For the second consecutive game in as many days, an abundance of snow and frigid weather will keep Penn State off the diamond.
The Nittany Lions’ (5-11) home opener against Akron, scheduled for Wednesday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, was canceled.
Just days before, the Lions’ trip to Pittsburgh was also called off because of the influx of snow in Pennsylvania.
Penn State pitching coach Jason Bell said it was a no-brainer to cancel the game, and even if the snow could be cleared, the diamond wouldn’t be in playing condition.
“It’s pretty covered in snow,” Bell said about the Lions’ home field. “…We’re going to try and get the tarp off the infield. But even if we could get the snow off the playing field the conditions would still be pretty bad, and you don’t want to risk an injury for either squad.”
With the cancellation, the Lions will now wait until March 27 — 19 games into a 53-game season — to play in front of a home crowd. In the past 10 days, the team has played just two games.
Bell said that even though the pitching rotation is set to open Big Ten play this weekend at Indiana, the canceled games caused issues to weekly preparations and routines.
“The one thing we do have to do now is scrimmage,” Bell said. “[The pitchers] also have to face live hitters in the cages. Stuff that you’re used to doing in January and February, not so much this time of year when you’re playing [so much]. It makes things difficult.”
But the pitching coach made note that the hitters probably have the least to gain from these cancellations.
Bell said the team — which is batting .258 on the season — created rhythm at the plate over spring break, only to have that broken up by long gaps without games.
“We just got off the spring trip [where] guys had eight games so you figure roughly four at-bats [per game]. That’s 32 at-bats over that week and they were feeling good,” Bell said. “…It does really mess with timing and rhythm. Baseball is a game of reps.”