Series Preview: Penn State Softball vs. Indiana
Following an exciting finish to their weekend in Ann Arbor, the Penn State Nittany Lions will return home to Beard Field to face the Indiana Hoosiers in a three-game series this weekend.
After a rough start to the weekend, the Nittany Lions bounced back for a historic upset over No. 22 Michigan on Sunday afternoon. They snapped a 39-game losing streak against Michigan that dated back to 2007.
It was a familiar sight for Clarisa Crowell’s squad, a well-pitched game that was decided by heroics late.
The hero in this game was Cassie Lindmark, who has been a force from the lead-off spot all season long. Lindmark reached base four times on Sunday, including her go-ahead home run in the seventh inning.
Lindmark was the only Penn State player who did not struggle to reach base on Sunday. The rest of the lineup reached a combined four times and struck out 17 times against Alex Storako.
The blue and white offense will look to get back on track against a struggling Indiana pitching staff this weekend.
The Hoosier pitching staff has posted a combined ERA of 4.36 and a WHIP of 1.57, two things that bode well for opposing hitters.
Macy Montgomery has set herself above the rest of the Indiana pitchers. Montgomery has pitched to an ERA of 3.62 and a WHIP of 1.51 with 75 strikeouts in 87 innings pitched.
But for Indiana, there is a sharp decline to the next best pitcher, Heather Johnson, who has a 4.59 ERA in 71.2 innings pitched.
For Lindmark and the rest of the Penn State lineup, this should be a welcome sight.
Lindmark is batting .416 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. In addition to that, the Kentucky transfer has an on base percentage of .518, which has been propelled by her 12 walks and 13 hit-by-pitches.
Her fellow backstop, Ally Kurland has also been productive for the Nittany Lions. Kurland is hitting .341 with 14 home runs and 35 RBIs. Add in clutch hits from the rest of the lineup, and the Nittany Lions offense can get things done in big moments.
Like normal, those two catchers will be catching a dominating pitching staff this weekend with Bailey Parshall leading the way.
Parshall faltered in Friday’s contest, but was able to bounce back with two solid outings to finish the weekend. The ace for Penn State posts a 1.57 ERA, .80 WHIP and 139 strikeouts in 134 innings pitched this season.
But Indiana’s lineup will be no cake walk for the staff, which also includes two reliable options in Kylee Lingenfelter and Vanessa Oatley, as the Hoosiers have seven hitters batting .300 or better and two of those batting over .450.
Cora Basset has led the team in hitting from the start, hitting .455 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs.
Though recently there has been another heavy contributor for coach Shonda Stanton. Taylor Minnick is batting .463 with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 41 at-bats.
The outfielder received Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for her four hit, five run, one home run and five walk weekend in a sweep over Rutgers.
This series is eerily similar to the Purdue series for Penn State. The Nittany Lions went into that series with cold bats and produced 26 runs over a three-game sweep. For the pitching staff, it looked like it might struggle against the top hitters, but it allowed just five runs.
The Nittany Lions will aim to have a similar weekend to that one especially with home-field advantage on their side. Penn State is 11-2 at Beard Field, while Indiana is just 3-8 on the road.
First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, April 15 with afternoon start times scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Justin Ciavolella is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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