Pitching depth will be tested as Penn State continues unlikely run in Big Ten Tournament

The Penn State Nittany Lions knocked off the No. 1 seed Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament after sneaking in with a final weekend sweep of Maryland. Now, the Nittany Lions will have their depth tested.
Wagner v Penn State
Wagner v Penn State / Andy Mead/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The Penn State Nittany Lions baseball team narrowly snuck into the Big Ten tournament with a 12-12 conference record in the regular season. However, in the first round in Omaha Nebraska, Penn State made some noise, knocking off the No. 1 seed Illinois 8-4 to advance and send the Fighting Illini to the loser’s bracket. 

The Nittany Lions ended the regular season with a three-game sweep of Maryland which helped to leapfrog the Terrapins and keep them out of tournament play. On Thursday, Penn State will look to continue the winning streak against No. 4 seed Michigan who defeated Iowa 3-2. 

Wednesday’s matchup was led by the top of Penn State’s batting order. 1-4 in the order, Joe Jaconski, J.T. Marr, Adam Cecere, and Bobby Marsh combined to reach base 11 times and drive in seven of the team’s eight runs. Despite only having one hit, Cecere did the most damage, driving in two runs with a homer in the 6th inning and adding on with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. 

The starting pitcher Travis Luensmann took the win for Penn State, going five innings and only giving up one earned run with seven strikeouts. With a win in the matchup against Michigan on Thursday, Penn State would play again on Saturday in the quarterfinals, but a loss would send the Nittany Lions back into action on Friday. 

The depth on the mound will be tested as head coach Mike Gambino will look to continue this run in his first season at the helm. Gambino will need to manage the arms on his roster with Jaden Henline and Mason Horwat his only two pitchers outside of his ace Luensmann who have pitched over 50 innings this season.

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