Penn State softball sweeps weekend series against Rutgers
Coming out on top this weekend in Happy Valley, the Penn State Nittany Lions women’s softball team swept the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 4-3 in extra innings Sunday afternoon. An exciting bottom of the seventh included an illegal pitch on Rutgers and a three-run home run from Erin Pond (Lagrange, Ohio) to tie the game up. Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) singled to left center in the ninth, scoring Alecia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.) to give the Lions the exciting victory.
Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) started the game as the starting pitcher. After allowing two quick runs, Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) came in relief and kept the Scarlet Knights to two runs until the sixth inning.
Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak spoke on Laubach’s performance, “She came out and did exactly what Marley can do. She dominated her side of the plate, attacked them and got ahead a few times. When she got behind, she came right back, and that’s the Marley we need going into Michigan and the conference tournament.”
In the fourth inning, Pond made a big play for the Nittany Lions, making a leaping catch right before the fence, preventing Rutgers from putting another run on the board.
“That’s a great play. For her to hold onto the ball you know that’s a huge momentum changing play because that easily could have been a double or a triple,” said Lehotak.
In the top of the sixth, Sierra Maddox led off the inning with a home run to make the score 3-0. With not much action in the bottom of the sixth and the top of the seventh, the Nittany Lions proved to have a few tricks left up their sleeves.
With Jones on third and Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) on second after a balk from Rutgers pitcher Alyssa Landrith, Pond hit a ball to right that rolled under the glove of a diving Carly Todd to the wall, tying the score at 3.
To start the extra innings, neither Rutgers nor Penn State could make anything happen in the eighth.
In the top of the ninth, Jones made a big diving catch to make the second out of the inning and eventually, Penn State closed out the top of the ninth with the score still tied at three.
Laubach talked about her trust in Jones to make the catch, “When I see a ball hit off the bat into left field, I have complete confidence that she is going to catch it.”
Kristina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif.) hit a ball off the wall and was replaced on the bases by Walker. With the help of Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii), Walker made it to third base. Knief hit a line drive out to center field and Walker came home ,putting the Nittany Lions up 4-3 and clinching the series sweep.
The Lions will travel to Pittsburgh Tuesday to take on the Panthers at 6 p.m.
Anna Witte is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org