SB: Masterful Outings from Laubach and Shaffer Not Enough as Saint Francis Sweeps Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Usually, holding opponents under two runs is a formula for success for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions came into Wednesday’s doubleheader vs. Saint Francis with a 14-3 record this year when holding opponents to two or less runs, but dropped both games to the Red Flash, 2-0 and 1-0.
Penn State (20-28) pitchers Marlaina Laubach and Madison Shaffer held Saint Francis to just three runs over 15 innings, but both hurlers were outdueled by the Red Flash’s Ethel Santai and
“That’s exactly the pitching and defense that we need to have,” said Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak following the game. The Nittany Lions have struggled defensively this season, tallying 61 errors on the year, but made none in either game at of the doubleheader.
Unfortunately for Penn State, Saint Francis’ pitching and defense were just a step higher on Wednesday night at Beard Field. Both Santai and DeVries threw complete game, shutout, one-hitters for the Red Flash, with DeVries striking out 10 over eight innings of work.
For the home team, Shaffer contained a powerful Saint Francis offense that had hit 51 home runs coming into the series to just one run in eight innings. The one run conceded by Shaffer, the eventual winning run in game two, came in the eighth inning, when Kassidy Troxell doubled home Sierra McKee.
“I thought [Shaffer] pitched good enough to win,” Lehotak said. “Her changeup was unstoppable tonight.”
Rebecca Ziegler broke up DeVries’ no-hitter in the sixth inning of game two with a leadoff single up the middle, giving the Nittany Lions their best offensive chance of either game. But, the prospect of a late-game rally died quickly.
The next batter, Toni Polk, popped up a bunt attempt to first baseman Madison Cabell, who caught Ziegler in between first and second and doubled her up at first. Penn State would fail to get another runner on base on the evening.
“They just absolutely dominated our offense, so I tip my hat to them,” Lehotak said.
Penn State will travel to College Park this weekend for a three-game series against Big Ten rival Maryland.
Patrick Burns is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.