The strength of Penn State’s starting pitching was evident in its home opener against Georgetown.
Senior Daniel Ouderkirk and junior Travis Luensmann combined for a dominant performance against the Hoyas.
Originally, Luensmann was scheduled to start, but due to a weather cancellation from the first game of the series, Ouderkirk got the start with Luensmann following him up from the bullpen.
“It definitely is a change of preparation and mindset in terms of watching the game, but also getting yourself fully prepared,” Luensmann said.
Going into the day, Ouderkirk had pitched 19.2 innings with an ERA of 3.20 and Luensmann had pitched 19.1 innings with an ERA of 3.26.
Ouderkirk had a solid start on the mound for the Nittany Lions, pitching four innings and only allowing one run while racking up six strikeouts.
Ouderkirk has been a strikeout machine for the Nittany Lions so far this season and has a team-leading 45 total strikeouts so far this season, which also leads the Big Ten.
Senior Travis Leunsmann came in for Ouderkirk in the fourth inning after Ouderkirk allowed two leadoff singles for the Hoyas off the bats of junior Jake Hyde and graduate senior Ubaldo Lopez.
Luensmann hit the first batter that he faced, but he was able to make up for it and pulled off a relatively rare 1-2-3 double-play to get two outs.
Luensmann finished the game for the Nittany Lions in another solid performance where he finished without allowing a single run to score for the Hoyas.
The Nittany Lions only allowed a single run through nine innings of work from Ouderkirk and Luensmann.
Senior Daniel Ouderkirk transferred to Penn State this season from West Virginia and junior Travis Luensmann, from Altoona, Pennsylvania, transferred to Penn State from South Carolina
They thoroughly outdueled the Georgetown pitching staff which allowed 10 hits, six runs, and four walks in the game.
The only real trouble that Luensmann and Ouderkirk had was with walking too many hitters. They allowed a total of nine walks throughout the game and Luensmann hit a batter.
Ouderkirk has had trouble with control throughout the season, racking up his pitch count. He threw 83 pitches through just four innings for the Nittany Lions in the series-opener against the Hoyas.
Despite control issues for Ouderkirk, hitters are only batting .189 against him so far this season and he has been a consistent starter for head coach Rob Cooper’s pitching staff this year.
Luensmann did not allow a single hit through 4.2 innings of work. His first allowed hit came off the bat of Lopez on a two-strike line drive through the gap between shortstop and third base.
This late hit for Lopez had little to no effect on the Hoyas’ performance for the day at the plate. It was too little too late.
Travis Leunsmann picked up his fourth win of the season for the Nittany Lions and improved his record to a stellar 4-0 for the season. He has risen up to be arguably Rob Cooper’s best starter.
Penn State’s first two home games scheduled against Navy on March 15 and Georgetown on March 17 had to be canceled due to bad weather, so the Nittany Lions were anxious to finally be able to get in their first home game of the year.
“Their coach was certainly anxious to get games going at home, I know that. I think our guys are just ready to play. Not being able to play two games at home hurts, but we got to play today and now we get to come back and play tomorrow,” coach Rob Cooper said.
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