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Penn State Baseball: Starting Slow, but Bouncing Back

The Nittany Lions are slowly rounding into form to start 2023.



Penn State Baseball
A baseball sits in the grass between pitches during the Gateway Conference baseball championship between Sandalwood and Fletcher on April 22, 2022. [Clayton Freeman/Florida Times-Union] 042222 Gatewaybaseball Stock

It may not be officially spring, but it’s officially Penn State baseball season here at Basic Blues Nation.

The 2023 season started Friday, March 17th, in Coral Gables, Florida, against the 22nd-ranked Hurricanes of the University of Miami.  Hope was riding high for the Lions, who made the Big Ten Tournament last year and even recorded a win against a superior Iowa squad before dropping a game against Rutgers and taking another loss against Iowa the day after, eliminating them from the tournament.

Up to now, the Lions have attained a 4-2 record, even recording an impressive upset win to start the season at Miami (more about that soon). Other than that, the rest of the games up to this point have been representative of a slow start and a slow bounce back for coach Rob Cooper’s squad.  

Strong Season Opener: Penn State 9, No. 22 Miami 5

The season opener started hot for Penn State baseball. With the bases loaded in the top of the second inning, junior shortstop Jay Harry(who tied a Big Ten record with six hits in a game against Michigan State last year) hit a double, which scored all three baserunners and brought him to scoring position. He would then be batted in by grad transfer and designated hitter Thomas Branley(Mount St. Mary’s) to put the Nittany Lions up 4-0.

No action would occur again until the top of the 3rd inning, where junior second baseman Kyle Hannon hit a solo home run. The first home run for the Nittany Lions as a team to increase the lead to 5-0 PSU. Miami would get on the board in the bottom half of the inning, where shortstop Dominic Pitelli hit a solo home run to make the score 5-1 PSU.

The next score would occur in the fifth inning, where Penn State senior left fielder Tayven Kelly would hit yet another solo home run for Penn State to make it 6-1. Miami right fielder Zach Levenson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to add another run for Miami and make it 6-2 Nittany Lions.  

The eighth inning saw the Lions adding three runs, with Hannon (who homered in the third inning) reaching on a fielder’s choice, advancing to second base on the throw, and eventually scoring. Right fielder Billy Gerlott advanced to second base from a throwing error by the Miami pitcher, eventually advancing to third base. Bramley, who was already on base, advanced to third base on the same throw and scored to put up the Lions 7-2.  

Senior Johnny Piacentino then singled, scoring Gerlott and bringing Hannon to third base (8-2 PSU). A passed ball by the Miami catcher proceeded to score Hannon and bring Piancentino to second base, making it 9-2 Penn State.  

In the Miami half of the same inning, Hurricanes third baseman Yohandy Morales doubled, scoring first baseman CJ Kayfus.  Designated hitter Ian Farrow then hit a two-run home run, bringing the eventual final score to 9-5.     

Starter Travis Luensmann had four strikeouts in five innings while giving up one earned run, and reliever Jordan Morales gave up four earned runs. The pitching staff combined for nine strikeouts.

Game 2: No. 22 Miami 10, Penn State 2

In what was a significant breakdown of the Penn State pitching staff and a bright spot for the Hurricanes pitching staff, the Nittany Lions picked up their first loss of the season.  Left fielder for Miami Edgardo Villegas was the catalyst for the early start for Miami, contributing a home run, double, and score to put Miami up 5-0.  There was also a Miami home run in the fifth inning that put Penn State six runs down.  However, Kyle Hannon singled in the seventh inning and scored DH Josh Spiegel to put Penn State on the Board, 6-1.  Another home run (this time of the two-run variety) from Miami followed in the bottom half of the inning, increasing their lead to 8-1.  Jay Harry of Penn State would then single in the eighth inning, scoring pinch hitter Bobby Marsh and contributing to the last PSU run of the game.

The final score ended up being 10-2 Miami, with starter Daniel Oudekirk taking the loss (and giving up three unearned runs along with four total runs) and the bullpen giving up six earned runs.

Game 3: No. 22 Miami 3, Penn State 2

This game was a heartbreaker for the Nittany Lions, who would lose on a walk-off home run.

DH Thomas Branley scored on a wild pitch to put the Lions up 1-0.  A single from Tayven Kelley scored Piancentino to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.  

Miami would then start scoring.  Ian Farrow scored on an unearned opportunity, getting the Hurricanes on the board, 2-1.  Not much would occur for them again until the bottom of the ninth inning, where first baseman CJ Kayfus hit a walk-off two-run homer off of Penn State reliever Steven Miller, handing both him and Penn State the loss in heartbreaking fashion.  This loss also brought the Lions under .500, to 1-2 for the season.

Game 4:  Penn State 7, NIU 3

Penn State baseball went back into the win column with this game, traveling to the Team USA ballpark for the weekend in Cary, North Carolina.

In the first inning, Penn State got on the board with a groundout from Billy Gerlott that scored Thomas Bramley.

Then with hits in the second inning from Bramley (single) scoring third baseman Grant Norris and a double from Billy Gerlott scoring Bramley and Harry, PSU went up 4-0.  

NIU scored a run in the top of the fourth inning from an RBI single, making the score 4-1.  Penn State scored once again in the bottom half of this inning from Kyle Hannon reaching on a throwing error from the NIU shortstop, allowing Bramley and Harry to score.  

PSU continued tacking on runs in the seventh inning, with first baseman Anthony Steele singling, allowing Billy Gerlott to score.  A foul out from Grant Norris allowed Piacentino to score, making the score 7-1 PSU.

NIU scored two more runs to get the final score to 7-3 PSU.

Starter Travis Luensmann once again had a great start, this time only allowing one earned run and picking up the win.  Penn State also broke even with their record, becoming 2-2 with this win.

Game 5:  Penn State 5, NIU 1

Penn State once again won in the second game of their doubleheader against NIU.

NIU got on the board first with an RBI single, getting the score to 1-0 NIU.

Penn State would not score until the fifth inning, when Thomas Bramley singled, scoring Anthony Steele.

Kyle Hannon singled in the sixth inning, scoring Johnny Piacentino.  Grant Norris then singled, scoring Hannon.

In the eighth inning, Norris hit a two-run home run, scoring Kyle Hannon and getting the final score to 5-1 PSU.

Starter Daniel Ouderkirk bounced back from his previous start, posting an impressive eleven strikeouts, allowing a single unearned run, and picking up the win.  

A game was scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 25th, against Maine and was subsequently canceled due to rain.

Game 6: Penn State 11, Monmouth 3

Penn State picked up their third straight win in a dominant outing against Monmouth Sunday morning.  

However, the game did not start off in favor of the Nittany Lions.  Monmouth would strike first in the second inning, scoring from an RBI double and a wild pitch to make the score 2-0 Monmouth.

Penn State’s scoring would start in the bottom half of the second inning, where outfielder Tayven Kelley hit an RBI single to score Kyle Hannon and put Penn State on the board, 2-1 Monmouth.

Most of the Lions’ scoring came in the third inning, where a single to start things off from Billy Gerlott scored Jay Harry and tied the ballgame, 2-2.  Tayven Kelley then, with the bases loaded as a result of the previous at-bats, was able to walk in Josh Spiegel for another Penn State run, giving them the lead in the process with a score of 3-2 Nittany Lions.  Grant Norris then hit a single to score two of the baserunners, which put Penn State up 5-2.  

Anthony Steele would then proceed to bat a bases-clearing single to center field, scoring Norris and Kelley.  Most impressive after this was probably shortstop Jay Harry’s triple, which came off of a full count and scored Steele to make the score 8-2 Lions.  

Monmouth would then add a run via a home run to make it 8-3.

Anthony Steele singled in the fifth inning to score Kelley and tack on yet another run for PSU.  Thomas Branley hit the first home run for PSU in the sixth inning, making the score 10-3.  Steele would finally double to right field in the seventh, scoring Norris and giving Penn State the win with a final score of 11-3.

Junior pitcher Jaden Henline, who came in in the third inning to replace sophomore Tommy Molsky, picked up his first win of the season after pitching six innings and only allowing a single unearned run.

What’s Upcoming for Penn State Baseball?

The Nittany Lions stay in Cary and play Wagner next on March 4th at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.  

Make sure to stay locked into Basic Blues Nation for coverage of Penn State baseball throughout the whole season.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics.

For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Managing Editor at It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!


PSU Hockey NCAA Tournament Preview: Michigan Tech

The Nittany Lions are vying for their first Frozen Four berth in program history.



Penn State Hockey, NCAA Tournament
Mar 14, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre DameÕs Dylan St. Cyr (1) reacts after being scored on by Penn State at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK

State College, PA — Basketball isn’t the only sport with March Madness. Penn State hockey is dancing! For the first time since 2018 and the third time in program history, the Nittany Lions (21-15-1, 10-13-1 B1G) have qualified for the NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament. Penn State earned a No. 2 seed in the recent bracket selections, the highest in school history. 

The Nittany Lions’ previous trips to the NCAA tournament in 2017 and 2018 ended at the hands of Denver University. The good news for Penn State is that it finally avoided the Pioneers in its region. 

The bad news is that the Lions still got a tough draw. They will open the tournament against the Michigan Tech Huskies at 5:00 p.m. on Friday at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA

Michigan Tech University Snapshot

Name: Michigan Technological University

Location: Houghton, MI

Enrollment: 7,009

Acceptance Rate: 86%

Conference: Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA)

Men’s Hockey National Titles: 3 (1962, 1965, 1972)

Mascot: Blizzard T. Husky

About the Huskies

If you don’t follow college hockey regularly, you probably haven’t heard of Michigan Tech. A small school tucked away in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan, hockey is their only Division I sport. The rest of its athletic programs compete at the Division II level. 

Michigan Tech’s hockey team has had considerable success, claiming three national titles, numerous conference championships, and NCAA tournament appearances. The team appeared in last year’s tournament and bowed out to Minnesota Duluth in the first round. 

Led by CCHA Coach of the Year Joe Shawhan, the Huskies (24-10-4, 15-7-4 CCHA) are a team built on the back of its netminder. Michigan Tech’s goaltender Blake Pietila may be the best in the country. He was named a finalist for the Richter Award, given to the best goaltender in the country. He was also named the CCHA Player of the Year. His play has been so strong that he is even a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s Heisman. This season, he posted a 0.929 save percentage, allowing just 1.98 goals per game. He leads the nation with 10 shutouts this season. 

Michigan Tech can also light the lamp on the other end. The Huskies offensive attack is led by CCHA Rookie of the Year Kyle Kukkonen, who scored 18 goals this season. He is complimented by All-CCHA First Team forward Ryland Mosley, who has 31 points this year. 

The Huskies have some impressive wins this year. They swept Alaska on the road and picked up a win over a very good Boston University team. This is a particularly poor draw for Penn State hockey, given the Nittany Lion’s style of play. Michigan Tech is built similarly to a typical Notre Dame team that Penn State is used to facing. They have elite goaltending and a first line with talented scorers. 

Will Penn State Hockey Advance in the NCAA Tournament?

Penn State hockey has an advantage in this one, given that they are playing just about 150 miles from campus in Allentown, PA. Not far from Philadelphia, the area has a large alumni base. There should be a large crowd on hand for Friday evening’s showdown. 

However, the crowd only goes so far. Michigan Tech has shown they can handle challenging road environments, going 12-5-1 away from home this season. 

Penn State’s recent run of play has been mediocre at best, going 4-10-1 in their final 15 games. When you combine that with the fact that Michigan Tech’s style of play is almost tailor-made to handle Penn State’s offensive attack, it is tough to envision Penn State hockey coming away with its second-ever tournament win on Friday. I’ll go with Michigan Tech, as Penn State will need help to solve Blake Pietila. 

Michigan Tech-3, Penn State-1

The winner of this game will go on to face the winner of the Michigan and Colgate game also on Friday. The winners of the two opening-round games will play at the PPL Center at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday for a right to go to the Frozen Four.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics.

For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Managing Editor at It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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Penn State is New No. 1 Team in the Nation

It’s the Nittany Lions first No. 1 ranking since 2009.



Penn State Men's Volleyball, No. 1 Team in the Nation
October 8, 2011; State College, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions mascot performs during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Rec Hall. Illinois defeated Penn State 3 sets to 2. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-USA TODAY Sports

State College – Men’s volleyball has a new top team, and it resides in Happy Valley. Penn State men’s volleyball is the new No. 1 team in the nation, up one spot from the week prior.

Penn State Men’s Volleyball is Now the No.1 Team in the Nation

The Penn State men’s volleyball team has been on a tear lately. The Nittany Lions are 18-2 on the season, including a shutout of Saint Francis on Saturday.

And when the new American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll was released Monday, the Lions found themselves in the top spot. The bump up marks the first time that Penn State men’s volleyball has been ranked No. 1 since 2009.

Penn State replaced Hawai’i, who was previously the No. 1 team. The Nittany Lions ended the Rainbow Warriors’ 25-match win streak in a 3-1 victory during the Outrigger Challenge earlier this month. Hawai’i lost to Long Beach State on Friday night, which allowed Penn State to take the top spot.

The Nittany Lions’ first match as the No. 1 team in the nation will be in Rec Hall Tuesday when they take on Ohio State. The match begins at 7 PM and will air on B1G+. Penn State then has road series against Harvard and George Mason over the next two weeks and will finish the regular season at home with Charleston (WV) on April 14-15.

What a Time to be a Lion 

Penn State men’s volleyball’s new ranking was just the latest in a string of positives for Nittany Lion athletics.

On Saturday, Penn State wrestling capped off an undefeated regular season by winning the program’s 10th national title in 12 years. The men’s basketball team recently played for the Big Ten title and won its first NCAA Tournament game in over 20 years. In addition, men’s and women’s ice hockey made the NCAA Tournament in their respective sports.

On the diamond, the Penn State softball team has won at least seven games in a row twice already this season. Across campus, the baseball team swept its home opener to improve to 10-5 on the year.

And, of course, who could forget about Penn State football. The Nittany Lions are one week into spring practice for the anticipated 2023 season. James Franklin will undoubtedly have his work cut out for him, but the Lions are already dark horse candidates to make the College Football Playoff this fall. 

For Penn State fans, there certainly is no time like the present.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics.

For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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Penn State Baseball Sweeps Georgetown

The Nittany Lions’ bats made quick work of the Hoyas on Sunday.



Penn State Baseball, Georgetown
Vintage baseball gloves in the Norwell studio of Huntington Base Ball Co Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. 110222 Gd Baseballs16 Jpg © Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger / USA TODAY NETWORK

State College — After winning their home opener Saturday, the Penn State Nittany Lions made quick work of Georgetown Sunday. The 7-2 victory gave Penn State baseball a clean sweep of the Hoyas for the weekend.

Penn State Baseball Sweeps Georgetown

Penn State struck first when third baseman Ben Kaliher singled and scored Anthony Steele. They took the lead 1-0.  

The scoring continued in the second inning for the Nittany Lions. Another single, this time by Thomas Bramley, scored Tayven Kelley and increased the lead to 2-0.  

A Jay Harry double then broke the game open for the Lions, as a double by him scored Bramley and Kaliher and increased the margin to four runs.

Penn State added another run in the fourth inning after another Jay Harry hit, this time a single, scored Tayven Kelley and increased the score in the Lions’ favor to 5-0.  

Georgetown would get on the board in the sixth inning when a fielding error allowed a runner to score. But Penn State responded in the eighth inning. A wild pitch allowed Ben Kaliher to score. Another fielding error increased the lead to 7-1.

Georgetown would add another run in the ninth inning, but it would not suffice in their favor. The Nittany Lions won with a final score of 7-2 to sweep their first home series against Georgetown.  

Jordan Morales, who picked up the win, pitched a solid game. Morales allowed three hits and two walks and recorded two strikeouts. Most importantly, he allowed no earned runs.  

With the win, the Nittany Lions improve to 11-5 on the season.

Penn State baseball continues play at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park Tuesday against Binghamton. The Nittany Lions then head into conference play by going on the road to Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines.  

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics.

For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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