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Penn State Baseball Pitchers Struggling To Find Success As Big Ten Play Commences

To start the season, Penn State baseball seemed to have no issues when it came to the pitching staff. However, after seven games at home, while at times it shows strides, more often than not, it falls on the pitching staff that Penn State is 3-4 at home.

Twenty-one games into the season, the Nittany Lions’ pitching staff is at a point where adjustments need to be made quickly. This past weekend, in a series against Michigan, Penn State let up 23 runs in three games. In their past seven games, they’ve let up 59 runs, which comes to 8.4 runs per game.

It wasn’t an optimistic series for the Nittany Lions, who showed poor defense throughout and suffered from bad plate appearances, but the big factor overall to losses suffered this weekend has to be pointed in the direction of the pitching staff.

Head coach Mike Gambino was disgruntled over the play of his team from this past series and noted his pitching staff was unable to find the zone for the majority of the series.

“So I’m not happy with how we played, even after the win on Friday night I wasn’t happy with how we played,” Gambino said. “I felt like we got to do a better job. We didn’t execute the pitches in the right spot.”

The staff is led by seniors Travis Luensmann and Jaden Henline, who, at times, have struggled but show signs of great play. Taking out a 0.2-inning start against Davidson, Luensmann has gone four games this season in which he threw five innings or more. In his last three starts, he’s stuck out a combined 17 innings and only allowed three total runs. While the walks are occurring more, he’s still finding ways to eat innings for a team that needs it.

Henline, on the other hand, has had a rough first two home starts, giving up nine runs over 0.2 innings against UMass Lowell and five total runs in four innings against Michigan.

Outside of the two starters, the third is transfer Frankie Sanchez who is rehabbing a “tightness.” Until he’s back to throwing five innings or more, the rest of the staff needs to step up.

“We’re hitting a spot but we’re not executing. We’re going away from what we’re doing,” Gambino said. “We just kind of went away from our focus a little bit when things didn’t go well and so doubling down when things don’t go well. We just kind of have to get back to back to basics a little bit.”

Anthony Steele and Connor Throneberry are returners from the previous season, and while they’ve been good, the inconsistency is concerning. Gambino has relied on many of his freshman arms — Mason Butash, Matt Morash, Mason Horwat, and Will Perkowsi — and their inexperience has shown at times, causing long innings to occur.

“We got a great pitching staff. We got a great pitching coach, and they’re going to continue to get better,” catcher J.T. Marr said. “At the end of the day, we’re all a team, and we’re going to continue to improve towards the back end of the year.”

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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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