PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Will Burger’s Blue Collar Attitude Is Just What The Nittany Lions Need On The Diamond

Baseball fans rejoice, your Nittany Lions will take the field in just a little more than a month when they head to Texas to take on TCU February 17th at 7:30p.m. The Diamond Lions are coming off a season that saw them finish 28-27 and go 12-12 in conference. The pressure is on in Rob Cooper’s fourth season, but luckily for him he’s got a young star to ride behind in such an important season.

One of the main reasons the Lions were able to enjoy scattered success in 2016 season was the stellar play of freshman infielder Willie Burger — specifically at the plate and in the field. Burger is listed as in infielder but he’s also seen time at catcher to go along with his experience at third and first base. Coming out of high school, Burger was named a Perfect Game All-American in 2014 and was ranked one of the top-100 players in the country (No. 72) and the No. 4 player to come out of Pennsylvania. The Lancaster native is looking to build off an impressive rookie campaign where he was one of the most lethal bats in Penn State’s lineup. Burger also earned a slew of Big Ten honors last season — the young star was crowned both Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week in late March.

A lingering rib injury held the freshman to just 39 games last year, but when he was in the lineup he made his presence felt. Burger batted a respectable .250 in his 140 at-bats while slugging a .336 and added 34 RBIs which ranked second on the team. His ability to adjust to pitchers throughout the season is a testament to Burger’s resiliency and perspective of the game of baseball.

While the 6-foot, 200 lb slugger was able to find a home in the lineup with the Lions last spring due to his success at the plate, he was also able to flash the leather for the lions in the field. As many fans know, good defense is imperative to success in all sports, but especially in baseball. The old adage “defense wins championships while offense looks pretty” is especially true on the diamond, and Burger has been nothing short of impressive with the glove. In his first season with the Lions he was able to post an impressive .965 fielding percentage while adding 28 assists.

Though he was just a freshman last season, Willie Burger’s defining moment as a Nittany Lion may have already happened. While Burger was still recovering from his rib injury in late March last season, Rob Cooper called upon his rookie slugger to try and extend the Lions lead against Illinois in the top of the 9th inning.

Many players struggle when called upon to pinch hit, but Burger was able to fight through his injury and put a 2-2 fastball down in the zone in the left-centerfield gap that cleared the bases for the Lions and extended their lead to 5-1. The Lions held on the emerge victorious 5-3 and Burgers pinch-hit, bases clearing double proved to be the deciding factor.

With Rob Cooper preaching that the Lions must come to work with a blue collar attitude, Burger’s grit is just what this Nittany Lions baseball team needs to improve off their first winning season since 2012.

About the Author

Chris Weigl

Chris is a junior here at Penn State studying Broadcast Journalism. The Long Island native enjoys all things Penn State and anything New York sports. If you're looking to argue whether Eli Manning is an elite QB or not, then he is your man. Also, he is an avid Alex Rodriguez enthusiast. If you're looking to slide in the DMs you can find him on Twitter @CWeigs


More by Chris

Penn State Baseball Takes Series Against Pacific And Sacramento State During Spring Break

The Nittany Lions will return to Happy Valley with some confidence this week after a successful trip to California — finishing with a record of 4-3 with a pair of wins against Sacramento State and Pacific.

Garret Sickels Displays His Talents At The NFL Scouting Combine

Penn State Baseball Splits Weekend Series With Xavier


Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions won’t play a single home match in September, electing to test themselves against teams like Stanford and Oregon early in the season.

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Penn State Hockey Commit Evan Bell Wins Clark Cup With USHL’s Fargo Force

Center Ludvig Larsson Transfers To Penn State Hockey From Merrimack

Student Life

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Predicting Penn State’s 2018 Kickoff Times

As the Nittany Lions have ascended back into college football’s elite, they’ve taken the field at night more often in the past few years and avoided the dreaded early kickoff.

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Penn State Career Services will launch Nittany Lion Careers on June 18.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend