(UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.) -- The Penn State baseball team hosts Minnesota in a critical three-game set this weekend as they play in their final home series.
After finishing last in the Big Ten last season and a losing season in 2009, the Nittany Lions are currently tied for sixth in the conference standings. With the top six teams making it into the Big Ten tournament, this weekend's series is crucial for their first postseason appearance since 2008.
"It's huge. The next two weekends are massive for us. We really need to win them all just to go in comfortably into the tournament, but they're absolutely important. Last week, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot and didn't give ourselves a lot to work with, but we definitely need to keep winning...winning baseball games because we can't keep doing what we've been doing," says starting pitcher Steven Hill.
Jordan Steranka leads the team with 54 RBI and is second in several other offensive categories.
"I think our lineup offensively is great. We just have to have strong pitching and good defense. The pitching staff has been doing a great job so far. The defense has been a little shaky, but we're going to clean that up a little bit and I think we should be all right," Steranka says.
State College native, senior Mike Pierce, hopes to make it back to the Big Ten tournament, but for now, he reflects on playing in his final home series for the team for which he grew up rooting.
"I'm not sure when it's going to hit me, but it will probably be a little bit emotional. It's just going to be a happy emotional more than anything -- just kind of looking back on how blessed and lucky I've been to have this opportunity more than anything else," says Pierce.
Pierce, along with six other seniors, will be honored on Senior Day before the noon game on Sunday.