Strong Pitching Performances Lead Penn State Past Georgetown In Home Opener
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A week full of weather changes is never a surprise when you go to a school like Penn State. In the case of Penn State Baseball, weather changes, most notably rain and snow, postponed the home opener until Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday, the terrible Pennsylvania weather did not magically disappear, it was cold and windy all afternoon but that did not bother the mound men for the Blue and White.
Graduate pitcher Daniel Ouderkirk got the nod on the mound and came out dealing the Hoyas the business. In four innings pitched, he racked up a smooth six strikeouts and only surrendered three hits.
Ouderkirk was solid but his reliever, Travis Luensmann, paved the rest of the road to victory for Penn State.
Luensmann is used to starting games, but with the series only being two games he was able to come in as a relief man on Saturday. “It was not entirely new for me to come out of the bullpen, I did it last year a few times,” Luensmann said. “The biggest thing was preparing the way I needed to prepare and not changing up my mindset whether I start or come in as relief.”
Luensmann only had three strikeouts in the contest but he did not need to beat the batters he faced with strikeouts because of the stellar defensive play behind him from his teammates.
The only glaring issue from the pitching staff on Saturday was the number of walks dealt out from the pitchers. An alarming nine walks were handed out between the two pitchers, six coming from Ouderkirk and three from Luensmann.
Head coach Rob Cooper was not happy with the walks but was happy with just about everything else his team did on the diamond. “Dan needs to limit the walks in the future, but he was really really good for us,” Cooper said. “Travis (Luensmann) came into the game and built off that great start and helped carry the team to victory.”
The bats also got hot midway through the battle, Kyle Hannon smacked a ball out of the ballpark and other players were able to find gaps in the Hoya defense putting pressure on the Georgetown pitchers throughout the game.
Cooper credited the success of his team's offense to the veteran players throughout the lineup. “Kyle (Hannon) is a third year guy, so is Jay (Harry) and then we have Spiegel who is like a ninth year guy,” Cooper joked. “Our experience and offensive approach has been mature this season.”
The Nittany Lions square off with the Hoyas once again on Sunday to close out the series and if the pitching remains steady and the bats stay hot, the blue and white will be in a great spot to win the series.
Cooper summed everything up real well when he said, “not to steal James’ (Franklin) thing, but we are just trying to go 1-0 every day.”
The 1-0 message led to victory on Saturday and will potentially lead to many more this season.
Hayden Lewis is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email email@example.com.
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