Penn State Softball Takes 1st Game, Drops 2nd After Rainout
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State fought tooth and nail to take home a victory over the Maryland Terrapins in its first game of Big Ten conference play, taking a 2-1 walk-off victory in the bottom of the 10th inning in a game that was suspended from Thursday.
Maryland punched back, though, in Friday’s originally scheduled contest, taking down the Nittany Lions by a score of 8-3.
The opening game of the series started on Thursday evening and featured a classic pitching duel between Penn State’s senior ace Bailey Parshall and Maryland’s junior arm Trin Schlotterbeck.
Parshall and Schlotterbeck went back and forth, trading perfect and near-perfect innings, as Penn State failed to get its first hit of the game until the bottom of the third inning.
In the top of the sixth inning of a still-scoreless game, the skies opened up above Beard Field, forcing the remainder of the game to be suspended until Friday.
When action resumed, Parshall and Schlotterbeck both stepped back inside the circle, but the offenses began to show signs of life.
Sophomores connected on Penn State’s first score of the game, as Lauren Marcotte’s RBI single to right field brought in Mel Coombs for a run in the bottom of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, Parshall had Maryland down to its last strike twice but couldn’t close the deal. It would be Schlotterbeck doing the damage on offense this time, as her RBI double brought pinch-runner Kamryn Davis home to tie the game and ultimately sent it to extra innings.
In the bottom of the 10th inning of what had become a grueling game, all it took was one swing of the bat for Penn State to celebrate its eighth straight victory.
That swing came from Coombs, who belted the game-winner high over the left field wall for her first home run of the season, which came at the most opportune of times for both her and the team.
“I just wanted to put the barrel on the ball because I haven’t in the previous ones,” Coombs said. “It felt really good, and I needed it.”
The theme of defense carried over into the second game of the impromptu doubleheader, as junior pitcher Vanessa Oatley got the Nittany Lions out of a tough jam in the first inning and help keep the game scoreless through the first two frames.
The top of the third is where Maryland found its pulse on offense, though, when senior Mackense Greico hammered a solo home run to center field, giving the Terrapins their first lead of the series.
Things then fell apart for Penn State in the top of the sixth inning, as pinch-hitter Regan Kerr sliced an RBI double to deep right center, bringing in two runs and making it a 3-0 game.
That was only the beginning of the scoring barrage for Maryland, as good hitting and base running, as well as multiple errors from the Penn State defense, contributed to the Terrapins putting up an insurmountable seven runs in the top of the sixth inning alone.
Ally Kurland’s solo home run in the bottom of the sixth allowed the game to reach its full seven innings, but even with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, the damage had been done, as Maryland ended Penn State’s undefeated record at home. Maryland pitcher Courtney Wyche recorded nine strikeouts in the win.
“When you get used to playing a certain way and then something happens, you tend to just not be locked in,” coach Clarisa Crowell said. “But our defense is much better than what they showed tonight, and they’ll be better tomorrow.”
Kasey Kreider is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.