Penn State Softball Looking to Right the Ship Against Minnesota
After a hot start to the season, Penn State softball stumbled into Big Ten play by dropping two of the three games against Iowa last weekend.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers also had their struggles last weekend as they got swept by No. 21 Northwestern.
The Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers will play each other this upcoming week and will both look to get their first series win in the conference.
Fifth-year pitcher Bailey Parshall struggled against Iowa. She gave up six earned runs over 11.0 innings pitched.
She particularly struggled in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. She gave up four earned runs in her two innings of work.
Parshall is the ace of Penn State’s pitching staff and the Nittany Lions will need a more consistent weekend from her to win the series. She is not prone to weak stretches of six games.
The Nittany Lion can also use a better hitting performance as they haven’t scored five runs or more in their last four games.
Senior infielders Kaitlyn Morrison and Lexie Black lead the team in RBIs but weren’t able to bring in runs against the Hawkeyes. Morrison’s three RBIs on the weekend came in the second game while Black didn’t have an RBI between the three games.
This duo has been the main source of Penn State’s offense this season. Morrison and Black showed this season that they can bring in runs so another silent weekend from both is unlikely.
Minnesota had a similar Big Ten opener to Penn State. It gave up 22 runs and scored nine in the three-game series.
The Golden Gophers are also going to need improvement from their ace. Fifth-year pitcher Autumn Pease gave up nine earned runs over the 10.2 innings she pitched against Northwestern.
Minnesota’s bats looked explosive in the first game last weekend. It was able to bring in seven runs off two home runs.
This wasn’t the case for the last two games as they scored one run in each. Minnesota’s lack of runs occurred because their top run providers couldn’t bring runners home.
Natalie DenHartog, Taylor Krapf and Jess Oakland all have at least 20 RBIs on the season but the trio combined for only four between the three games.
The Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers had similar performances from both sides of the field. But both teams have shown that they have the talent to improve.
Penn State’s and Minnesota’s Big Ten openers could be outliers in their performances and an exciting series should be ahead.
The first pitches in Minneapolis are set for 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Jayson O’Connell is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.