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Offensive Difference-Maker Jay Harry Helping Penn State Baseball Get Back On Track

Sitting at a 13-8 record this season, Penn State baseball is gearing up to make some serious noise in the Big Ten. Its offensive numbers have been off the charts, and when the Nittany Lions are having competitive at-bats and solid pitching, they have serious potential to do damage against impending opponents.

The team put up 16 runs against the Pitt Panthers Tuesday in one of its most impressive offensive performances of the season. The team bounced back in a big way after getting swept by Michigan this past weekend.

Head coach Rob Cooper mentioned that even when his pitchers are giving up a lot of runs, if his players are smart at the plate, they can be in any game.

“Good teams have to find ways to win,” Cooper said. “We’re doing a good job of, seeing the ball well, and trying to try to have quality at-bats rather than outcome at-bats.”

Junior shortstop Jay Harry started his year on a high note and contributed three runs scored and an RBI in Tuesday’s 16-8 matchup against Pitt. Harry’s start to the 2023 season has been red hot, and in large part due to his play, the Nittany Lions are five games over .500 this season.

He’s currently batting .310 with four home runs, 27 hits, and 19 RBIs. On top of that, he has 48 total bases and an on-base percentage of .390.

The junior is the leader or tied for the team lead in hits, RBIs, doubles, triples, total bases, and slugging percentage. He’s also second in average, runs, home runs, and third in OPS.

Cooper talked after Tuesday’s win about Harry’s ability to be a difference-maker on the diamond.

“He’s such a good player. He really is,” Cooper said. “He doesn’t get too high and doesn’t get too low whenever he’s taking ground balls, whenever we’re practicing. In the game, it’s just like, ‘What do I have to do? What can I do to help us win?'”

While being top three in nearly every major offensive category for the Nittany Lions, Harry remains unselfish during his at-bats and produces whatever and whenever he can.

When asked about his hot start to 2023, the junior talked about how the entire team’s offensive success continues to help his own game improve.

“I’m trying to advance guys and bring guys in whenever I can. I’m not trying to swing anything out of the zone. [I] do everything I can to help the team win,” Harry said. “We’re very unselfish players, and we’re having very unselfish at-bats, and we just do what we can to score runs and get on base.”

It doesn’t matter if it’s a practice or a game at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Harry constantly brings 110% and does everything he can at the plate and makes highlight plays at shortstop.

If Harry continues to produce game-changing plays and offensive numbers, this Nittany Lions squad could be a force to be reckoned with when conference play picks up steam.

Harry and the Nittany Lions will host their first Big Ten series beginning on Friday, March 31, when they take on Indiana 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 taking down any Dollar Dog challenge or rewatching the Big Ten Maps Commercial. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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