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Penn State Baseball Continues Offensive Success With Conference Play On The Horizon

After a weekend sweep over Georgetown, Penn State improved to an 11-5 record on the year with a matchup against Binghamton coming up this Tuesday, March 21.

The Nittany Lions are showing signs of what it takes to be a contender in the Big Ten this season, and it’s in large part due to their impressive offensive numbers to start the season.

Overall, it has been a disappointing last few regular seasons for Nittany Lions, but the end of last season, which featured the team’s first Big Ten Tournament win since 2008, gave the team and fans some optimism heading into this season.

This season, the Nittany Lions have proved they are a force to be reckoned with offensively. After the series finale against Georgetown, head coach Rob Cooper explained that his players continue to provide quality at-bats throughout the entire game.

“We’re competing one through nine, whoever’s in the lineup, and we’re not giving away at-bats,” he said. We have a lot of three and four-year guys that have been through it and understand the game.”

The team is a makeup of players of all different years, with the big offensive numbers coming this year from junior infielders Kyle Hannon and Jay Harry, as well as transfer catcher Thomas Bramley.

Harry has had a great start to 2023, leading the team in hits and RBIs with 21 and 16, respectively. He said that he and the entire team are just trying to do as much as they can to turn this program into a winner.

“I’m trying to get guys in when I can, and I’m not trying to swing anything out of the zone,” Harry said. We’re very unselfish players, and we’re having very unselfish at-bats.”

As a team, the Nittany Lions have scored 115 runs on 165 hits. While the home run hasn’t been one of their main sources of run-producing, they have still hit 19 homers, with Hannon leading the team with four. The Big Ten is no joke, though, as many teams have either similar or better offensive numbers. A big reason that Penn State stands out in the conference is the production it is getting from its entire lineup.

Top to bottom, everyone is doing their job, whether it’s a sacrifice bunt to set up runners or a clutch home run to win in a walk-off. Players such as Ben Kailher have come up huge in recent games doing whatever they can to help the team win. Cooper spoke postgame about how doing the little things has been one of the keys to success.

We have a guy like Benny Kailher, who’s hitting ninth, and he chips away and he fights [during at-bats] and does all different things,” Cooper said. “It’s a tough lineup to get through and it’s tough because they won’t give in.”

Another reason for the year’s successful start is the newfound energy in the dugout, which was something that Cooper alluded to as why he is so proud of this team.

“The energy in the clubhouse is good, and that’s not easy,” Cooper said. “You have guys like Derrick Cease, CJ Pittaro, and Tyson Cooper, who all played a lot last year. I don’t want them to be excited that they’re not playing or anything like that, but I’m just really proud of our team. And it’s the respect they have for their teammates, and to have that kind of attitude is huge.”

While they haven’t played any Big Ten opponents yet, the Nittany Lions have been tested throughout the first month of the season, facing top opponents in Miami and North Carolina and even the weekend sweep of Georgetown, which came into the series 11-6. That will only help them as they prepare for conference play for the majority of the rest of the season.

Penn State is back in action vs Binghamton at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a senior 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 Community or The Office. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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