Bumped from the Fanposts is this excellent preview of the upcoming baseball game between PSU and Indiana. Also, I'm lazy today and there is no football news to speak of. Enjoy.
Thought I'd post this here as well with the game coming up on Wednesday. So if there are any PSU baseball fans out there, this game won't be televised, but should be a good one.
Game is Wednesday @ 330pm, at Michigan's Ray Fisher Stadium at the Wilpon Sports Complex. If you're in the area tickets are $7. After Medlar Field, the Fish might be the second best field in the Big Ten.
In the second game of the day, we have Penn State versus Indiana. Penn State swept the four game season series in mid April, but since then Indiana has been one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers are winners 12 of their last 16 conference games, including two from 1st place Michigan, three from 2nd place Purdue, and a sweep on the road of Michigan State.
Offense has not been a problem this year for Indiana. The leader on offense this year is probably Big Ten player of the year candidate Josh Phegley. Phegley is the regular season Big Ten batting champion with a .436 average. He also holds the regular season crown 71 RBIs. Phegley ranks in the top 3 in slugging percentage (.733), on base percentage (.514), runs scored (63), hits (88), doubles (17), and home runs (13). Indiana as a team finished second in the Big Ten overall with a .337 batting average.
On the other side of the spectrum is Penn State. Penn State finished second to last in the Big Ten in team batting average, posting a .291 overall. Leading the way for Penn State are the three, four, and five hitters in the line up DH Joe Blackburn (.341 batting average, 41 RBI), C Rob Yodice (.291 batting average, 49 RBI), and CF Brian Ernst (.356 batting average). Blackburn, Ernst, and LF Ryan Boonie are the only hitters in the starting lineup currently batting over three hundred.
This is good news for the Hoosier pitching staff that has come out red hot in the second half of the season. Opening the tournament for Indiana is Matt Bashore. Bashore (7-3) currently holds the third highest ERA at 3.16 and the lead in strikeouts with 86 (25 looking). His last loss came at the hands of the Nittany Lions just over one month ago. Bashore pitched 5.1 innings allowing 6 runs, 3 earned, on 7 hits, 4 walks, and 3 strikeouts in the loss. Since that game, Bashore has pitched four straight complete-game victories.
Going up against Bashore for Penn State will be Mike Wanamaker. Wanamaker is fourth in the Big Ten in ERA with a 3.69 mark and holds a 5-5 record overall. Wanamaker’s low winning percentage has been more a case of bad luck than it has poor pitching. Wanamaker has lost two games this season when giving up only one earned run. He also ran into a hot Miami (FL) team, ranked #5 at the time, early in the season. He has really only pitched poorly in two games this season, including his most recent outing at Minnesota. Wanamaker has already faced Indiana once this season, pitching a complete game (7 innings), giving up 1 run on 7 hits. Wanamaker is also one of the few pitchers to dominate Phegley this season holding him hitless with two strikeouts. Behind Wanamaker, the Nittany Lions feature two quality relievers in Paul Hawkins (3-3) and Dan O’Neil (0-1, 11 S). Both relievers have 25 appearances each; nearly double the next closest reliever on the Nittany Lion roster. O’Neil is up for all conference honors this season as he has tied the Penn State record for saves in a season. His 0.71 ERA leads all Big Ten Pitchers with at least 5 innings of work.
Penn State coming in as the higher seed may actually be the underdog in this game. Indiana has the definite edge in the offensive department, and appears to have a slight advantage in the starting pitching. Penn State does have the upper hand in the relief-pitching department.
My prediction is a low scoring affair, which benefits Penn State, but not enough. Indiana 4, Penn State 2.
Players to Watch:
Brian Ernst CF – 2/3, R vs Bashore
Dan O’Neil RP – 11 Saves, 0.71ERA, .174 OBA in 25 appearances this season
Wes Borden 3B - .296 BA, 42 R, 17 RBI, .407 OB%, 13 SB this season
Josh Phegley C - 0/3, 2K vs Wanamaker
Jerrud Sabourin 1B – 3/3, 2B, R vs Wanamaker
Andrew Means CF - .365 BA, 65 R, 29 RBI, .421 OB%, 30 SB this season