scarlet Knights come into the series with an 8-6 record and are coming off a series win over Purdue on the road.

Ryan Lasko dominated game one with two homers in the first three innings. The Boilermakers almost got back into the game with a four-run ninth inning, however the comeback came two runs short.

Game two was more of the same, but in the opposite direction. No runners crossed home plate until the seventh inning when the Scarlet Knights pushed four across. Three of those came on a 3-RBI double from Chris Brito. That effort didn’t matter in the end, though, after a seven-run bottom of the ninth from the Boilermakers to seal the victory. A walk-off three-run homer from Mason Gavre secured the victory.

The Scarlet Knights quickly bounced back in the rubber match with a blowout 15-4 win. The victory was powered in large part by a seven-run fourth inning which featured a grand slam from Brito.

Brito has been one of the best power hitters in the Big Ten all season long with a team leading nine homers. He also has a .382 average which ranks second on the team. With the Nittany Lions struggling on the mound all season, Brito will be a tough out all series long.

Lasko will be another tough out in this Rutgers lineup as he is tied for second on the team in hits with 13. He also has three home runs of his own to go along with a .325 average.

Ben Wereski has been the ace for the Scarlet Knights thus far on the mound. The graduate student originally played at Columbia University before transferring to Rutgers. He has yet to lose a game this season and has a 1.44 ERA with 24 strikeouts.

He last pitched in game two of the Purdue series where he tossed seven shutout innings. It is uncertain whether Wereski gets on the mound in this series due to him pitching recently but if he does the Penn State lineup has a tough challenge ahead.

This series projects to be a fun one to watch for fans of the blue and white, as despite its record ranking towards the bottom in the Big Ten, they showed fight against one of the top teams in college baseball. Record wise, this series against Rutgers will be the second worst team the Nittany Lions have faced all year due to the tough schedule early on this season.

 

Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.