Penn State will begin the 2017 baseball season this weekend with quite an opening test.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Forth Worth, Texas, to take on TCU, which is ranked No. 1 in the country by Baseball America. TCU went 49-18 last year and reached the College World Series.
The Horned Frogs return eight starters from last season and boast a pitching staff that will include freshman Nick Lodolo, the highest-drafted high school player (No. 41 by the Pittsburgh Pirates) to choose college over signing a pro contract after the 2016 MLB draft.
TCU’s offense is paced by hulking sophomore slugger Luken Baker, who hit .379 with 11 home runs, 62 RBIs and a 1.060 OPS in 67 games as a freshman. Baker looks more like a defensive end than a designated hitter/pitcher, but he was a two-way star for the Horned Frogs last season.
Penn State went 28-27 last season, 12-12 in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions missed out on the Big Ten tournament by one game. They lost two of three games in the final series of the season against Iowa, which allowed the Hawkeyes to claim the eighth seed.
The Nittany Lions haven’t reached the eight-team conference tournament since 2012, but their 28 wins in 2016 were the most since that tourney season.
Penn State hasn’t defeated the No. 1 team in the nation since March 3, 2007, when the Nittany Lions knocked off North Carolina.
Penn State baseball at TCU game times
Date: Feb. 16-18, 2017
Time: Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.
Location: Lupton Stadium, Forth Worth, Texas
Series: TCU leads the series 3-0 after sweeping three games at Penn State last year.
How can I watch Penn State baseball vs. TCU?
How can I listen to Penn State baseball vs. TCU?
There is no local radio for the games, but they will be broadcast on 88.7-FM in Forth Worth. That station is available on the TuneIn app.
Penn State baseball vs. TCU probable pitching matchups
Friday: Sal Biasi (5-5, 3.90 ERA for Penn State in 2016) vs. Jared Janczak (7-4, 2.61)
Saturday: Taylor Lehman (2-9, 4.79) vs. Brian Howard (10-2, 3.19)
Sunday: Justin Hagenman (6-3, 3.50) vs. Nick Lodolo (n/a)