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Penn State Baseball Aiming To Build On Recent Success In 2023

The 2022 season was a good one for Penn State baseball.

After making their first Big Ten Tournament appearance since 2012 and defeating Iowa in the first round, the Nittany Lions are trying to make a run for a Big Ten Championship.

Back for his 10th season, head coach Rob Cooper is aiming for improvement in 2023 after making the Big Ten Tournament for the first time during his tenure.

Penn State is losing a few key players this year with pitchers Tyler Shingledecker and Mason Mellott graduating and former first-team All-Big Ten catcher Matt Wood being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers. Wood, who led Penn State in nearly every major hitting statistic, will be the biggest loss this season.

Returning for the Nittany Lions this season are 28 members from the 2022 team and 11 new faces in the form of transfers and freshmen. Leading the squad on the offensive side of the ball are junior Jay Harry and redshirt senior Josh Spiegel.

Last season, Harry batted .333 with 71 hits, both of which ranked second on the team. Shortstop will once again be the spot for Harry as it was for 54 of the 55 games in 2022. Spiegel, who split time at catcher, first base, and designated hitter last season, will most likely do the same this year. A .300 hitter, Spiegel was second on the team in home runs and RBIs with 10 and 43, respectively. Both players’ bats will be a huge part of the success of the team’s offense throughout the season.

Other returning bats come in the form of junior Billy Gerlott and sophomore Anthony Steele. Gerlott made a big impact in his first season starting, hitting .237 with six home runs, 45 hits, and 33 RBIs. A big year from Gerlott would be huge for Penn State to help increase its offense from the prior season.

Steele will fill in as the starting first basemen this season when Spiegel is behind the plate. In 38 games during his true freshman season, Steele totaled 23 hits and batted .237. This will be a big year for Steele to take a leap and be integral to the success of the Nittany Lions.

Right-handed juniors Travis Luensmann and Jaden Henline will likely lead the pitching staff. Luensmann and Henline led the team in innings pitched last year and finished first and fourth in strikeouts with 78 and 56, respectively. This season should see them stay on a staff that set a program record with 503 strikeouts in a single season last year.

Other pitchers who are returning are senior left-hander Jordan Morales and sophomore right-hander Tommy Molsky. Morales had a great season, mainly in a relief role, with a 3.64 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. Totaling 47 strikeouts, Molsky was used as a midweek game starter for the majority of the season but could move into a weekend starters role if his play improves.

Penn State will begin its season with a three-game series against the Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables, Florida. The first game of the series will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 17.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of "The Office" or "Friends." To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected]

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