It will be a busy weekend in State College on Saturday as football program holds its annual Blue-White Spring Game while the Penn State baseball team is set to host a double-header against Nebraska starting at 3 p.m. It will be the second and third games of the Nittany Lions series against Nebraska that is set to start on Friday at 1 p.m.
The Nittany Lions are coming off another tough week since our last update. Last weekend, they finally picked up their first Big Ten victory of the season but still dropped two games to Indiana, moving their conference record to a miserable 1-7 on the season. That being said, head baseball coach Rob Cooper picked up his No.400 victory on Tuesday night when the Lions took down Youngstown State 16-15 at home.
Entering this weekend, the Nittany Lions will be 17-12, as they keep themselves above .500. The Cornhuskers on the other end are 17-10 entering Friday’s series opener and have been strong in conference play with a 7-2 record. They’re coming a dominating series sweep over Purdue last weekend. Additionally, they’re ranked in the top-50 of the RPI according to Warren Nolan, a testament to how strong of a team the Cornhuskers are this season. For comparison, the Nittany Lions, a once top-50 RPI team now sit at No.152.
Against teams outside the top-100 in the RPI, the Cornhuskers are 12-1 on the season including 6-1 in conference play. It certainly doesn’t spell good news for Rob Cooper’s program entering the weekend.
The Nittany Lions will need their offense to step it up this weekend but they’ll also need big perfromances on the mound. One player to watch is ace Dante Biasi who entering Friday is 3-3 for the Lions with an ERA of 1.75 through 46.1 innings pitched. He’s also struck out 66 while walking 17 on the season. Biasi has pitched a gem almost every time he’s taken the mound this season and will need another gem on Friday.
Overall, the odds are certainly stacked against the team entering their series against Nebraska and it has a danger of becoming an unpleasant series for the program quickly. With their postseason dreams all but gone, the Nittany Lions at this point will look to just salvage what they can for the remainder of their season, starting on Friday.
After their three-game series with the Cornhuskers, the Lions will have a midweek challenge against a quality West Virginia team.