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Penn State Baseball’s J.T. Marr’s Hot Offensive Start Proving Critical

While the season has been an up-and-down start for Penn State baseball, there has been one surefire thing through the first 18 games of the year: the team can hit.

Coming into the year, the Nittany Lions’ starting nine was made of a group of older, proven players who could produce a multitude of runs per game.

It started with retaining veterans like Kyle Hannon, Grant Norris, and Bobby Marsh and expanded when Mike Gambino brought in transfers Adam Cecere, Matt Maloney, and Bryce Molinaro.

But through the first third of the season, one particular transfer seems to be making the best impact overall.

J.T. Marr, a catcher and designated hitter for Penn State baseball, previously played for the College of Charleston for two years and Florence-Darlington Technical College.

Marr joined Penn State as a winter transfer, so he didn’t play any fall ball with the team. His first live at-bat came when the team headed south for its matchup in Cary, North Carolina, against Monmouth, but despite not getting to know his teammates until the winter, he fit in right away with the rest of the team.

“None of us even knew who J.T. was in the fall because he wasn’t here,” outfielder Billy Gerlott said. “And this kid showed up on campus, and he’s fit in perfectly. He’s one of us.”

Marr slid right into the three or four spot in the lineup as a dominant lefty bat. In the first seven games of the year, he recorded 15 hits, which comes out to about two hits per game with a .455 batting average heading into March.

As the season rolled on, Marr’s talent continued, bringing his hit total to 25 heading into the home-opener series against UMass Lowell. In the series, Marr racked up eight hits, six runs scored, and three RBIs in three games.

“It feels like every time he swings, it hits the barrel,” Gambino said. “The .470 or whatever it is, it’s awesome. But it’s quality at-bats. It’s big hits. He is not just doing it offensively. He’s backing it up with how he goes about his business every day.”

Marr is recording multi-hit games, grabbing singles in clutch situations, and providing a team with constant run and hit support. He leads the team in average, hits, and total bases. He’s also second in RBIs and fourth in on-base percentage.

The spark he’s provided the offense has been so vital to the Nittany Lions that Gerlott has put him into elite company when it comes to Penn State’s program.

“I’m just gonna be honest. He’s a dog,” Gerlott said. “Matt Wood, obviously he’s phenomenal. Thomas Bramley. Phenomenal. Jay Harry. Phenomenal. You know, all those three guys have something that’s really in common, and that’s their baseball skills, and JT is up there with them.”

While the season is still young and the Nittany Lions are just entering conference play, Marr has already proven to be a home-run pickup in the transfer portal for Gambino’s first season as skipper.

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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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