Penn State softball loses in regular season finale
A light drizzle and a crowd of spectators wearing ponchos set the scene at Beard Field on Sunday morning, as Penn State softball took on Illinois, for the final matchup of the three-game conference series.
The Nittany Lions (14-34, 5-18 Big Ten) closed out their regular season on an 11-game losing streak, falling to the Fighting Illini (23-25, 7-16 Big Ten) 6-1.
Although Penn State didn’t send their seniors out with a win, head coach Amanda Lehotak is more than satisfied with the way the group played this season.
“I thought they played all season long with guts and character and hard work and it was a great class,” Lehotak said. “And I feel very selfish in the fact that I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to coach them for four years.”
Each of the three seniors registered hits in their final home game, one of which was a solo home run from catcher Kasie Hatfield, Penn State’s only run of the game.
Senior Liz Presto recorded her first double of the season, while Alyssa Sovereign added a base hit. The only other hit came from freshman Shelby Miller.
Penn State struggled to compete with Illinois’ dominant offense, which registered six extra-base hits including four doubles, and two home runs.
The first inning was a quick 1-2-3 for both the Nittany Lions and the Fighting Illini, until Ruby Rivera lit the fuse that exploded the Fighting Illini’s offense for the rest of the game.
Rivera opened the top of the second inning with a solo homer, followed by a double that bounced off the left-center wall from Brittany Sanchez. Illinois third straight hit was a line drive single up the middle from Jenna Mychko.
Penn State held the deficit at 1-0, until an RBI ground out from Remeny Perez sent Alyssa Gunther home and brought the score to 2-0.
The Fighting Illini continued to find the gaps in the top of the sixth, as Sanchez fired an RBI double up the middle, sending Alex Booker home and increasing the lead to 3-0.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Hatfield launched a homer over the center field wall putting Penn State on the board.
However, that would be the last offensive play form the Lions, as they could not return from the deficit caused by a three-run home run from Allie Bauch, in the top of the seventh.
The last hit from Sovereign in the final frame was not enough for the Nittany Lions, as Fighting Illini closed out the game with a 6-1 victory.
With the regular season finished, Penn State moves on to the Big Ten Tournament beginning Thursday, May 8.
Nicole Barros is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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