Baseball to play Hofstra in three-game series

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Nittany Lions return to North Carolina for the second time in the past three weekends, as they face off against Hofstra in a neutral site three-game series. The two squads will play a doubleheader on Saturday, with the first pitch of game one scheduled for 1 p.m. and then wrap up the three-game set with a single game on Sunday with a noon start.

All-Time Series vs. Hofstra: The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series against the Pride with a 3-1 advantage in the four matchups. The two sides met in a four-game series late in March of the 2010 season. The Pride won the first matchup by a score of 7-1, before Penn State claimed wins in the next three games. This weekend will mark the first time the two teams have met outside of Happy Valley.

Scouting the Pride: Hofstra has struggled to open the 2014 season, coming into this weekend with a 1-3 record. The Pride's opening weekend against Mississippi State was cancelled, so the team began its year last weekend with a four-game series in Phoenix, Ariz. against Grand Canyon University. After dropping the first two decisions, Hofstra managed to grab the third game by a score of 7-5 before losing the final game on Sunday.

In the batter's box, Hofstra's Eric Ferguson and Kenny Jackson have gotten off to great starts. Ferguson leads the team with a .412 batting average on seven hits and has scored five runs while driving in three. Jackson is second on the squad with a .375 average and is tied for the team lead in doubles with two. As a team the Pride has struggled at the dish, recording a .224 batting average.

The Pride pitching staff enters the series with Penn State with a 8.45 combined ERA. Hofstra allowed at least five runs in each of the four games in Arizona, allowing an average of 12 hits per game to opposing batters. Pitcher David Jesch has the lone win for Hofstra. Nick Kozlowski leads the team in strikeouts with five.

Last Time Out: The Nittany Lions fell to South Florida in all three games of last weekend's series. Penn State did not get off to a good start on Friday, losing a lopsided decision 19-1. The Blue and White was much more competitive in the final two games, losing the second by a final of 11-7 and the last game by a score of 6-5. The three defeats drop the squad's record to 2-4 on the young season.

All-Time vs. CAA Teams: The Nittany Lions will play a game against a member of the Colonial Athletic Association for the 81st time in the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday. Penn State has played seven current members including Delaware (18-14), Drexel (2-2), Hofstra (3-1), James Madison (12-11), UNC Wilmington (1-1), Towson (6-4) and William & Mary (3-2. Penn State is .500 or better against all seven teams. The only two teams the Nittany Lions have not met on the diamond are College of Charleston and Northeastern.

Coates Keeps Streak Alive: Dating back to the 2013 season, James Coates has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games. The sophomore has recorded hits in 16 of the 18 games during the streak, seven of which have been multi-hit performances. The outfielder has started out 2014 with two walks in the opener, three walks and a hit in game two and two hits in the final game of the opening series. The sophomore followed up with a hit in each game in Tampa and added two walks to the weekend.

Snyder, Skerpon and Smith Shine Down South: Steve Snyder, Taylor Skerpon and Ryky Smith all had great weekends offensively in the three game series in Tampa against USF. Each player recorded three hits and a batting average of .333 or higher. All three players recorded two RBIs apiece, totaling six of the team's 12 RBIs, and added a walk. The trio also combined to score four runs over the weekend.

Cashing In: With a runner on third and less than two outs, Penn State has successfully scored the runner 65% of the time (13-of-20) through six games in 2014. Three Nittany Lion hitters have been a perfect 2-for-2 in the situation this season with Greg Guers, Tyler Kendall and J.J. White each bringing the runner in on each opportunity.

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Last Updated February 28, 2014