Blue Hens Welcome Penn State for Final Three Games of Opening Home Stand
NEWARK, Del.-- The University of Delaware baseball squad will close out an 10-game homestand this Saturday and Sunday when the Blue Hens welcome in Big Ten rival Penn State for a three game series at Bob Hannah Stadium.
After winter storm Stella forced the cancelation of the scheduled games at Penn State this past Thursday and Friday, the Nittany Lions (6-8) and Blue Hens (8-7) agreed to play three games in Newark this weekend.
Delaware has had an extremely successful homestand, posting six wins against just two losses. The Blue Hens won six consecutive games last week, defeating Rider (8-5), Delaware State (15-5) and Wagner (21-8, 15-7, 19-6).
Sophomore Nick Patten paced the Hens, producing a .500 average (10-20), hitting three home runs with 13 RBI. Patten scored 18 runs and helped UD posted 15+ runs in a program record five consecutive games.
The first baseman’s performance earned him Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week. He is the first Delaware player to earn the award since Kevin Milley did last May.
The Blue Hens last played on Monday against UMass Lowell. After falling behind 6-1 in the fourth inning, the Blue Hens cut the UMass Lowell lead to 6-5 but couldn’t muster the tying run.
The loss was Hens first since Feb. 24 and snapped a six-game winning streak. UD received a superb relief performance from Nick Spadafino. After allowing a single to the first batter he faced, Spadafino retired the next 14 batters, striking out eight in the process.
The Hens come into the weekend hitting .328 as a team, which is good for the best mark in the CAA and ranked No. 10 in the country.
Scouting the Foes:
Penn State comes into the weekend with a record of 6-8 and coming off a series at Sacramento State where the Nittany Lions won two out of three games.
The Nittany Lions, who have bounced back from a 1-5 start to win five of their last eight games, boast one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten. PSU has just six seniors compared to 11 freshman and eight sophomores and just three upperclassman position players.
Penn State has been led by Jordan Bowersox, Mason Nadeau and Willie Burger.
Bowersox is the teams’ leader in average (.393), hits (22), doubles (5) and on-base percentage (.433). His nine RBI and four stolen bases are tied for second most on the PSU squad.
Nadeau is second on the team in average (.364) and on-base percentage (.429) while Burger has hit a team high three home runs and leads the Nittany Lions in RBI (15), slugging percentage (.543) and is second in runs scored (9).
On the mound, Penn State has received stronger outings from the bullpen than its starters. Relievers Myles Gayman (7.2 IP, 1.17 ERA), Eric Mock (8.1 IP, 2.16 ERA) and Nick Distasio (12.1 IP, 2.19 ERA) have all produced sub-three ERAs this season.
Distasio has produced all three PSU saves this season and leads all relievers with 14 strikeouts.
In the rotation, Penn State has used four players as their primary starting pitchers.
Right-hander Sal Biasi has been PSU’s most effective starter as the junior has struck out 24 batters in 17.2 innings. His 5.09 ERA is the best of all three PSU starting pitchers.
Second starter Justin Hagenman has allowed 19 runs (16 earned) in 19.2 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .325 off the sophomore right-hander and have hit six extra base hits.
The final Penn State starter is Cole Bartels, who has taken over the Sunday starting role from Taylor Lehman. Bartels comes into the weekend with an ERA of 5.00, having pitched just nine innings this season.
Delaware is 14-18 all-time against Penn State. Overall the Nittany Lions have won the last three meetings.
Game One (Penn State)- LHP Brandon Walter (1-3, 2.62 ERA) vs. Sal Biasi (2-1, 5.09 ERA)
Game Two (Penn State)- RHP Nick Spadafino (1-0, 5.60 ERA) vs. Justin Hagenman (1-2, 7.32 ERA)
Game Three (Penn State)-LHP Kevin Milley (1-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. Cole Bartels (0-0, 5.00 ERA).
MEDIA INFORMATION: Contact Andrew Stern | Anwstern@udel.edu | Office: 302-831-6519 | Cell: 914-589-9666