Michigan Rolls Past Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After having two mid-week games canceled, the Penn State Nittany Lions (6-24, 2-5 B1G) hosted the Michigan Wolverines (29-7, 5-1 B1G) in Penn State’s Big Ten home opener on Friday. The Wolverines rode a hot hand in the circle to a big win in the first game of the three-game series at Beard Field, 14-2 in six innings.
“It’s three games [this weekend], so tomorrow is a whole new day,” Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak said.
A quiet first inning allowed Michigan pitcher Meghan Beaubien to settle in for another solid outing in the circle for the Wolverines. She picked up her 21st win of the season with five innings pitched, giving up only three hits, two runs, while striking out ten Nittany Lion batters. Her performance Friday maintains her spot as number one in the nation in wins.
The Wolverines then opened up the scoring in the second inning by getting three runs off of four hits and an error in the inning. Right fielder Aidan Falk drove in her lone RBI in the game on a double. Penn State pitcher Jessica Cummings struggled out of the gate and took her ninth loss on the season after giving up nine earned runs, 14 hits and just two strikeouts.
“[Beaubien] has been that dominant all year,” Lehotak said. “I actually liked our attack against her, she’s good, and I thought we got better as the game went on.”
Beaubien started to get into her groove in the second inning and went on to put down eight consecutive batters. The Michigan offense gave her all the cushion she needed on the scoreboard and they put up seven runs through five innings. Center fielder Natalie Peters and designated-player Lou Allan hit home runs in the stretch who both had two hits in the game.
Penn State’s only runs came in the home half of the fifth inning. After a walk and single from catcher Kennedy Legg and third basemen Destiny Weber. Following a sacrifice bunt from shortstop Gianna Arrizurieta, Amanda Greico came in to pinch hit and roped a double to bring in the lone two runs the Nittany Lions were able to score in the game.
“We’re going to take a step back [and] re-evaluate what we could have done different,” Weber said. “At the end of the day, the score doesn’t matter, only the win or the loss...so we’re going to look at what we can improve.”
Michigan broke the game wide open in the sixth, sending twelve batters to the plate and scoring seven runs on five hits and a Penn State error. Allan got her second RBI of the day with a double, and catcher Katie Alexander also got an RBI single as a part of her three-hit night.
Along with Greico’s double, Penn State only had two other hits in the game from Weber and left fielder Tori Dubois in the game.
The Nittany Lions and Wolverines meet again in game two of their three-game set at Beard Field on Saturday. Then they will play the series finale on Sunday. After the conclusion of this series, Penn State travels to Columbus for a midweek doubleheader against Ohio State before returning home for a series against Michigan State. Michigan will start a five-game homestand against Eastern Michigan, Michigan State, and finishing with a three-game series against Rutgers.
Joe Skinner is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.