Rutgers Takes Doubleheader Against Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Penn State fell to Big Ten foe Rutgers in the last two games of their three-game weekend series.
Rutgers shut out Penn State 3-0 in Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions bats sputtered, only registering one hit against starting pitcher Corah Price. Price had her way with the Penn State lineup, tossing a complete game, one-hit shutout. The most impressive part of Price’s outing was the fact that she didn’t strike out a single batter.
Instead, Price excelled in forcing convenient fly outs and ground balls, inducing contact that played into the Scarlet Knights’ defensive alignments. Her ERA shrinks to 2.95 on the season.
Penn State starter Madison Shaffer struggled to locate her pitches, helping Rutgers to get on the scoreboard. Shaffer battled command issues, walking four batters and fighting through a bevy of full counts.
Bailey Parshall relieved Shaffer with 2 outs in the top of the fourth inning. Parshall was a lone bright spot for the Nittany Lions on this game, throwing 3.1 innings, allowing no hits, no runs, and no walks, as well as four strikeouts. Her stuff was overpowering for the Rutgers lineup at times, getting several swings and misses for strikes on high fastballs.
Penn State centerfielder Dani Fey recorded the lone hit for her squad, dropping a bloop single into right center that rightfielder Adriana Burcar was unable to catch. Burcar charged the ball as it fell in front of her and dove, but the ball just managed to skip under her glove and Fey was safe at first as a result.
Rutgers took advantage of critical Penn State errors in the field. Shortstop Jess Hughes stole third, but the throw to the bag by catcher Haley Vallejos sailed into the outfield, in part because third baseman Destiny Weber was late to cover the base. Hughes got up and immediately ran home and slid in safely to take a 1-0 lead.
Hughes had a big offensive day, also driving in two runs on an RBI single in the top of the fourth inning.
Errors came back to bite Penn State in this one, as they often have throughout the 2019 season. Shortstop Melina Livingston let a sure-out pop fly drop out of her glove, allowing Anyssa Iliopoulos to come around third and score from second base.
The error came with two outs, and only looked worse as Katie Wingert followed that play up with a two-run home run to left center field, a no doubter that cleared the wall with ease.
Penn State’s bats would start to come alive in this game, making up for the defensive mistakes that put them in an initial 3-0 hole. Rightfielder Amanda Grieco laced a single into right field, scoring the designated player Ally Kurland to move within 3-1 in the third inning.
Penn State would proceed to tie up the game in the fourth inning, with Melina Livingston wrapping the ball just inside the left field line for a double to score Dani Fey.
Claire Swedberg would lift a fly ball into deep left field to score Livingston later in the inning to make it a 3-3 ballgame.
Rutgers would take back the lead with a sixth inning surge. Katie Wingert launched her third home run of the series, and second of the game, going opposite field over the right field wall.
Second baseman Aleah Marra then drove in Taylor Manno on a double to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth. Bailey Parshall got battered, not looking quite as good as her relief appearance in game one. Parshall allowed two runs on three hits while only retiring one batter.
Rutgers starting pitcher Whitney Jones was shaky, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out three. Corah Price came up big in relief of her teammate, pitching four scoreless innings and allowing only two hits.
Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak expressed disappointment in the weekend’s results.
“I’m really disappointed in our weekend. I give credit to Rutgers, I thought they flat out beat us yesterday," Lehotak said. "I don’t think we came to play today. I thought we had innings where we came to play, but tip our hat to their pitcher Price, who really kept us off balance.”
Jeremy Ganes is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.