Last time we met, we went over Penn State baseball’s hot start to the 2020 season as they began the season 5-2. In this week’s update, the Nittany Lions are continuing their hot play and now sit at 9-2 on the season.
Last weekend, the Nittany Lions swept a four-game series with the Princeton Tigers, extending their winning streak to six-games. The Nittany Lions bats were alive in the series, totaling 39 runs in the four contests while the pitching was stellar only allowing eight runs.
The Lions scoring total was bolstered by two blowout victories as they defeated Princeton 18-1 on Friday and 13-1 on Saturday in their second game of a doubleheader. The other two affairs in the series were 4-3 victories for the team.
This weekend, the Lions will be a bit closer to home after spending the first few weeks in Cary, North Carolina at the United States Baseball Complex. For their three games this weekend, the Nittany Lions will be playing in Baltimore and Annapolis.
The first game up this weekend is against Navy on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Midshipman are sitting at 9-1 this season and are riding a nine-game win streak. However, the Nittany Lions are the first team with a winning record that Navy will face this season.
On Saturday, they’ll make the 40-minute trip from Annapolis to Baltimore as they’ll take on the UMBC Retrievers. The Retrievers are off to a very slow start this season at 1-8. That being said, their only win this season has come against a respectable Stetson (9-2) team. First pitch against the Retrievers is set for 3 p.m..
To finish out the weekend, they’ll take on the Farleigh Dickinson Knights back in Annapolis. Farleigh-Dickinson is also off to a slow start at 2-6. Their two wins this season have come against St. Peter’s (1-11) and Iona (3-8). That game has a first pitch scheduled for noon.
After this weekend, the Nittany Lions will have just one more road series before their home opener on March 18. Next weekend, the Nittany Lions will travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on the Miami (OH) RedHawks.
Stat-wise, the Nittany Lions remain hot at the plate and are hitting .317/.425/.440. The Nittany Lions showed off some power over the last few games, hitting four home runs after entering last weekend with just one. The updated stats also show that freshman Johnny Piacentino (Cherry Hill, NJ) is the team’s leader at the plate, hitting .474 in nine games. Senior catcher Gavin Homer has also continued swinging a hot bat, hitting .467 with one home run and team leading 13 RBI.
On the mound, the pitchers remain dominant, posting a 1.76 ERA and .80 WHIP on the season. One notable performer who we didn’t mention last time is Braden Halladay (Odessa, FL), the son of the late first-ballot Baseball Hall of Famer Roy Halladay. Braden’s career is off to a good start through his first two appearances, allowing just two base runners in four innings of work.
Starter Dees Bailey also continued his great start to the season, going six innings last weekend against Princeton, allowing one run (unearned) on three hits while striking out nine. He has a 1.02 ERA heading into Friday afternoon’s clash with Navy.
Overall, Penn State head coach Rob Cooper has to love how his team is starting out 2020. Of course, the Nittany Lions as we mentioned last week started off hot last year before collapsing once they got into Big Ten play. With the team performing at a high-level at both sides of the plate, perhaps this is the season that the Nittany Lions are able to get over the hump on the diamond and be competitive in Big Ten play.