Redshirt junior Josh Spiegel made an immediate impact during the 2021 season — his first year with Penn State.
In his first game in blue and white, Spiegel hit two home runs in a win over Northwestern, kicking off a redshirt sophomore year where he would start 38 games for the Nittany Lions. That all came following a transfer from Oklahoma State after the shortened 2020 season.
After the Northwestern series to start off the season, Rob Cooper mentioned that Spiegel’s decision to leave Oklahoma State may not have entirely been made on his own.
“He’s just a great kid and a hard worker,” Cooper said in April, according to The Daily Collegian archives. “He’s had to overcome a lot. He went to Oklahoma State and was told to leave, and that’s a hit for a guy’s confidence.”
Spiegel had been with Oklahoma State for two seasons — one of which he redshirted and did not play. The other season came in the shortened 2020 campaign where as a redshirt freshman, Spiegel only had four at bats and recorded two hits with an RBI.
Following the shortened season, Spiegel would make his decision to transfer to Penn State, knowing the Nittany Lions saw something special in him.
“[Oklahoma State] didn’t see what Penn State sees in me,” Spiegel told The Daily Collegian. “They just didn’t give me that opportunity to showcase what I have and Penn State did, and I showed it the first weekend.”
That first weekend was the Northwestern series where Spiegel recorded eight hits, three home runs and three doubles in the four game set. Spiegel already had put up more hits in one series with Penn State than in those previous two years with Oklahoma State, and it would be a preview of what was to come.
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Even though Spiegel did have that great start to the season, just being able to secure playing time was a challenge for the catcher and first baseman.
While Spiegel wanted to come play for the Nittany Lions after entering the transfer portal, the blue and white already had two talented catchers in Matt Wood and Tyson Cooper before Spiegel’s arrival, Cooper said.
“In a lot of ways, he recruited us, and I mean that because I had one of the coaches at Oklahoma State call me personally about him just saying he’s a great kid, he’s a good player and he needs to go somewhere,” Cooper told the Collegian. “He can play if you guys have a need. I think he has interest in you guys.”
Despite the depth the Nittany Lions already had at the catcher position, Spiegel took the opportunity to transfer to Penn State and ran with it.
He finished last season with a .261 average, four home runs and 10 doubles and is looking to build on that success and turn it into greater team success as well.
“I thought last year being my first true season in college baseball, getting consistent at bats I learned a lot,” Spiegel said. “I definitely learned what I need to do to be successful in the Big Ten, and I think most of my goals are as a team — we really wanna win a Big Ten Championship to start and make a regional.
“Penn State hasn’t been there in a while, and I think with the group of guys that we have that’s a big goal, for not only me, but for our team.”
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