Penn State softball sweeps mid-week doubleheader to extend hot streak

Story posted April 17, 2014 in CommRadio by Jason Shawley

Marlaina Laubach’s (9-9) complete game in the first half of Wednesday’s doubleheader highlighted an impressive night for the Nittany Lions. Penn State (14-23) swept Bucknell (15-20) to claim their eighth victory in their last nine games.

Penn State struck first in the opener, as Kasie Hatfield tripled Lexi Knief across in the bottom of the first inning. Knief reached on a single to start the frame. Penn State added to their lead in the second, on an RBI single by Alicia Walker, scoring Karlie Habitz.

Bucknell broke through in the top of the fourth when Kristen Zahn hit a leadoff solo home run to draw the score to 3-1.

Amanda Fazio replaced Bucknell’s starter, Lara Bean, in the fourth inning and didn’t fair much better, as she surrendered the fourth run of the game, giving Penn State a 4-1 lead. The Bison chipped into it once again, as Chaylen Andolino scored on a Kristen Zahn infield single.

The Nittany Lions added two insurance runs on back-to-back singles by Knief and Furuya in the sixth inning, to take a 6-2 lead.

Jacee Almond homered in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough, as Penn State held on for the early game win. Laubach went the distance, picking up the win for the Nittany Lions. Knief went 3-for-4 to lead the Penn State offense.

“When I’m on the mound, I go out and act the most confident that I can,” Laubach said following the game. “I know that I’m better than the batter that’s at the plate.”

Christy Von Pusch started game two for the Nittany Lions, while Dana Nielsen got the nod for the Bison.

Penn State took the early 5-0 lead in the second game, as they picked up six hits hits in the opening frame, which included two triples and a double as well as a Bucknell error.

The Nittany Lions continued to collect extra base hits as Habitz doubled in Furuya, and Shelby Miller drove in three more with a bases clearing triple in the second, to contribute to Penn State’s 9-0 lead. With two outs, Nielsen was pulled in favor of Cindy Cherness. Nielsen gave up nine earned runs on eight hits in 1 ⅔ innings.

Bucknell picked up two in the top half of the third on a double by Cyndee Sanders and Hatfield error at first base, to cut into the Nittany Lion lead. Marissa Diescher replaced Von Pusch to finish off the inning. Von Pusch pitched 2 ⅓ innings, surrendering three hits and one earned run.

Habitz helped Penn State take one of those runs back in the bottom half, singling home Furuya to put the Nittany Lions up by a score of 10-2.

Bucknell continued to chip away at the lead as Sanders doubled in a pair and a Diescher error scored one in the fourth inning to cut the lead to five. Macy Jones entered the game to record the final out of the inning and remained in to pitch the rest of the game.

Penn State held on for the win to complete the mid-week sweep. Von Pusch picked up the win while Nielsen wound up on the losing end for the Bison.

“We had played them twice in the fall, so we had a lot of information on them,”head coach Amanda Lehotak said. “We felt very confident offensively that we could attack them, and attack them early.”

The Nittany Lions will open up a weekend series Friday night against the Wisconsin Badgers at Beard Field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

Jason Shawley is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email