PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Baseball Team Draws Ohio State in Conference Tournament Opener

The Penn State Nittany Lions baseball team is headed to its second consecutive Big Ten Tournament berth, receiving the third overall seed, their highest position in the tournament bracket since 2008. The Nittany Lions have yet to take home a conference title and are hoping that they can survive in Columbus in order to receive their first after a strong finish to the regular season.

The Lions haven’t come close to a Big Ten championship since 2000 — their last time appearing in the title game. The tournament, which features double-elimination play, will kick off this afternoon, with Penn State taking on the sixth-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes. With a win over the Buckeyes, they will go on to face the number two seeded Indiana Hoosiers tomorrow. If they lose this afternoon, they’ll play the loser of today’s matchup between Nebraska and Michigan State.

It’s unclear which starting pitcher will take the mound today, but one thing is certain: strong play will be needed from senior first baseman Jordan Steranka, who was named to the All-Big Ten First Team after putting up huge numbers all season. His eye-popping .362 batting average is the fifth best in the conference and his slugging percentage of .615 is the best in the Big Ten. Steranka has almost half of the team’s conference-leading 23 home runs with 11 of his own (the second most by a single player in the Big Ten).

If he manages to keep it up in the tournament along with some help from the rest of the order, Penn State pitchers will have a much easier time knowing that the team’s bats are providing some run support.

It’s likely that sophomore lefty Joe Kurrasch will be the starter this afternoon. He’s been fairly consistent this season and has an outstanding 1.98 ERA in conference play. In a series at Medlar Field in late April, Kurrasch pitched a strong game against Ohio State, going 6.2 innings and allowing no earned runs on just two hits while fanning seven Buckeyes.

Kurrasch was dominant in his last outing against Michigan State just six days ago, which also makes him the most rested of any Penn State starter. Hopefully he can carry some of that momentum into the tournament before handing the ball over to Steven Hill, who will be the probable starter for the second tournament game tomorrow.

One thing’s for certain — no matter how the Nittany Lions play over the next few days, they will be hard-pressed to play more disappointing baseball in the tournament than the 2011 team did. Tough back-to-back losses to Purdue and Minnesota sent the Nittany Lions packing early last year, so even a win over the Buckeyes today will be an improvement.

However, I don’t doubt that this team has their eyes on the real prize: their first ever Big Ten Championship.

About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a StateCollege.com reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

Comments

More by Zach

Penn Stater Named To Olympic Committee’s Centre for Safe Sport’s Inaugural Board

The Center for Safe Sport was recently created to tackle the issue of protecting America’s athletes. Penn State will be represented on the inaugural board by chief ethics and compliance officer Regis Becker.

A Valentine’s Day Trio Of Penn State Love Stories

Penn State To Celebrate 161st Birthday Next Week

Athletics

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions won’t play a single home match in September, electing to test themselves against teams like Stanford and Oregon early in the season.

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Penn State Hockey Commit Evan Bell Wins Clark Cup With USHL’s Fargo Force

Center Ludvig Larsson Transfers To Penn State Hockey From Merrimack

Student Life

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

With two Penn State Esport teams in the top eight, the odds of winning the National Championship were ever in our favor.

Road And Utility Work Impacting Penn State This Summer

Where Do Penn Staters Move After Graduation?

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Carr underwhelmed in the agility tests and the scrimmage, but impressed scouts with his sharp-shooting skills.

We Are Royalty: Meghan Markle Is A Penn State Fan

Penn State fans are everywhere, even in the British royal family.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

With two Penn State Esport teams in the top eight, the odds of winning the National Championship were ever in our favor.

Send this to a friend