April 7, 2011
Northwestern (8-17, 1-2 Big Ten) vs. Penn State (17-9, 2-1 Big Ten)
Friday, April 8, 2011; 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 9, 2011; 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 10, 2011; 1 p.m.
Rocky Miller Park (1,000)
Streaming Video: NUsports.com All Access (Saturday and Sunday)
Audio: WNUR 89.3 FM (Saturday only) and sports.wnur.org (all 3 days)
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern opens its 2011 Big Ten home season this weekend as it hosts Penn State in a three-game series. Friday's series opener is set for 3 p.m. first pitch, while Saturday's and Sunday's games get underway at 1 p.m.
The Nittany Lions are making their first visit to Rocky Miller Park since the 2006 season when the teams split a four-game series.
NU began conference play at Ohio State last weekend, winning one of three games. After dropping a 7-2 decision in Friday's opener, the Wildcats bounced back to earn a 7-3 victory on Saturday. Michael Jahns pitched three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Paul Snieder went 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI. In Sunday's wild series finale, NU rallied from seven runs down after six innings to tie the game at 14. The Wildcats were down four with two outs in the ninth before a run-scoring single by Chris Kontos and a three-run homer by Jack Havey tied the game. However, OSU got a run in its half of the ninth to pick up the 15-14 win.
Scouting Penn State
The Nittany Lions (17-9, 2-1 Big Ten) are coming off a 7-6 loss to Kent State on Tuesday after taking two of three games from Illinois in their Big Ten opening series last weekend. Jordan Steranka paces the Penn State offense with a .345 batting average, six home runs and 33 RBI. Sean Deegan is first on the team with a .355 average and eight stolen bases while Joey DeBernardis is tops on the squad with 15 doubles. Starting pitchers John Walter (2.27 ERA) and Steven Hill (2.61 ERA) each boast three wins.
Junior Paul Snieder enters this weekend's series on a tear. Over the team's last nine contests, Snieder is batting .471 (16-34) with 13 RBI. He has six multi-hit games over that span. Snieder has driven in nine runs in the last three contests and has homered in each of the last two. In addition, both junior Trevor Stevens and senior Chris Lashmet have put together extended hitting streaks this year. Stevens started the 2011 season by hitting safely in the Wildcats' first 11 games, batting .447 (17-38) over that span. Lashmet collected at least one hit in nine straight games from March 11-23. He had at least two hits in five consecutive games during the streak.
Son of a Bird
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Luke Farrell hails from a baseball family. His father, John, is in his first year as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. John was most recently the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox. Luke's brother Jeremy played collegiately at Virginia and plays professionally in the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization, while another brother, Shane, is a pitcher at Marshall. After battling illness prior to his freshman year, Luke has gotten his 2011 campaign off to a good start. He is 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA and leads the team with 24 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings pitched.
All in the Family
Much like the Farrells, baseball is a family affair for the Stevens clan. Northwestern boast three Stevens on its team this year. Paul Stevens is in his 24th season as the Wildcats' head coach. Trevor Stevens is a junior infielder/outfielder who is NU's starting center fielder and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors at shortstop in 2010. Cody Stevens has joined the mix as a freshman infielder this season.
In addition to Trevor Stevens and Cody Stevens, the Northwestern roster features numerous other players whose brothers are or have been Wildcats. Junior Francis Brooke and freshman Henry Brooke are the other pair of brothers currently on the NU roster. Junior Chris Kontos' brother, George, was a standout pitcher for Northwestern from 2004-06 and was a fifth-round draft pick of the New York Yankees. George is currently a member of the Yankees' Triple-A team at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Additionally, Jack Havey's brother, Matt, pitched for the Wildcats from 2006-09.
Youth is Being Served
Northwestern's roster is jam-packed with youth this season. Of the 26 players on the Wildcats' roster, 12 of them are freshmen.
Major League Experience
The Wildcats had the good fortune of playing games at Major League Baseball parks each of the last two seasons and will do so again this year. In 2009, Northwestern took on Minnesota in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, now the former home of the Minnesota Twins. NU also faced off against Notre Dame at U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox) in 2009. A year ago, the Wildcats faced Milwaukee at Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. This year, the 'Cats return to Minneapolis April 15-17 to face Minnesota at Target Field, the second-year home of the Twins.
The Wildcats return to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday as they make the short trip to UIC. NU then travels to Minnesota for Big Ten play next weekend.
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