When Penn State takes to the diamond this weekend, state bragging rights will be at stake.
The Nittany Lions (5-9) travel to the Philadelphia area for a three-game set, which starts Saturday with a doubleheader against Temple (4-9) and is anchored by a Sunday match up against St. Joesph's (6-10).
Assistant coach Eric Folmar said there is an element of pride associated with games between in-state opponents.
“Most of our kids are from Pennsylvania. Most of the kids we're going to play are from Pennsylvania, so there is a pride factor,” Folmar said.
Folmar said he thinks that since the teams have players who are familiar with each other, there is more on the line for them during the upcoming weekend series.
Outfielder Steve Snyder said the Lions always want to beat the in-state schools, but they are not looking at the games any differently because of the opponent.
“It's like any other game,” Snyder said. “We need to win these games early on, so that's what we're going for.”
Infielder Taylor Skerpon said there is a little bit of a rivalry against the Owls and the Hawks for Penn State, but he also said the Lions have to go out there, play their game and let that be the deciding factor.
The Lions have not played either Temple or St. Joe's in their spring season since the 2009 campaign, but more frequent match ups against the Owls and the Hawks may be in store for Penn State's future.
Folmar said any time the Lions can add an in-state rival, it is great.
Temple head coach Ryan Wheeler graduated from Penn State and Folmar said the Lions will start to play Temple every year, which Folmar is excited about.
“They're a school we're going to have in the mix every year, so we're excited about getting that going,” Folmar said. “I know [Wheeler] is excited, obviously being a Penn Stater, to come back up here every year and play.”
Folmar also said he is anxious to play in Merion Station, Pa., against St. Joe's and the Lions would love to add the Hawks to the schedule every year.
“I know that it hasn't worked out the last few years we've tried to schedule a few times,” Folmar said. “But...I know they've got a new park, so they're excited to have us into the new park down there. They're excited about it, we're excited about it, so hopefully we can get something going with them as well.”