Penn State softball swept by Michigan in doubleheader
The Penn State Nittany Lions were swept in the doubleheader against the Michigan Wolverines Friday night at Beard Field. Michigan won the first contest 6-0, and the second 22-0.
Sophomore southpaw Macy Jones (0-6) got the starting nod for Penn State (6-20, 0-5 Big Ten) in the first game of the doubleheader bout against 6th ranked Michigan (24-6, 5-0 Big Ten). Jones started out the game by retiring six of the first seven Wolverines, before Michigan exploded for five runs in the third inning.
Sophomore slugger Sierra Romero smacked a two-run single with the bases loaded, increasing her RBI total to 36. Left fielder Sierra Lawrence had an RBI and a run scored, all while wreaking havoc on the bases, stealing two and advancing to third on an error, upping her total to seven on the year. Kelsey Susalla knocked in Lawrence for the fifth and final run in the third.
The sixth run came in the top of the seventh, as Jones walked Nicole Sappingfield, who advanced to third by the first extra-base hit of the game courtesy of Romero. Caitlin Blanchard drove in Sappingfield via the fielders-choice, as she grounded out to second.
Nittany Lions head coach Amanda Lehotak was really impressed by how Jones performed on the mound.
“That’s probably the best we’ve seen from Macy (Jones) all year. She has been working hard all year and we were a play away from minimizing that five run inning and really having that be a dominant start for her,” said Lehotak.
Last year’s unanimous Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Haylie Wagner (16-0), had herself an excellent day, as she held a perfect game into the bottom of the seventh inning. With just two outs away from perfection, she plunked Kasie Hatfiled on the right shoulder ending her bid for the Michigan history books. The very next batter, Penn State’s catcher Karlie Habitz, ended the no-hit attempt with a line-drive single past diving second basemen Abby Ramirez.
Wagner finished the game with six strikeouts, and just that lone hit given up over seven strong innings.
“She’s the best and absolutely dominant out there on the mound,” said Lehotak after the game.
The second game of the doubleheader was even more lopsided than the first, as respective themes stayed the same, for both the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines. Penn State’s offense remained quiet in the latter game, as Michigan’s offense continued to erupt, this time starting even earlier.
The Big Ten leaders in sac-flies put another tally in that column, as the first run came across early in the opening inning, as the Wolverines started off the game with back-to-back-to-back singles. Then Michigan’s starting pitcher two Sara Driesenga (2-3) stepped up to the plate and pounded a fastball over the right-field fence for a two-out grand slam.
Starting pitcher for the Nittany Lions, Marlaina Laubach (4-9) got rocked in the second inning as well and gave up a total of eight runs before getting pulled in favor of Christy Von Pusch. Von Pusch did not fare very well against the Big Ten’s second ranked offense, as the blue and maize ladies put up another five runs before the second inning concluded.
Meanwhile, nothing was going right for Penn State’s offense, as their bats were held in check all day.
“We just have to bring what we learn on the practice field to game day situations,” said Lehotak. “If you look at this team practicing compared to game time, they are much more relaxed up there at the plate and not trying to do too much at once.”
The Wolverines kept on scoring, adding four more runs in the top of the third inning, and capped it off with two three-run home runs in the following two innings by pinch hitters Katie Luetkens and Brandi Virgil. The high-powered Michigan offense scored at least three runs in every inning, finally calling the game for mercy rule after just five innings, giving them a 22-0 victory over Penn State.
”You lose by one or you lose by 22, a loss is a loss and we are going to have to come back tomorrow and continue competing,” said Lehotak.
The Nittany Lions look to salvage a win in the final meeting against the Wolverines on Saturday. First pitch is set for 12:00 p.m.
Nicholas Diecidue is a sophomore majoring in Energy Business and Finance. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.