Exhibition Friday; 13 Newcomers Join

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Oct. 4, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- With fall practices in full swing, Penn State baseball welcomes 13 newcomers and hosts Lock Haven in a fall exhibition game Friday at 6 p.m. in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Admission to the exhibition game is free. Penn State and Lock Haven have met in each of the past two falls.

Penn State is carrying 34 players on its roster in the fall, with head coach Rob Cooper bringing in 13 additions to join a returning group of 21 that includes two returning starting pitchers and six returning starting position players. The newcomers include six early signees announced last November, five additional incoming freshmen, one transfer and one dual-sport athlete.

Bringing veteran experience to the newcomers will be junior transfer Shea Sbranti (Oakley, Calif.) and senior Penn State wrestler Matt McCutcheon. Originally an Arizona commit, Sbranti played two seasons at San Joaquin Delta Community College, earning all-conference honors last season. McCutcheon played baseball through his sophomore season at high school before devoting his full attention to wrestling. He is a three-time NCAA Wrestling Championships qualifier.

The regular decision group includes four position players and local pitcher Mason Mellott (State College, Pa./State College Area). The four position players all have Keystone State ties, as lefty outfielder Curtis Robison (Dillsburg/Northern York H.S.) and infielder Kris Kremer (Hershey/Hershey H.S.) hail from the Harrisburg area; and utility player Derek Orndorff (Connellsville Area) hails from Mill Run. Parker Hendershot, who was born in Sayre, Pa., but was raised just over the Pennsylvania-New York state line in Barton, enters as one of the most highly-touted players out of the Empire State.


 

 

They all join the first members of the class, who include five pitchers and one position player. Three -- Conor Larkin (Royersford), Jeff Taylor (Pequea) and Kyle Virbitsky (Media) -- hail from Pennsylvania, while two --Ralph Gambino (Freehold) and Tommy Gibson (Williamstown) -- hail from New Jersey. Bailey Dees (Charlotte) hails from North Carolina.  

Full bios are below.

TRANSFER
Shea Sbranti
C/IF | L/R | Oakley, Calif. | San Joaquin Delta College | Freedom H.S.

2017 (San Joaquin Delta -- Sophomore)
Second-team all-conference ... Batted .295 with five home runs and 31 RBIs in 45 games at catcher and first base.

2016 (San Joaquin Delta -- Redshirt Freshman)
Batted .248 with a home run and 15 RBIs in 36 games at catcher.

2015 (Arizona - Freshman Year)
Missed season due to injury.

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year letterwinner playing baseball at Freedom High School for head coach Gary Alexander ... 2014 Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and ranked in Perfect Game Top 500 in 2014 ... Two-time first-team all-league honoree ... Named to Oakland A's Area Code team in 2013 ... Team captain and MVP as a junior and senior ... Also lettered for one season on the football team ... Named North Coast Section Honorable Athlete ... Volunteered with local youth baseball camps and helping the homeless.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"Penn State has always been a dream school of my family's and I. Once Coach Cooper came calling, I knew Penn State would be the best fit for me academically and in baseball. WE ARE!"

Coach Cooper: "We are very excited about having Shea join our program. He comes from an amazing family and has been a part of numerous winning programs throughout his career. He will definitely bring a dimension of hard work and grit to our program."

 

DUAL SPORT
Matt McCutcheon
C | R/R | 5-9/184 | Apollo, Pa. | Kiski Area

NOTES
Three-time NCAA Wrestling Championships qualifier ... Played baseball through sophomore year of high school.

Coach Cooper: "We are excited to add Matt to our baseball program. His character and experience winning championships will impact this program in a big way."

 

REGULAR DECISION SIGNEES
Parker Hendershot
IF | R/R | 6-2/205 | Barton, N.Y. | Tioga Central | NY-Penn Dirtbags (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Five-year letterwinner playing baseball at Tioga Central High School playing for head coach Bob Seymour ... Ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 23 third baseman nationally and No. 432 overall ... Ranked as the ninth-best player out of New York and the second-best third baseman ... USA Today New York All-State first team, Team MVP and captain as a senior ... Two-time NY Sports Writers first-team All-State ... Three-time Towanda Review first-team All-Region, Morning Times Player of the Year and Valley Sports Report First Team All-Region and Player of the Year ... Also the Towanda Review Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore ... Batted .645 as a senior, which ranks ninth all-time in New York and is a school record ... Tallied 20 career triples which ranks fifth all-time in the state and is a school record ... Also graduated with Tioga Central records for career hits (164), career batting average (.521), hits in a season (49, twice), career doubles (45), career RBIs (125), career runs scored (154) and career OPS (1.899) ... Helped lead team to one state final four, one regional championship, one sectional championship, two conference championships and five division championships ... Also lettered two years on the basketball team ... High honors student ranking in the Top 25 of graduating class ... Volunteered time at local little leagues and youth organizations.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I chose Penn State because of the great opportunities both athletically and, more importantly, academically. Penn State will give me the complete college experience, such as the great facilities, baseball program and coaching staff, and chances to succeed at a first-class school."

Coach Cooper: "Parker is an amazing young man who is committed to winning. He has a great work ethic and will give us some flexibility in the infield and outfield. We are excited about his future in Happy Valley."

 

Kris Kremer
IF | R/R | 5-10/165 | Hershey, Pa. | Hershey | Harrisburg Senators (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year member and three-year letterwinner playing shortstop and centerfield at Hershey High School under head coach Al Fricke ... Ranked in the Perfect Game Top 500 and as the third-best shortstop in Pennsylvania ... 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Atlantic All-Region second team ... 2016 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention ... Three-time Mid-Penn All-Star ... Team captain as a senior ... Member of the Big 26 All-Star team in 2016 ... Volunteered at Big 26 Challenger Game and Hershey Little League Challenger Game ... Played travel ball for the Harrisburg Senators.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I chose Penn State for its excellent academic reputation and incredible baseball facilities."

Coach Cooper: "Kris is a great young man that will bring depth and versatility to our program. He has the athleticism to play multiple infield positions as well as move to the outfield. Another hard working young man who is committed to winning."

 

Mason Mellott
RHP | R/R | 6-0/185 | State College, Pa. | State College Area | Keystone Railsplitters (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Two-year letterwinner starting on the mound at State College Area High School for head coach Troy Allen ... Named the Centre Daily Times Athlete of the Spring after striking out 78 and winning five games with a 2.00 ERA as a senior ... Named Mid-Penn All-Conference as a junior with a 1.50 ERA, 55 strikeouts and three wins ... Helped lead team to the state semifinals as a senior and District 6 Championships as a sophomore and junior ... Played travel ball for the Keystone Railsplitters and was a Keystone State Games Silver Medalist as a freshman ... Also earned two letters as a long snapper for the football team, winning a pair of district championships ... Earned high honors all four years ... Was one of two recipients of the Joseph R. Cardenuto Memorial Award, given to incoming freshman from State High that intend to enroll in the College of Health and Human Development or the College of Education ... Completed in excess of 50 hours of community service.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I choose Penn State because it was close to home and I felt like it was my best opportunity athletically and academically. I also believed that Penn State would give me the ability to reach my academic and athletic goals. I also love the facilities, coaches, and the opportunities to grow here."

Coach Cooper: "Mason is a hard working young man who absolutely relishes the opportunity to compete. He is a State College native who is committed to helping Penn State baseball win at the highest level. We are extremely excited about his future as a Nittany Lion."

 

Derek Orndorff
UTL | S/R | 5-11/192 | Mill Run, Pa. | Connellsville Area | Northeast Baseball (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Three-year letterwinner playing baseball at Connellsville Area under head coach Rob Orndorff, his father ... Ranked by Perfect Game in the Top 500 and as the second best Pennsylvania outfielder and 13th overall PA player ... 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Atlantic All-Region second team ... Named USA Today All-Pennsylvania second team and all-section first team as a senior after batting .542 (second in school history) with six home runs ...Was also a three-time all-county first team pick and a second-team all-section pick as a sophomore and junior ... Pennsylvania American Legion All-Star in 2015 and 2016 ... Selected to represent Team PA in the 2016 Big 26 Baseball Classic ... Played travel ball for Northeast Baseball ... Also lettered twice in football as a quarterback ... Member of National Honor Society, Penn State - Fayette 4.0 Club and Student Council.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I chose Penn State because of the incredible academic reputation. I love the tradition and pride that comes along with being part of the Nittany Lion family."

Coach Cooper: "Derek is the son of a coach and the ultimate baseball rat. He loves to compete and his extremely team oriented. His athleticism will bring a great deal of versatility to our program."

 

Curtis Robison
OF | L/L | 6-2/210 | Dillsburg, Pa. | Northern York | Keystone Bombers (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year member and three-year letterwinner playing baseball at Northern York High School for head coach Brian Robison, his father ... Three-time first-team Mid Penn All-Conference selection ... Batted above .455 after sophomore year, capped by a career-best .488 clip as a senior ... Stole a school-record 21 bases in 2016 ... Selected for Pennsylvania Big 26 Baseball Team and PennLive Big 15 1st Team as a junior ... Played travel ball for the Keystone Bombers ... Named to Prep Baseball Report's Pennsylvania's Futures Team in 2015 ... Named Top Outfield Performance of Summer at PA/WV Prep Baseball Report Events in 2016 ... Perfect Game 2017 Atlantic Region Honorable Mention ... Also lettered four years in basketball as a point guard and three years in football as a quarterback and outside linebacker ... Three-year starter in all three sports ... Captained all three teams as a senior ... Team MVP twice each for baseball and football and once in basketball ... Two-time first-team Mid Penn All-Conference ... Inducted into National Honors Society ... Member of Key Club and Four Diamonds Club ... Volunteered with Special Olympics.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I chose Penn State because when I came on my first visit it felt like home. I have been told so many times that you will be successful in the place you are most comfortable. That is why I chose to make Penn State my home the next four years."

Coach Cooper: "Curtis is a blue collar, tough nosed young man who has a chance to develop into an elite level hitter. He is another young man who cares deeply about winning and making his teammates better."

 

EARLY SIGNEES (PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED)
Bailey Dees
RHP | R/R | 6-7 / 230 | Charlotte, N.C. | Hough | South Charlotte Panthers

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year letterwinner on the mound at Hough High School for head coach Jimmy Cochran ... Ranked No. 270 in the country by Perfect Game ... 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Atlantic All-Region first team ... Named all-conference as a pitcher and a hitter following junior season ... Named to 2016 Greater Charlotte Top Prospect Team ... Team captain as a senior ... Led Hough to back-to-back conference championships ... Helped Independence to conference championship as a freshman in 2014 ... GPA of 4.30 ranked in the top 20 percent of high school class ... Played travel baseball for the Demarini Stars and South Charlotte Panthers.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I chose Penn state because of the high class education it provides, along with the opportunity to play baseball in a power five conference against the best talent in the nation."

Coach Cooper: "We are thrilled to add Bailey to our Nittany Lion Family. He is a competitive young man who is just now beginning to scratch the surface of his ability. He has an opportunity to make an immediate impact on our pitching staff."

 

Ralph Gambino
RHP | R/R | 5-10/175 | Freehold, N.J. | Freehold Township | New Jersey Marlins (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year team member and three-year letterwinner for Freehold Township High School under head coach Todd Smith ... Two-time Perfect Game High School All-America honorable mention ... Ranked as one of the top seven right-handed pitchers in New Jersey by Perfect Game ... Ranked in the Top 500 nationally by Perfect Game ... 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Northeast All-Region first team ... Struck out 80 batters in 46 innings pitched as a junior ... Senior season abbreviated by injury ... Played in the 2016 Carpenters Cup ... Academic Honor Roll student with a 4.1 grade point average.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
I chose Penn State because of the family atmosphere and close-knit team environment. Also, Penn State provides a first class education with unbelievable facilities and staff. The passion that everyone on campus and in State College breeds for Penn State is truly something special to be a part of. It has been a dream of mine to be a Nittany Lion, and I couldn't be more excited to live out my dream for the next 4 years.

Coach Cooper: "Ralph is a first class young man who is just beginning to tap into his potential. He is a fierce competitor on the mound and can repeat three pitches for strikes. We are really excited about Ralph's future here in Happy Valley."

 

Tommy Gibson
SS | R/R | 5-10/175 | Williamstown, N.J. | Williamstown | MSI (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year team member and three-year letterwinner in baseball at Williamstown High School for head coach Joe Smith ... Ranked in Perfect Game Top 500 and in the top-six shortstops in New Jersey ... 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Northeast All-Region first team ... 2016 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention ... Named first-team all-conference and second team All-Group 4 ... Two-year team captain... Garden State Underclass Game Participant ... Helped lead team to 2015 South Jersey Group 4 Championship and runner-up finish at states... Also a two-year letterwinner in football ... Voted Best Defensive Back in West Jersey Football League.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I chose Penn State because it is a great place for me to grow academically and athletically. Also it has many resources that many schools do not which will give me an advantage to reach my goals."

Coach Cooper: "Tommy is an exciting young player who has an extremely bright future in this game. He is a young man who is passionate about winning and making his teammates better. We are extremely excited about having him in our program."

 

Conor Larkin
RHP | R/R | 6-1 / 195 | Royersford, Pa. | Spring-Ford Area | Tri-State Arsenal

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year team member and three-year letterwinner on the mound at Spring-Ford Area High School under head coach Jamie Scheck ... Ranked by Perfect Game as the seventh-best RHP in Pennsylvania and 15th-best overall ... Ranked nationally in Perfect Game's top-200 for RHPs and in Top 500 overall ... 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Atlantic All-Region second team ... 2016 Perfect Game Underclass third team and a 2015 honorable mention ... Pottstown Mercury All-Area Baseball Player of the Year, first-team all-area and first-team all-conference as a senior going 7-1 with a 0.80 ERA (eighth in southeastern Pennsylvania) and southeastern PA leading 86 K's as a senior ... Also threw two no-hitters ... Second team all-area and first team all-conference as a junior going 6-2 with a 1.01 ERA and 73 K's third and 10th respectively in southeastern Pennsylvania ... Pottstown Mercury also named him the Comeback Player of the Year after returning from Tommy John Surgery ... Team captain as a senior ... Helped lead team to conference championships as a sophomore ... Led school to win in state semifinal game in first career start as a freshman ... Represented the Texas Rangers at East Coast Pro ... Represented the New York Yankees at the Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry Classic game at Fenway Park.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I chose Penn State because the baseball program is on the rise and something I wanted to be a part of. Also, I will get a great education on top of playing baseball."

Coach Cooper: "Conor is a competitive, coachable, winning young man. He will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact in our program and we are excited to welcome him to our Diamond Lion family."

 

Jeff Taylor
LHP | L/L | 6-2/185 | Lancaster, Pa. | Penn Manor | Mid-Atlantic Rookies (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year baseball student-athlete at Penn Manor High School under head coach Jim Zander ... Ranked in Prep Baseball Report top 12 in Pennsylvania and the No. 1 left-handed pitcher ... Perfect Game Top 500 and two-time All-America honorable mention ... Three-time first-team All-Lancaster-Lebanon League pick ... Set Penn Manor record for wins with a 21-4 career record ... Boasted ERA's under 1.00 in each of last three seasons ... Captained team to Lancaster Lebanon League Section One Championship as a senior ... 2017 Max Preps No. 2 pitcher in Pennsylvania for strikeouts with 114 ... Threw a one-hit, complete-game shutout in league playoffs, complete-game three-hitter in district playoffs and a complete game four hitter in a district legion championship game during sophomore year ... Played for the Baltimore Redbirds of the Cal Ripken League in summer of 2017 with an ERA of 0.93 in 9 2/3 innings and one start ... Played travel ball for the Mid-Atlantic Rookies ... Named to the all-tournament team at the WWBA Underclass Championship in 2015 ... Named to the all-tournament team for the WWBA World Championship (Jupiter) in 2015 and 2016 (only player from Pa. to do so) ... Also was a two-year member of the Penn Manor basketball team ... Participated in student council, varsity club, Spring Fling crew and Mini-THON Committee ... Graduated in top third of class.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"I chose Penn State because of its excellent academic reputation and to play baseball at the highest level, all while staying in Pennsylvania."

Coach Cooper: "Another young man who has an extremely bright future ahead of him. He is super competitive and has the ability to be an impact pitcher as a freshman. We feel honored to have Jeff in our program."

 

Kyle Virbitsky
RHP/IF | R/R | 6-6/230 | Media, Pa. | Episcopal Academy | Philly Bandits (Travel)

HIGH SCHOOL
Four-year letterwinner playing baseball at Episcopal Academy for head coach Mike Hickey ... Three-sport athlete also excelling in football and basketball ... Ranked in Top 10 Pennsylvania players for the class of 2017 and Top 250 nationally by the Prep Baseball Report ... Perfect Game Top 500 and eighth-best right-handed pitcher in Pennsylvania ... 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Atlantic All-Region second team ... 2016 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention ... One of Pennsylvania's top-25 high school baseball players by PennLive.com ... Team MVP of both baseball and football teams as a senior ... Named first-team All-Inter-Ac, All-Delco, All-Main Line and All-Southeastern PA team following junior and senior seasons ... Struck out 97 in 66 innings pitched as a senior ... As a junior, led Delaware County with 66 strikeouts, Episcopal with three home runs and finished the season with a 1.76 ERA ... Earned four wins over nationally-ranked teams during career ... ... Selected to the Inter-Ac Carpenter Cup Team ... Attended PG National Showcase ... Also a four-year member and three-year letterwinner on both the football and basketball teams ... Started every game for all three teams as a senior ... Was a first-team all-league and all-area pick as a tight end and defensive lineman ... Key Club Captain ... Earned school Graduation Award for Athletic and Academic Scholarship ... Participated in Episcopal Academy Farming Club.

ON CHOOSING PENN STATE
"If I had to put baseball aside and ask myself, `where would you want to go to school?' Penn State was the blatantly obvious answer."

Coach Cooper: "The son of two Penn Staters, Kyle is a tough-minded pitcher who has the ability and mindset to be a frontline starter for us. He was one of the most sought after pitchers on the East Coast and we are excited to welcome him home to Happy Valley!"

@PennStateBASE

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