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Can Penn State Make a Run in the Big Ten Baseball Tournament?

The Lions are playing in their first Big Ten tournament since 2012. They haven't won a tournament game since 2007.

Penn State returns to the Big Ten Baseball Tournament for the first time in a decade, beginning the double-elimination tournament with Game 1 on Thursday in Omaha.

The sixth-seeded Nittany Lions kick off the 2022 Big Ten Baseball Tournament against No. 3 Iowa at 10 a.m. EST Thursday. The game, postponed from Wednesday, will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.

Penn State (25-27 overall) qualified despite getting swept by Illinois at home to close the regular season. The Lions finished 11-13 in Big Ten play. The Illinois series followed one of Penn State's most entertaining finishes in recent years, as the team turned a 14-run ninth inning into a 19-6 win over Pitt at PNC Park.

This season represents a turnaround for Penn State, which had not won more than 10 Big Ten games (the 2020 conference-only season notwithstanding) since 2016. That year, the Lions went 12-12 in the Big Ten but did not qualify for the tournament.

The Lions last played in the Big Ten tournament in 2012, when it lost two games to Ohio State and Nebraska by a combined score of 24-8. Penn State last won a Big Ten tournament game in 2007, when it took three victories into the consolation bracket final. That run included a 5-3 win over Iowa, the last time the teams met in the Big Ten tournament.

Penn State catcher Matt Wood won the Big Ten regular-season batting title (.395) and ranked second in OPS (1.175) as part of a hugely successful junior season. Wood has 11 home runs and 50 RBI this season, ranking fifth in the conference in slugging (.681). Wood hit .295 with four home runs last season, when he was second-team all-Big Ten.

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Penn State's top pitcher is Tyler Shingledecker, who has a 6-3 record and 3.28 ERA in 20 appearances, including three starts.

Iowa (33-17 overall) went 17-7 in the Big Ten.

The other opening-round games match No. 2 Rutgers against No. 7 Purdue, No. 1 Maryland vs. No. 8 Indiana, and No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 5 Michigan. The eight-team, double-elimination Big Ten Baseball Tournament runs Wednesday-Sunday.

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AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich. And consider subscribing (button's on the home page) for more great content across the SI.com network.