Penn State Defeats Maryland 8-3

Story posted March 24, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Gregory Merchlinsky

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Similar to the State College weather recently, It was a day of highs and lows for the Penn State softball team (4-19, 1-1) as the Nittany Lions split a doubleheader with the Maryland Terrapins (11-20, 1-1) on Saturday afternoon.

The high spots for the Nittany Lions came during the first game of the doubleheader, as Penn State cruised to an 8-3 victory in large part due to the pitching performance by Jessica Cummings.

The senior pitcher went all seven innings while striking out seven and only allowing three runs on five hits. The Nittany Lions’ bats were also alive during the first game of the doubleheader as the team combined for 11 hits with Destiny Weber leading the way as she went 2-3 with a double and 2 RBIs.

However, the second game for the Nittany Lions was a completely different story. Maryland put all on the pressure on Penn State from the start and ran away with an 8-0 win in just five innings.

This time, the Terrapins were on fire from the plate as the team notched 8 runs on 10 hits, while the Nittany Lions were unable to get anything going with the bats with only two hits.

Errors also plagued the Nittany Lions in the 1 inning as two runs were scored on errors in the second inning.

Penn State started hot in the first half of the doubleheader with a big first inning that would ultimately put Maryland in a whole they were unable to overcome.

The Nittany Lions blew the game open in the first with five runs on six hits. Dana Fey lead the inning off with single to right. Delaney Elling was able to advance Fey on a bloop single to right that just barely missed the foul line.

First baseman Meghan Williams got the scoring going for Penn State with an RBI single to give the Nittany Lions the 1-0 lead. Toni Polk would add another run for the Nittany Lions with a short hit to right-center that allowed Elling to round home.

Sophomore Kennedy Legg laid down a perfect bunt to allow for Williams to come home to put the Nittany Lions up 3-0. The scoring wasn’t over yet for Penn State as Destiny Weber doubled down the left field foul line bringing in two runs on a stand up double capping off a five-run inning for the Nittany Lions.

Maryland would be unable to answer in the top of the second as Cummings would continue to dominate retiring the side with the three quick outs.

Head coach Amanda Lehotak was extremely proud of Cummings performance crediting her being able to consistently deal strikes and pitch a clean game.

“This was her first game not having any walks which is a huge step for her,” Lehotak said. ”When she hit times of adversity, she was able to keep her composure and still attack the batters showing a lot of maturity and aggressiveness.”

Penn State picked right back up from where they left in the bottom of the second with Tori Dubois’s leadoff double down the left field foul line. Penn State would utilize the small ball method again, as Williams dropped a beautiful bunt down the first base line bring Dubois home to give Penn State a six-run advantage.

The bats continued to roll for Penn State as Legg drove one deep into center bringing Delaney Elling home, who had walked on the previous at-bat and making the score 7-0 Penn State.

Cummings would again produce a three up, three down inning for the Nittany Lions and left the Terrapins hitless through three innings.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning when Maryland was able to produce their first hit. Brigette Nordberg started the top of the fourth with a single followed by an Amanda Brashear bunt single. Second basemen Skylynne Ellazar recorded an RBI single that got the first run on the board for the Terrapins.

Brashear scored on a fielder choice later in the inning to cut the Penn State lead to five, but Cummings delivered her fifth strikeout of the game to end the inning.

The Nittany Lions would add an insurance run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice bunt attempt from Amanda Greico brings home Williams, who singled to lead off the inning.

The Terrapins only answer to the Penn State lead would come late in the seventh and final inning when Bailey Boyd was able to round home on a fielder’ choice making the score 8-3. Williams would make the final out of the game on an unassisted groundout to first giving the Nittany Lions a good start to Big Ten Ten play with a win.

The next game for the Nittany Lions looked as almost if a completely different team was out there.

The Nittany Lions struggled to generate any offense and also played sloppy on defense.

Maryland’s Sydney Golden was lights out from the mound in the second game of the doubleheader as she only allowed two hits in five innings.

Offensively for the Terrapins, it was Sophomore Anna Kufta that made the biggest impact in the game with two doubles and 2 RBIs.

Penn State trailed in the second inning after Maryland took a four-run lead in the second inning and could not get the bats going at all to try to cut into Maryland’s lead.

Lehotak said that it was inconsistency today that was the biggest factor the team will look at before tomorrow’s series finale.

“We just have to have better at-bats and get back to attacking their batters instead of pitching around them like we did in the first game,” Lehotak said. “We just need to stay consistent and I think we will be fine.”

Penn State finishes its home series with Maryland tomorrow at 1 p.m.

 

Gregory Merchlinsky is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in Political Science. To contact him, email glm5163@psu.edu.