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Monday Pepper - BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge

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Your weekly review of the Penn State baseball team.

TheGunslinger, community member extraordinaire, has been providing your post game wrap-ups this weekend.  Check them out through the links below.

Penn State started their season this weekend as part of BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge (yes, BIG EAST is in all caps for some reason).

St. John’s 15, Penn State 6

BSD post-game

A pretty awful way to start the season, this one got out of hand in the 5th and completely out of reach in the 8th.  There were some bright spots: 1B Mike Deese had a killer day at the plate, although he also had two errors in the field.

Penn State put up six runs (although really only four when the game was still in question) and could improve on their 13 runner stranded; a frustrating thing to see but one that usually means things are working in the right direction.

And besides, Penn State is in good company.  The Phillies lost their season opener too, 11-6, to an eventual 100+ game loser no less.  Besides, St. John's is kind of good, defending Big East BIG EAST regular season champs in fact.  They are expected to slip a bit, the coaches guessed they would finish fourth this year, but it's just one game and Penn State didn't have much time to dwell on it anyway, with two more games in the next two days.

Penn State 9, Northwestern 1

BSD post-game

Penn State immediately turned it around the next day, taking care of Northwestern 9-1.  Deese was moved to DH, perhaps because of his trouble in the field the day before, got on base twice and scored both times.

Scott Kelley, who spent most of last year either on the bench or playing outfield (some background here), had a great first start, striking out 5 through 5.2. 

Despite driving in 9, the team again left 13 men on base.

NUSports Wrap-Up | Collegian Wrap-Up

Penn State 6, Seton Hall 1

These are the kind of games that make baseball so much fun.  Penn State, despite out-hitting Seton Hall 8 to 2 through 8, found themselves down a run in the top of the ninth.

Michael Glantz starting things off with a walk, who moved to second on a Jordan Steranka single and then to third on a Rick Marlin bunt that even Bill James might approve of.  From there it was mostly fireworks; Penn State hit through three Seton Hall pitchers and would eventually take what was a last ditch attempt to tie the game in the final frame and turn it into their biggest inning of the weekend.  Stud cleanup hitter Mike Deese added the final insurance runs on a 2 RBI single, he went three for five to top off a very strong 'challenge' performance.

T.J. Macy, who like Kelley before him was starting for the very first time, went 8 inning, struck out 8 and walked 2.

GoPSUSports Wrap-Up | Collegian Wrap-Up

The 10th Inning Bullets

  • The opener was ugly, of course, but Penn State was swinging the bats well and unfortunately didn't have the pitching to make it a game.  St. John's went on to kill Iowa (18-3) the next day but then fall to Big Ten favorite Michigan 4-2.
  • Northwestern was an important rebound game moral wise but also the first indication that two of Penn State's first year starters, Kelley and Macy, could turn into very strong performers.
  • Northwestern was able to beat Georgetown, however the Hoyas went 0-3 on the weekend.  UConn beat NW 10-1.
  • Seton Hall was definitely the better of the two wins.  Not only was the 9th ending character building, it happened against a team that had beaten Minnesota and MSU by a combined 13 runs.
  • Senior Mike Deese missed all but six games last year because of a wrist injury, but he seems to be back to himself.  He finished the weekend with a BA of .583 and OBP of .667.