Penn State Topples Pitt in Pitching Duel for In-State Bragging Rights
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A battle between two Keystone State bluebloods wrote another chapter Tuesday night, as Penn State softball (18-4) took down the Pitt Panthers (14-11) 1-0 in a classic pitcher’s duel.
The main characters of the drama were the aforementioned pitchers. Penn State pitcher and Pittsburgh area native Bailey Parshall needed nine strikeouts to become only the second player in Penn State history to reach 700 for her career. Parshall eclipsed the mark with a crucial seventh-inning strikeout on Pitt’s Kylie Griggs and added two more in the eighth inning for 11 total on the night.
“It’s definitely games like this, they’re the most fun to pitch,” Parshall said. “For me my mindset is winning each pitch. Give up a hit, give up a walk, whatever it may be, just taking the next pitch, being resilient and going 1-0 each pitch.”
Pitt pitcher Abby Edwards was just as potent, though, as she kept Penn State without a hit until the fourth inning and without a run until the game’s final play.
But Edwards was the first to begin running out of gas as the game flipped into extra innings. Edwards left runners on first and second base for reliever Dani Drogemuller to deal with. Mel Coombs’ single loaded the bases, and Emily Maddock’s dribbler up the middle brought Liana Jones home for the only run of the contest.
Maddock was responsible for both the first and last hits of the night for the Nittany Lions in a contest that only featured five for the winning team. Despite struggling to find offense, Penn State never got out of its rhythm.
“We’re never super in our own heads or pressing really,” Maddock said. “So we just went out and did our thing, and if it didn’t go our way then we went back out on defense, did our thing, then came back in.”
“It was just building off of each other and playing selfless softball. I think we do that really well.”
It was another masterclass performance from the player her teammates call “Queen B,” as Parshall allowed only three hits – none following the fourth inning – to her hometown team.
“She works really hard at her craft. She’s passionate, she studies the game,” head coach Clarisa Crowell said. “To have her do what she did in front of our fans against Pittsburgh… I always think she just has a little something extra when she’s facing Pitt, and she had that tonight.”
The game as a whole was a shining example of a “gritty not pretty” type of victory for the Nittany Lions. The strong offense seen throughout the season’s early stages gave way to exquisite pitching and a few outstanding defensive plays. It’s a formula for success that coach Crowell thinks will serve her team well in the future.
“If you look at how we scored that run, it’s not like we were lacing the ball anywhere,” Crowell said. “We’re beating out ground balls, we’re drawing walks… I love to see that kind of fight because that’s what that kind of game takes. It takes that grittiness and that toughness.”
The Nittany Lions will aim to carry their momentum from the rivalry win to the start of Big Ten play, as they take on Iowa Friday-Sunday, Mar. 24-26 at Beard Field.
Kasey Kreider is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.