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Courtesy of PSU Athletics
Penn State Baseball Opens Season at No. 1 TCU Friday
Nittany Lions take on preseason favorite to start 2017 season

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.. – Penn State baseball opens its 129th season with a three-game series at No. 1 TCU Friday-Sunday at Lupton Stadium at Williams-Reilly Field. First pitch is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET and the series is scheduled to continue Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Series History: 0-3 (2016)
Last Series vs. TCU: at Penn State, 0-3 (5/7-5/8)
Streak: L3

Friday Probables (2016 Stats)
PSU RHP Sal Biasi (5-5, 3.90 ERA)
TCU RHP Jared Janczak (7-4, 2.61 ERA)

Saturday Probables (2016 Stats)
PSU LHP Sal Biasi (5-5, 3.90 ERA)
TCU RHP Brian Howard (10-2, 3.19 ERA)

Sunday Probables (2016 Stats)
PSU RHP Justin Hagenman (6-3, 3.50 ERA)
TCU LHP Nick Lodolo (First Appearance)

Youthful Team Carrying Momentum
Penn State returns its entire starting pitching rotation and five starters to its lineup after going 28-27 in 2016 for its best record since 2012. The Lions are welcoming 10 newcomers but will need to replace key losses in their batting lineup and closer Jack Anderson. Anderson was a third-team All-Big Ten pick and was drafted by the Mariners following graduation, while all three of Penn State’s top hitters for average – second-team All-Big Ten pick Greg Guers, Tampa Bay Rays draft pick Jim Haley and leading hitter Tyler Kendall – have departed. Penn State regularly relied on freshmen in its starting lineup last season with corner infielder Willie Burger and LHP Justin Hagenman earning All-Big Ten Freshman honors and Hagenman adding a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America nod – Penn State’s first since 1997.

Season Openers
Penn State is looking to snap a two-game skid in season openers. The Nittany Lions are 1-2 in season starts during head coach Rob Cooper’s tenure.

Last Win Over No. 1
Penn State is looking to take down the No. 1 team for the first time since March 3, 2007 when they defeated top-ranked North Carolina, 3-2, in 10 innings.

Last Time Against TCU
Penn State was swept in a three-game home series against No. 10 TCU at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park despite being in all three games late. Penn State had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in both games during a doubleheader to open the series. The tying run was at the plate in the first game and the go-ahead run was on second in the second game, while the finale was tied 5-5 entering the eighth inning. Nick Riotto had a strong weekend at the plate, going 6-for-13 (.462).

Scouting TCU
The Horned Frogs enter the 2017 season as the consensus No. 1 team. The trio of Luken Baker, Elliott Barzilli and Evan Skoug were named to USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Watch List. Baker and Skoug are also unanimous preseason All-Americans, while Barzilli has earned four preseason All-American nods. TCU also topped the Big 12 preseason poll. TCU is coming off its third straight appearance in the College World Series. The Frogs compiled a 49-18 record in 2016, including a 15-9 mark in Big 12 play and a Big 12 Tournament title. In 2017, the Horned Frogs return eight of nine field starters, their entire starting rotation and their closer. In addition, the Frogs welcomed a group of 11 newcomers.

Road Swing Begins
Penn State is playing its first 14 games of the season on the road. Next weekend, the Nittany Lions will host Xavier in a four-game series over three days at the USA Baseball National Training Center in Cary, North Carolina. Starting Mar. 4, Penn State will then play seven games in eight days in northern California, taking on Pacific, UC Davis and Sacramento State. Penn State will open its home slate Mar. 16 against Delaware.

Big Ten Players to Watch
Junior RHP Sal Biasi, OF Nick Riotto and IF/C Willie Burger were tabbed as Big Ten Players to Watch.
In his first season as a starter last season, Biasi led the team in strikeouts with 66 and posted a 5-6 record over 13 starts and 14 appearances, totaling 67 1/3 innings. His 3.74 ERA ranked second among Penn State starters.
Riotto enjoyed a breakout season in 2016 and led the team with a .405 on-base percentage and ranked second with 24 walks. He struck out just 14 times in 197 at-bats and batted .307 to rank fourth on the team.
Burger was a unanimous pick to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, was a Big Ten Player of the Week and a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week. He finished second on the team with 34 RBIs despite not appearing in 19 games.

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