Handley’s Big Red Diamond Cuts
Penn State 26-23 (10-8 Big Ten) @ Nebraska 31-17 (11-7 Big Ten)
Game 1 May 13th (Fri) 6:35pm
Game 2 May 14th (Sat) 2:05pm
Game 3 May 15th (Sun) 11:35am
Matchups on the mound:
Game 1 NU: Derek Burkamper (5-1, 2.91 ERA) vs. PSU: Taylor Lehman (1-9, 5.25 ERA)
Game 2 NU: Matt Waldron (5-2, 3.49 ERA) vs. PSU: Sal Biasi (5-4, 3.77 ERA)
Game 3 NU: Jake Myers (4-1, 1.74 ERA) vs. PSU: Justin Hagenman (6-2, 3.24 ERA)
Big Ten Standings
Indiana: 13-5-0 (29-17-0)
Michigan 12-5-0 (34-13-0)
Minnesota 12-5-0 (30-15-0)
Nebraska 11-7-0 (31-17-0)
Michigan State 11-7-0 (32-13-0)
Maryland 10-8-0 (25-22-0)
Ohio State 10-8-0 (32-16-1)
Penn State 10-8-0 (26-23-0)
Illinois 9-9-0 (25-20-0)
Iowa 8-10-0 (22-23-0)
Rutgers 6-12-0 (23-25-0)
Northwestern 5-16-0 (13-34-0)
Purdue 2-19-0 (7-39-0)
The Big Ten standing are a complete log jam. Purdue and Northwestern are the only two teams that will not qualify for the Big Ten tournament in Omaha and Rutgers is hanging on by a very small thread. So that leaves 10 teams fighting for 8 sports in the field.
There a hand full of teams that need results this weekend and one of those teams is Penn State. The Nittany Lions visit Lincoln having lost their last 9 of 12 games and have not earned a conference series win since mid April. Nebraska is riding solid momentum after back-to-back conference series wins including last weekend’s triumph over Michigan State. Both teams earned a mid-week victory as they prepare for a key series at Hawks Field.
Penn State’s starting pitching has been touched up w/ the exception of their Sunday starter, Justin Hagenman. The back end of the staff has been effective as teams are only batting .259 against the collective group but could there be a fatigue factor at some point?
The offensive numbers have been less than impressive as of late for PSU with a team average of .266. Greg Guers has provided most of the production driving in 33 runs and leading the team with five long balls. After the top 4 hitters, there is a significant drop off.
The Nebraska pitching staff faced arguably its toughest offensive challenge in conference this past weekend only allowing 11 runs in 3 games against Michigan State. NU continues to see the weekend starters stretch their outings past five innings allowing a more rested and effective bullpen. That’s a trend that needs to continue at this point of the season.
Ryan Boldt has worked his way out of a late April slump and has provided the fire power at the top of the lineup. Scott Schreiber and Ben Miller showed some power in the win over Omaha while Jake Myers has continued to produce at the plate. Taylor Fish might have been the biggest factor in the bottom of the order this past weekend with 4 hits in the series against MSU. If Nebraska can continue to get quality innings from their starters and get good balance in their lineup, the Huskers should notch another series win this weekend at home.