Tough loss for Penn State softball in home opener
Penn State softball (6-16, 0-1 Big Ten) lost their home and Big Ten opener 10-3 to Purdue (14-16, 1-0 Big Ten) Friday night at Beard Field.
Momentum started on Penn State’s side, but it didn’t stay there for very long. After holding Purdue scoreless in the first inning, the Nittany Lions were able to get on the board first. Sophomore catcher Karlie Habitz hit a double deep to left field, that allowed sophomore center fielder Lexi Knief to score from second and give Penn State the 1-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions weren’t able to hold onto that lead for very long. At the top of the second, freshman pitcher Marlaina Laubach walked leadoff batter, freshman Katy McJunkin, one of her six walks on the night. Three batters later, senior right fielder Andie Varsho hit a two run homerun over the center field wall, giving Purdue the 2-1 lead, a lead that it wouldn’t surrender.
After an uneventful third inning, the fourth was full of excitement. Varsho tallied her third RBI of the night, this time a single to left center, causing Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak to change pitchers, putting in junior Marissa Diescher.
However, not too long after Diescher took over, senior third baseman Tori Chiodo slammed a three run homerun to center field, extending Purdue’s lead to five.
Leading off for the Lions in the bottom of the fourth was freshman second baseman Shelby Miller, who drilled the ball to center field for her first triple as a Nittany Lion. Miller was then able to make it home on a sacrifice fly by freshman Kristina Brackpool.
The bottom half of Penn State’s lineup was doing more damage than the top half, until the fifth inning when senior first baseman Kasie Hatfield hit her eighth double of the season, tying her career best from 2012. Still, Penn State was not able to capitalize, as they were repeatedly caught off guard by sophomore pitcher Lilly Fecho’s off-speed pitch.
Purdue entered the seventh inning with a comfortable 6-2 lead, but that wasn’t enough for the Boilermakers. Chiodo hit a bases clearing double, bringing in three runs and raising her RBI total to six on the night.
Immediately after, senior catcher Danielle Fletcher nailed a double of her own, clearing Chiodo off the bases and making the score 10-2. Penn State was struggling to end the inning, not recording the third out until almost thirty minutes after they took the field.
At the plate, the Nittany Lions were able to score a run off of a single from Knief, but that was all they could get going, before Fecho recorded the last of her five strikeouts to end the game.
“Whether you lose by one or by seven, you still lost,” said Lehotak postgame. “We have to make better adjustments tomorrow, but that’s the great thing about (our sport). You play a lot of games and it’s a new day tomorrow.”
The Nittany Lions are back in action tomorrow against the Boilermakers in a doubleheader, with the first pitches at 3 p.m. and 5p.m.
Anna Pitingolo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.