Penn State softball falls to Michigan in pitching gem

Story posted April 7, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

Lou Allan hit a two-run homerun in the top of the seventh inning as 17th-ranked Michigan beat Penn
State 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in Beard Field. Madison Shaffer went the distance in the loss for the
Nittany Lions.

Tera Blanco started the game for the Wolverines, allowing one hit in five innings of work. She was
replaced by Meghan Beaubien, who was responsible for the win in yesterday’s game. Kennedy Legg
doubled in the bottom of the first inning, the only hit Penn State recorded the whole game.

Shaffer had locked down the Wolverines’ offense until the top of the seventh inning when Blanco hit a
double off the wall to get the inning started. Allan was the next batter and drove the pitch over the
centerfield fence to put Michigan ahead. Haley Hoongenraad singled to right field with two outs to bring
in pinch runner Nikki Ward for the final run.

As the cold wind blew through Beard Field, a pitching duel was taking place in the circle.

Through six innings, neither team could buy a run as the Wolverines stranded 11 runners while the
Nittany Lions left five stranded.

The offense for Penn State had struggled going into the game and the ability of Blanco on the mound did
not make matters any easier. The lack of baserunners for the Nittany Lions was not the biggest issue for
head coach Amanda Lehotak. Instead, she said it the team’s inability to hit with runners on base.

“I’m more disappointed when we had runners on, we just couldn’t get the big hit,” Lehotak said.

Blanco gave up a double to Legg in the bottom of the first inning, giving Penn State runners on
second and third with only one out. The Michigan pitcher worked her way out of a jam by striking out
Destiny Weber, then forcing Meghan Williams to fly out to first.

The Wolverines’ struggled from the plate as well as they recorded only two hits before the seventh
inning. Michigan had plenty of opportunities to score as 12 runners were left stranded during the course
of the game.

Shaffer was the main reason for Michigan’s lack of runs, as she was able to work her way out of trouble
throughout the game. She explained how her ability to keep calm under pressure helped her get out of
jams.

“Just keep calm, don’t change anything,” Shaffer said. “You know how to pitch, just positive self-talk
honestly.”

Her performance kept the Nittany Lions in the game, but they could not generate enough offense to
help out Shaffer. Delaney Elling almost provided a spark for Penn State in the bottom of the seventh
when she hit a line drive down the left field line that just went foul.

The score would have been 3-1 if the ball stayed fair, but a late game home run off of the nation’s leader
in wins might have sparked a late inning rally. Beaubien picked up her 22nd win for the Wolverines,
improving their record to 30-7 on the season. Shaffer drops to 2-13 with the Nittany Lions’ overall
record being 6-25. Penn State will look to avoid the sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m.

 

 

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email
jje5139@psu.edu.