Penn State Baseball Riding Recent Success Behind Strong Offensive Performances

Over the past two weeks, Penn State baseball’s offense has played a key part in its winning ways. While the pitching side of the game improved especially over the weekend against Northwestern, the offensive side kept the team in nearly every recent game.

Since March 26, the Nittany Lions have scored 69 runs over their last seven contests. On average, that comes to just under 10 runs a game. Any team scoring nearly 10 runs a game is a team that can succeed.

Last weekend, the Nittany Lions traveled west to Champaign to battle the Illinois Fighting Illini, and the game didn’t go the blue and white’s way. Conference games for Penn State are huge, and while you don’t ever want to lose a Big Ten battle, head coach Mike Gambino saw the recent losses as learning moments within the program.

“The idea of becoming a really, really good championship-winning program is don’t let momentum ever affect you,” Gambino said. “We felt like we kind of let one get away against Michigan and felt like we let one get away against Illinois, and it’s a team learning on how to win, how to put people away.”

However, during the team’s most recent series against the Wildcats, Penn State flipped the script. It dropped a massive offensive performance of 35 runs on 42 hits, proving the lineup has what it takes to score.

Starting shortstop Grant Norris, who had three home runs in the series sweep, bats around the sixth or seventh spot in the lineup.

“I just think it’s great to have an offense like that. It really gives you momentum and a lot of confidence when you can see that guys in front of you are piecing the ball up and having good at-bats,” Norris said. “No matter where I am in the lineup, I think top to bottom, we’re very solid.”

Norris and Adam Cecere lead the team in home runs with eight apiece, while sluggers J.T. Marr and Bobby Marsh are first and second in hits with 48 and 35, respectively. Eight different Nittany Lions have 20 or more hits, while five are batting over .300.

While all of those at-bats are important and mean something, recently the Nittany Lions have put together high-caliber at-bats. Whether it’s a hit, a walk, moving runners over, scoring key spots, or even dropping a bunt single, Penn State has turned a corner in the way it’s executing offensive play.

“I thought we put good at-bats together all the way through,” Gambino said. “I thought we played our best baseball. Results are in the results, but we executed situationally better throughout the weekend. I think we put together our most complete weekend.”

Gambino and Co. have come a long way since starting the season nearly two months ago. Since then, it’s been an up-and-down ride, but one thing has remained the same โ€” the team has learned from every game.

The offense is just the starting point. It’s led by a group of players who are experienced and know how to put quality at-bats together. The pitching staff, while it has its struggles, is finding its way and showed great strides during the series against the Wildcats. Gambino has preached that taking games, at-bats, and even pitches one at a time will eventually lead to winning baseball.

“Winning is just continuously doing the small things, play after play, pitch after pitch, at-bat after at-bat, and doing the simple things and doing them really, really well,” Gambino said. “That’s what we’re kind of trying to build off of.”

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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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