Walk-off win carries Penn State softball past Michigan, looks for another postseason win against Ind
History was made in Illinois.
Penn State topped Michigan in walk-off fashion on Wednesday for a historic win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
The narrow 3-2 victory is the blue and white’s first postseason win over the Wolverines in school history.
It was a tight game at Eichelberger Field.
The conference rivals started their aces on the mound: Bailey Parshall for the Nittany Lions and Lauren Derkowski for the Wolverines. It was a battle of the defenses at first until Michigan broke through in the second inning.
As Ellie Mataya singled and her teammates tested the Nittany Lion defense, the blue and maize were able to send a run home, taking an early 1-0 lead.
Penn State attempted to battle back, but couldn’t bring any across the plate until the fourth. Kaitlyn Morrison took action, sending a bomb to left field tying the match 1-1.
As the bats started to turn up, it seemed like Parshall was off her usual A-game. The super senior pitcher notched just three strikeouts in her four innings of pitching as she allowed another Michigan run to score.
Despite the 2-1 lead, Parshall’s counterpart Kylee Lingenfelter was able to silence the Wolverines’ offensive strides.
The clock was ticking and Penn State needed a run to keep its hopes alive – the bottom of the sixth was the Nittany Lions’ time to shine.
Emily Maddock started the frenzy with a bright single up the middle. After a Morrison double and sacrifice fly from Lexie Black, Maddock was home and the game was tied again.
It came down to the seventh and final inning as Lilia Crouthamel drew a walk to start the final at-bats. When Mel Coombs reached on a fielder's choice error, Crouthamel got the green light home, passing Michigan 3-2.
Now only one win won't be enough for the Nittany Lions as they take on the Hoosiers Thursday afternoon.
Indiana is a competitive team and sits as the second seed in the tournament.
The Hoosiers hold a 40-15 record compared to the seventh-seeded Penn State with just 31 wins under its belt.
The quarter-final battle could be a struggle for the Nittany Lions. Despite its hefty record, Indiana is home to the Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Year: Taryn Kern. The offensive beast is just one of the threats Penn State could face.
The crimson and cream have eight Big Ten honorees, across first, second and all-freshman team recognitions.
Penn State has its own award winners consisting of Black, Maddock and Parshall, yet the blue and white needs its best on the field for this pivotal postseason playoff.
The Nittany Lions are gritty and have the gift of holding aggressive teams to low scores as seen throughout this regular season. They need to start hot, score early and lock down their defense in order to match a heavy-batting Hoosier team.
The future is unclear for the Nittany Lions’ postseason, but if they carry the 1-0 mentality into their next round of tournament play, another win may be within reach.
Meghan Strange is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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