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Rutgers baseball looks to continue success with series against Penn State

Freshman outfielder Ryan Lasko looks to build on his two home run performance last week as the Rutgers baseball team faces Penn State in a weekend series. – Photo by

After having won its last two series in a row, the Rutgers baseball team will play host to Penn State, a team that is looking to bounce back from its series with Michigan.

The Scarlet Knights (8-6, 8-6) will look to continue their success as they play a three-game series where they will turn to their three starting pitchers: junior Harry Rutkowski and graduate students Ben Wereski and Brent Teller.

Wereski is leading Rutgers and the Big Ten in earned run average (ERA) with an ERA of 1.44 in 25 innings pitched. Teller had a phenomenal start against Purdue going seven innings while getting the win. 

The Knights have slowly seen more defined roles appear out of their bullpen. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Nate McLain has pitched to a 2.25 ERA in two innings while graduate student pitcher Kyle Muller has notched a 1.29 for the season.

In the last series against the Boilermakers (3-11, 3-11), Rutgers struggled while allowing a walk-off three-run home run in game two of the series.

“The message is that you have to get 27 outs to win," said head coach Steve Owens. "You have to keep making pitches and playing defense right to the end. We didn't do either of those in the last inning.”

The bats for the Knights have stayed red hot. Sophomore infielder Chris Brito is a challenge for opposing pitchers with his nine home runs and a .382 batting average.

One player who has been firing on all cylinders has been freshman outfielder Ryan Lasko. In his last series versus Purdue, he had six hits with two home runs over three games. In the series, Lasko bumped his average up to .325 for the year.

The Nittany Lions (4-10, 4-10) need to have their pitching improve from their team-earned ERA of 6.54 as they will face Rutgers, who has clubbed 24 home runs for second in the Big Ten. 

On Friday at 2 p.m., the ball will be handed to the lefty Rutkowski for the Knights, who has been pitching with a 2.84 ERA and 26 strikeouts on the season.

For updates on the Rutgers baseball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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