Penn State Softball Splits Double Header with Robert Morris

posted March 29, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Gregory Merchlinsky

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – For the second time this season, Penn State softball split a double header with strong performances in the first game, but giving a lackluster performance in the second game.

Penn State (5-21, 1-2 B1G) defeated Robert Morris (7-21, 0-0 NEC) 9-7 in the first game of the double header, but dropped the second one 0-5.

Penn State’s first win of the day came in dramatic fashion as the Nittany Lions trailed all game until the bottom of the fifth.

In that inning, junior Tori Dubois smacked a grand slam over the left field fence to give herself four RBIs on the day and the second homerun on the season while giving Penn State a one run lead in a tightly contested game.

Dubois' homerun ultimately was the deciding factor in the Nittany Lions 9-7 win over Robert Morris.

Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak wasn’t surprised by her grand slam, but also gives credit to the rest of the team for giving Dubois the chance with the bases loaded.

“She loves tight situations and she is always calm and collective, you want her in those type of at bats because you can count on her to produce,” Lehotak said. “The great thing about the grand slam was that her teammates did a great job of getting on base for her, the grand slam doesn’t happen if they don’t do their jobs.”

It wasn’t all smiles for the Nittany Lions at the start of the game. Robert Morris jumped to an early lead after sophomore pitcher Madey Smith struggled in the first inning.

Smith walked two batters and hit two batters as well and allowed for one run to score.

Smith was replaced by Madison Shaffer, who was put into a tight position with the bases loaded. Shaffer was able to work out of the inning with only allowing two runs on one hit.

The Colonials would add to their 3-0 lead during the second inning on a Natalie Higgins single that crept through the right side foul line that allowed for Taylor Barlow to score who reached on an error early the inning.

Penn State would cut into the Colonials lead in top of the second as the Nittany Lions would load the bases quickly. Third basemen Destiny Weber singled to shallow left allowing for Paige Johnson to reach home. Meghan Williams added a second run for Penn State with the bases loaded on a Dani Fey walk.

Robert Morris would strike again in the fourth as the Colonials drove in three runs on three hits. Higgins, who had an RBI earlier in the game, logged her second RBI on the night with a standup triple that gave the Colonials a 4-1 lead.

Junior Abrielle McCartney smashed a single up the middle that was too hot to handle for Shaffer on the mound allowing for Higgins to round home giving Robert Morris a 4 run lead. Olivia Lorusso added another run for the Colonials with a double to left field.

The Colonials capped off their big fourth inning as McCartney added the final run in the inning on a ground out to second from shortstop Taryn Miller.

The Nittany Lions, down 6-2, rallied in the fifth inning to take back the lead. Toni Polk started the scoring with a RBI triple that cut the Colonials lead to three.

The Nittany Lions loaded the bases with two back-to-back walks and Dubois cleared those bases with the biggest hit of the game.

The Nittany Lions added an insurance run with a Paige Johnson RBI double to give Penn State a two run lead.

Penn State would hold on to that lead with some great defensive play from senior shortstop Gianna Arrizurieta and some solid pitching from Shaffer.

The second game for the Nittany Lions however lacked the emotion of the first game. Penn State was only able to muster up two hits in their shutout loss to the Colonials.

Penn State also experienced with three pitching changes with Smith getting the start. She was relieved by Senior Ashton Mensinger followed by Shaffer.

Natalie Higgins was 2-4 from the plate including two doubles and one RBI while right fielder Briana Bunner also went 2-4 with a double and a solo shot homerun.

Lehotak was proud of the team’s performance in both games, but said the team needs to fix their approach to double headers games

“We have not played well in a double header setting and that has to be fixed because I don’t know what we are missing on that, or what is going wrong,” Lehotak said. “We seem to have trouble with sustaining for fourteen innings, we are good for seven, but then we die off, so that has to be fixed.”

Penn State Travels to Rutgers on Friday to take on the Scarlet Knights at 3 P.M.

 

Gregory Merchlinsky is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in Political Science. To contact him, email glm5163@psu.edu.