Penn State receiver Mac Hippenhammer made his college sports debut on the baseball field over the weekend
Penn State running back Nick Eury (40), wide receivers Isaac Lutz (85) and Mac Hippenhammer during practice in Holuba Hall on Oct. 11, 2017.Joe Hermitt | email@example.com
It’s hard to find a two-sport athlete in college athletics these days, but Mac Hippenhammer is an exception to what is seemingly a rule anymore, and he’s not the only one at Penn State, either.
The redshirt freshman receiver made his Penn State and college sports debut over the weekend, as he pinch ran for the Nittany Lions’ baseball team in Friday’s season-opening 2-1 win over Elon.
Most forget that Hippenhammer, who signed in the Lions’ football Class of 2017, prioritized the opportunity to play both sports at the college level back during his recruitment. Thanks to an agreement between football leader James Franklin and baseball skipper Rob Cooper, things are going as planned as Hippenhammer looks for playing time in baseball cleats ahead of his hopeful Beaver Stadium debut later this year.
“Mac [Hippenhammer] works really hard and comes to the park every day ready to work,” starting catcher Ryan Sloniger told reporters last week. “He brings a fun energy to our team and we really enjoy that.
“For him to come in, after not playing since his high school season last year, and jump in like he hasn’t missed a beat is really awesome to see. He hasn’t missed a beat [in terms of baseball skill] and he really brings good energy to our program.”
Hippenhammer will still do football team activities during the baseball season. He’s listed on Cooper’s roster as an infielder and outfielder, but according to his school bio, he played shortstop for R. Nelson Snider High in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he batted .431 with 19 runs scored and 15 stolen bases as a senior.
He’s not the only multi-sport athlete on the team, either, as wrestler Matt McCutcheon is also listed as a catcher.
“[Mc]Cutch[eon]’s first responsibility here is wrestling. Mac’s first responsibility is football, but both of them are valued members of our program,” Cooper said, according to quotes provided by Penn State. He later added:
“The culture that Coach Franklin’s building there in football, the way they handle things, the way they compete on a day in and day out basis and obviously the culture that Cael Sanderson and the wrestling program has, having those two guys who can really add to [the culture of this program] and can really talk from an experience of having to be successful at the highest level, that really brings a lot of value to our team.”
Penn State swept Elon over the weekend, and it returns to the diamond next weekend for a tournament it is hosted at the USA Baseball complex in Cary, N.C.