ELON, N.C. – After fall workouts and preseason practices, the Elon University baseball team will begin its 2018 campaign by playing host to the Penn State Nittany Lions in a three-game series at Latham Park this weekend. The series is scheduled to begin with a 4 p.m. tilt on Friday, Feb. 16. The Phoenix and Nittany Lions will then get together again on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at elonphoenix.com or by calling 336-278-6750.
Elon: So. RH George Kirby (1-3, 4.84)
Penn State: Jr. RH Justin Hagenman (1-11, 5.49)
Elon: So. RH Kyle Brnovich (6-5, 3.10)
Penn State: Sr. LH Taylor Lehman (0-3, 8.16)
Elon: So. LH Owen Lorenz (0-3, 9.59)
Penn State: RFr. LH Dante Biasi (–)
Elon and Penn State have met four times, the first an 8-2 Elon victory in 1928. The two programs got together for a three-game series at Latham Park to open the 2015 season, with the Phoenix earning a sweep. Elon won those games by scores of 16-15, 7-2 and 11-6.
ABOUT PENN STATE
In 2017, Penn State compiled an overall record of 18-37 and went 4-20 in Big Ten action. The Nittany Lions hit just .234 on the year, scoring 219 runs. The team hit 27 home runs and added 69 doubles and 10 triples. Braxton Giavedoni is the program’s leading returning hitter. He hit .287 with 30 runs scored, 10 doubles, two triples, three homers and 18 RBI in his rookie season.
On the mound, the Nittany Lions posted a 5.96 ERA and opponents hit .274. The staff recorded 434 strikeouts over 475.1 innings of work. This year’s opening day starter Justin Hagenman logged a team-high 80.1 innings last year, going 1-11 with a 5.49 ERA over 14 starts. He struck out 75 hitters.
HEAD COACH MIKE KENNEDY
Now in his 22nd season as the head coach at his alma mater, Mike Kennedy (’91) is the winningest coach in program history. He has compiled a career record of 678-524-3 (.564) and has led his program to five regular season titles, three conference tournament championships and seven NCAA postseason appearances.
In its fourth season in the CAA, the league’s coaches selected the Phoenix to finish in a tie for fifth in the preseason poll. Junior shortstop Ryne Ogren and sophomore pitcher Kyle Brnovichwere both named to the Preseason All-CAA Team, while senior catcher Hayden Platt was an honorable mention honoree.
1. UNCW (6)
2. Delaware (3)
T5. William & Mary
7. James Madison
In its 114 baseball seasons, Elon has gone 66-47 (with one unknown result) in season openers. Under Mike Kennedy, the maroon and gold has gone 13-8 in its first game of the season.
Under skipper Mike Kennedy, Elon has posted a record of 15-6 in home openers folowing a 10-5 win over Longwood to open the 2017 campaign.
CLOSING IT OUT
Since 2007, Elon has been very good at closing out games. The Phoenix has gone a combined 292-24 when leading after seven innings and 315-18 when holding a lead following the eighth inning.
Elon will continue its nine-game homestand with a pair of midweek games. On Tuesday, Feb. 20, Radford comes to town. A day later, Kansas State will visit Latham Park. Both games are scheduled for 4 p.m. starts.