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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball received National Letters of Intent from eight student-athletes, head coach Rob Cooper announced Friday. The class will begin participation in the 2018-19 academic year.
The class includes one transfer and seven incoming freshmen, a distinct regional footprint with seven of the eight attending high school in either the eastern half of Pennsylvania or in New Jersey, and it breaks down to four pitchers, three infielders and a catcher.
Transferring to Penn State will be left-handed pitcher Joe Baran (West Hazleton, Pa./Hazleton Area), who played at Stony Brook the past two seasons. Joining Baran as Pennsylvania natives are incoming freshmen catcher Cole Chesnet (Coatesville, Pa./Archbishop Carroll), pitcher Hutch Gagnon (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East), infielder Isaiah Payton (Newerk, Del./The Episcopal Academy) and infielder Justin Williams (Mechanicsburg, Pa./ Cumberland Valley). Hailing from New Jersey are infielder Ryan Ford (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) and pitcher Brendan Mullins (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North), while Tyler Shingledecker (Huntersville, N.C.) is the second pitcher in as many years to sign out of Hough High School, which is located just north of Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Nittany Lions will announce additional members of the Class of 2022 later in the academic year. Below are Penn State's eight early decision additions:
LHP | L/L | 5-10/190 | West Hazleton, Pa. | Hazleton Area | Lackawanna College/Stony Brook
Highlights: Transferring to Penn State from Lackawanna College after previously playing at Stony Brook for two seasons (2016-17) … Took a medical redshirt year in 2017 … As a freshman for Stony Brook in 2016, recorded a 3.74 ERA and 1-1 record in 21.2 innings with 14 strikeouts to four walks … High school and travel baseball teammate of current Penn State baseball redshirt freshman Dante Biasi and former Penn State pitcher Sal Biasi, now pitching in the Kansas City Royals organization … Mother and grandfather attended Penn State, while one sister is currently attending Penn State … Cousin of Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
On Choosing Penn State: “I choose Penn State because it has always been a dream of mine to attend Penn State. Its rich academic and athletic history speaks for itself.”
Coach Cooper: “Joey has a big time arm. His potential to be a frontline arm from the left side is something our staff is extremely excited about. His fastball sits at 90-93 MPH and he shows great feel for his secondary pitches. He has a chance to make an immediate impact.”
C | R/R | 5-10/175 | Coatesville, Pa. | Archbishop Carroll | All-Star Baseball Academy
Highlights: Four-year letterwinner at Archbishop Carroll under head coach Mike Costanzo … Ranked in Top 500 overall by Perfect Game and as the fifth-best catcher in Pennsylvania … Perfect Game 2017 High Honorable Mention and 2016 Honorable Mention … Team captain junior and senior year … Two-time Ches Mont Sports All-League First Team honoree … Philadelphia Inquirer second-team All-Area selection as a freshman and first team as a sophomore … Earned PCL All-League honors junior year … Academic Honor Roll.
On Choosing Penn State: “Penn State is one of the premier universities in the country and provides outstanding opportunities academically and athletically. I grew up being a huge fan of Penn State athletics and when I had the opportunity to be a part of it myself, it was an easy decision.”
Coach Cooper: “Cole has a soft glove hand and receives very well, and he has quick feet and shows solid arm strength from behind the plate. In the batter’s box, he has a very balanced approach. Above all, he is a high-energy player and exemplifies leadership qualities that our staff is excited to coach.”
IF | L/R | 6-2/205 | Freehold, N.J. | Freehold Township | NJ Marlins, Tri-State Arsenal
High School: Four-year team member and three-year letterwinner at Freehold Township under head coach Todd Smith … Ranked in Top 500 overall by Perfect Game and as the third-best third baseman in New Jersey … Perfect Game 2017 High Honorable Mention and 2016 Honorable Mention … Named team MVP, all-division and third-team all-conference as a sophomore … Selected for Garden State Underclass Games … Plans to major in business … Also earned two varsity letters in ice hockey and one in football.
On Choosing Penn State: “When I was younger I always wanted to go to Penn State and I set it as a goal for myself to one day attend the university. I wanted to be a part of the rich tradition of high academic and athletic standards. When the opportunity presented itself, I knew I wanted to attend Penn State. I love the community and the atmosphere of the campus.”
Coach Cooper: “Ryan is a very physical and athletic infielder. He is a talented left-handed hitter and has a great skill set with big-time power and speed. We look for Ryan to come in and have a chance to be a big contributor as a freshman.”
LHP | L/L | 6-3/200 | Downingtown, Pa. | Downingtown East | US Elite
High School: Four-year team member and three-year letterwinner playing at Downingtown East under head coach Pete Susi … Ranked in Top 500 overall by Perfect Game and as the eighth-best left-handed pitcher in Pennsylvania … Perfect Game 2017 High Honorable Mention and 2016 Honorable Mention … 2017 All Ches-Mont League Honorable Mention … Named team captain for senior year … Member of National Society of High School Scholars … Plans to major in business … Had grandparents, great-grandfather and great-godparents that attended Penn State … Sister, Sydney, plays lacrosse at Virginia Tech.
On Choosing Penn State: “I chose Penn State because at is a phenomenal academic institution with an amazing history of successful athletics in a beautiful college town. I'm very excited to play for Coach Cooper and play in one of the best college stadiums in the country.”
Coach Cooper: “Hutch has long, loose arm action from the left side that is very projectable. His fastball is 85-88 MPH and he has shown the ability to mix three pitches in at any time. He is a guy our staff is extremely excited about adding to this pitching staff.
RHP | R/R | 6-4/165 | Toms River, N.J. | Toms River North | 9ers Baseball Club
High School: Four-year team member and three-year letterwinner playing at Toms River North under head coach Andrew Pagano … Ranked in Top 500 overall by Perfect Game … Perfect Game 2017 High Honorable Mention … Has posted an 8-2 record over past two seasons … 2017 Monmouth and Ocean County All-Star … Chosen for 2016 Garden State Underclass Games … 2016 Ocean County Baseball Tournament MVP.
On Choosing Penn State: “I chose Penn State because of how great the school and community is.”
Coach Cooper: “Brendan has a tall, wiry frame with room for added muscle. He throws from a high ¾-arm slot and shows life on his fastball. He also has a swing-and-miss change-up. This is a talented arm we are extremely excited about, as he has a high ceiling for continued development.”
IF | R/R | 6-1/195 | Newark, Del. | The Episcopal Academy (Pa.) | Bubba Baseball
High School: Four-year team member and three-year letterwinner at The Episcopal Academy (Newtown Square, Pa.) under head coach Mike Hickey … Ranked in Top 500 overall by Perfect Game and as the ninth-best shortstop in Pennsylvania … Perfect Game 2017 High Honorable Mention … Two-time second-team All-Inter AC … Team captain … Also earned a varsity letter in football.
On Choosing Penn State: “I chose Penn State because of the feeling that overcame me when I visited the campus. I felt like Penn State was the right fit for me. The campus and people expressed a welcoming atmosphere that made Penn State feel like home.”
Coach Cooper: “Isaiah is a very athletic middle infielder that has tremendous range defensively along with a strong arm across the diamond. His ability to have quality at-bats and utilize his speed could bring a dynamic to the top of the line-up.”
RHP | R/L | 6-3/165 | Huntersville, N.C. | Hough | Lake Monsters, Havey Baseball Acedemy
High School: Four-year team member at Hough under head coach Jimmy Cochran … Ranked in Top 500 overall by Perfect Game and as the eighth-best left-handed pitcher in North Carolina … Helped lead team to 2017 conference championship … High school teammate of Penn State baseball freshman Bailey Dees … Plans to major in business.
On Choosing Penn State: “I chose Penn State because of the coaching staff, facilities, academics and campus.”
Coach Cooper: “Tyler is one of the best left-handers in the state of North Carolina. He possesses a long, loose frame from a low ¾ arm slot with a smooth delivery that shows minimal effort. He has a solid three-pitch mix with a wipeout slider. He has a chance to make an immediate impact.”
IF | R/R | 6-2/200 | Mechanicsburg, Pa. | Cumberland Valley | US Elite
High School: Four-year team member and three-year letterwinner at Cumberland Valley under head coach Levi Mumma … Ranked in Top 500 overall by Perfect Game and Top 50 amongst third basemen … Ranks as the 29th best player in Pennsylvania and second-best third baseman … Perfect Game 2016 and 2017 High Honorable Mention … Named first-team all-conference as a junior … Intends to major in kinesiology.
On Choosing Penn State: “I chose Penn State because of the academics, the atmosphere, the alumni network, and to play baseball in the Big Ten. Also, I am proud to be able to represent my home state of Pennsylvania. I am very excited to be a part of a special team and school.”
Coach Cooper: “Justin is a projected middle of the lineup-type hitter that can flat out hit. He plays with an aggressive motor and shows above average glove skills defensively. He will have a chance to compete for a corner infield position right away.”