Penn State Baseball Pitcher Travis Luensmann’s Recent Success Supporting Struggling Pitching Staff

Penn State baseball is finding its stride. The offensive numbers have been outstanding across the board, and the team is averaging upward of eight to nine runs per game. It has five guys batting over .300 and ranks third in the Big Ten in team average.

While all of that’s great, the pitching side of things for the Nittany Lions has been their Achilles’ heel. The team ERA is 6.64, which puts it at third-worst in the conference. Multiple times this season, Penn State has taken a multiple-run lead only for poor pitching to fail to close out the game.

The one bright side of the team’s pitching has been starter Travis Luensmann. Throughout the season, Luensmann has proven time and time again that he deserves to be the top starter for the Nittany Lions.

After a recent start, head coach Mike Gambino said Luensmann has continued to build momentum as the season has gone on, and he continues to try and stay in as long as possible during starts.

“I’m good with our starting pitchers that want to stay in the game,” Gambino said. “The momentum was building and now he comes off feeling good and mad at me for taking him out, which I’m happy with that.”

Luensmann’s journey with the Nittany Lions has been an up-and-down experience. Since transferring from South Carolina, Luensmann has seen the program go through highs of making the Big Ten Tournament to lows of blowing games last season.

This year, while he’s still allowing runs, Luensmann’s been huge in giving Penn State tons of innings of work whenever he’s out on the mound. Through his nine starts, the right-hander has gone five innings or more six times.

He’s pitched innings the Nittany Lions need and allowed the bullpen to save its arms for later in the series. Catcher J.T. Marr praised Luensmann for dominating whenever his name is called for a start.

“Travis has been holding it down and he’s going to continue to do so throughout the season,” Marr said.

Luensmann’s biggest issue in the past has been falling apart after making mistakes. He would go the first two innings of a start and dominate, then walk two batters that would turn into four runs scored, and then it would continue to get worse.

However, this season, he’s prevented that. His walks are still a bit of an issue, but he’s only allowed 30 hits this season, which puts him on pace to finish with a career-low during his time in Happy Valley. He only has 36 strikeouts this season, but his recent performance at Indiana, in which he struck out a season-high eight batters, has given him momentum as Big Ten play continues.

The right-hander has stated that he hasn’t adjusted much of his game. Luensmann continues to take each start and one pitch at a time.

“The biggest thing for me is just limiting the walks limiting the free passes. Just keep showing up every Friday and just battling with what I got and try and make adjustments in the game,” Luensmann said. “Being able to limit things to one pitch at a time. Slowing things down, executing the pitch, executing the plan, and still being yourself out there.”

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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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