2022 Penn State Baseball Season Preview

Story posted March 16, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Dylan Price

With field condition issues persisting, Penn State has yet to play its home opener. It is set to get underway this weekend against Milwaukee, here’s a look at the roster and what to expect in the 2022 season.

The blue and white returns coach Rob Cooper for his ninth season with the program. Cooper’s ultimate goal is to lead the team back to national relevancy, and under his guidance, the team has taken significant strides.

Cooper will try to pilot a roster with a good mix of veterans and youngsters to succeed after finishing last year 18-24.

The Nittany Lions' offensive attack is led by junior catcher, Matt Wood.

In the preseason rankings, Wood was ranked as the top catcher in the Big Ten and the 16th best catcher in the nation and was named to the Buster Posey Award watch list.

Through 14 games, he is living up to the preseason hype, slashing an average of .340, with four doubles, four home runs, 12 RBIs and 15 runs.

Cole Bartels, a graduate student and left fielder has come on strong to start the season with an early average of .309 with four RBIs and eight runs scored.

Bartels is the only player in the everyday lineup that isn’t a junior, sophomore, or freshman and as the season wears on the team will look to his veteran experience.

Outside of Wood and Bartels, the team will look to some of its younger bats to step up.

Sophomore second baseman Kyle Hannon is trying to answer that call as he recently won Big Ten Player of the Week honors and is currently batting .306 with six RBIs and six runs scored.

Redshirt junior first baseman Josh Spiegel will look to try to continue his strong start as well as he’s currently batting .294 with seven RBIs and seven runs scored.

Last season, Penn State graduated three starting pitchers in Connor Larkin, Bailey Dees and Kyle Virbitsky who all were selected in the 2021 MLB draft.

The pitching staff for the Nittany Lions is headlined by returning graduate student Mason Mellott who currently has a 2.25 ERA, an opponent batting average of .192 in 12.0 innings pitched.

The State College, Pennsylvania, native and NCBWA Stopper of the Year finished last season with an ERA of 4.60 and as he grows into his newly found veteran role, he will look to continue his early showings of improvement.

This season the Nittany Lions feature a plethora of young arms to mix in with Mellott including freshman RHP Tommy Molsky and sophomore RHP Travis Luensmann.

Molsky currently has a 4.67 ERA, with Luensmann currently sitting at 5.95 in the same category. Early returns haven’t been outstanding, but the two young high potential arms are fully capable of righting the ship.

The Nittany Lions hold a roster headlined by key veterans in Mellott and Wood amongst others, mixed in with a youthful lineup and pitching staff that figures to produce a season with trials and tribulations, as the team shakes out growing pains on the pathway to success.

Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email dvp5625@psu.edu.