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Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- This weekend was full of plenty of
action at Beard field as the Penn State softball team dominated Rutgers
for the first Big Ten three-game sweep of the season
To open up the weekend, the Nittany Lions
secured a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth with junior Shannon Good's first
career home run. Good was one of five Penn Staters to make a presence at bat
during the first game of the series.
"I think this series was good for the
team, Rutgers is highly respected team and when playing a team like them we
have to always show we're willing to fight for the win," said head coach Amanda Lehotak.
The team honored three seniors before the
start of Saturday's game, Meghan Bradley, Marissa Diescher and Alicia Walker.
Jessica Cummings, who was the team's star
pitcher Friday night, continued to throw a great game on Saturday. She pitched
the first five innings, then teammate Macy Jones close the game on the mound. Despite the Scarlet Knights getting on
the board in the first inning, the Lions brought their batting game and ended
the game with a 12-6 victory.
Freshman Alyssa VanDerveer lead the
charge offensively with her 13th home run of the season and drove in three
additional runs to help the Nittany Lions take the win.
"Rally innings are a huge part of our
game, every time I get a hit I know I'm helping my team win," said VanDerveer.
Coming off of another victory over the
Scarlet Knights, the Blue and White entered the third and final game hungry for
Rutgers got on the board early and
finished the first inning with two runs and four hits. After four innings, both
teams remained scoreless until the Scarlet Knights widened the lead with a
single home run by Sierra Maddox in the top of the sixth. Despite being three behind Rutgers,
PSU entered the bottom of the seventh inning determined to fight.
At the top of the batting lineup, Jones
singled and VanDerveer walked, however due to an illegal pitch both Jones and
pinch runner Maegan Tupinio advanced to second and third. Pond stepped up to
the plate and homered to right field, making the game tied 3-3 and giving the
Lions back life in the game. Pitcher Marlaina Laubach prevented the
Scarlet Knights from scoring in the eighth and ninth inning as the rest of
defense made sure to stop any ball that came its' way.
Going into extra innings, Penn State and
Rutgers remained tied until Knief singled to centerfield to send Walker home to
finish the game and complete the sweep.
"Although we were behind, we never gave
up. We pride ourselves on being a team that fights until the end and that's
what gave us the win today," said
The Nittany Lions are 27-24 overall and
are 9-11 in Big Ten play. This weekend also marks the team's 11th home victory
of the season, the most since 2012.
"This series gave us some confidence I
think we needed as we prepare for Pitt and Michigan," said coach Lehotak.
Although the Blue and White are done with
home games this season, the team will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday for a mid-week
matchup. This will be the second time Lehotak and the team will face the
Panthers this season. The first pitch is to be thrown at 6 p.m. After
Pitt, the team will take on the last regular season series against No. 4
Michigan in Ann Arbor for a three-game weekend. The first of the series is set
to begin at 6 p.m. Friday night.
By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - The Penn State softball team split its doubleheader with Saint
Francis University Wednesday night. The Nittany Lions dropped game one 5-4 then
rebounded with a resounding 14-2 (5) victory in game two.
gloomy skies and scattered showers threatened to shorten the night, but a
little water wasn't enough to stop the two Commonwealth foes from completing
both contests. The mixture of rain, wind, and chilly temperatures usually goes
great with some defensive mishaps, but the stout PSU group only committed one
error on the night.
game one, Jessica Cummings pitched a fantastic game in the wet conditions. The
freshman completed all seven innings while allowing only six hits and notching
five strikeouts, but the Red Flash were able to push across five runs in the
"I'm very happy with
Jess. I think they only had really two hard hits the whole game," said head coach
Amanda Lehotak. "She has had a bit of bit luck. We call her the bloop queen. We
haven't really played well behind her either, but she keeps getting better and
better. If she's going to pitch her best ball, now's the time to do it."
Offensively, the Nittany
Lions stalled a bit against three SFU hurlers. The team totaled five hits in
the game, but they saw productions across the lineup as four different Nittany
Lions recorded an RBI. Sophomore Shelby Miller continued her offensive
onslaught with two of PSU's five base knocks. She has now risen her batting
average to .355 on the year.
Penn State had a
chance in the bottom of the seventh, but the late rally ran out of gas. After a
pair of one out walks with the bases loaded, the Nittany Lions found themselves
within one run with the powerful Kristina Brackpool coming to the plate.
Brackpool, who leads the team in RBIs, put together a solid at-bat and fouled
off pitch after pitch until finally popping up to end the game. She did,
however, smack a double earlier in the game and added another RBI to give her
42 on the season.
"She's the one we
wanted in that position," Lehotak said. "She's a deep ball threat and a tough
out. We want a big hit from her every game and everything beyond that is a
The hits and runs that
eluded Penn State's sticks in game one came out to play in game two. The Blue
and White scored five in the third and nine in the fourth to put away the Red
Flash. The 14 runs scored were the second most scored in one game this season
for the Nittany Lions. The team hasn't amounted that many runs or finished off
a team in five innings since April 4.
Macy Jones was the
star for PSU at the plate and in the circle in game two. The junior threw all
five innings while allowing one earned run and six hits. The win brings her to
7-3 on the year as her performance lowered her ERA to a team best 3.00. Just to
add to her dominance, Jones slugged a no-doubter to right field in the third
inning to give her 10 dingers this year. She totaled three RBIs and scored two
more runs in the throttling of SFU.
VanDerveer also added to her homerun total with a long ball in the third inning
a few pitches after Jones smacked hers. She leads the team with 12. Lexi Knief
and Kristina Brackpool contributed multi-hit games in the offensive show.
"It's a lot of fun,"
said Brackpool. "Scoring a lot on offense is the most fun you can have. The
first game we struggled a little bit but the second game we came out and our
hits came together."
"The first game I feel
like we were really pressing," Jones said. "We felt like we should beat them so
it made us not play our game. The second game we tried to focus on giving a lot
of effort and playing our game and our style. The outcome obviously showed that
that's what we need to keep doing."
Next Up: Rutgers
Penn State will play
its final home series of 2015 this weekend against the Scarlet Knights. The
eventful weekend includes Bark at the Park on Friday, Senior Day on Saturday,
and the Pink Zone game on Sunday. It will be a fun-filled weekend, but the
Nittany Lions have some work to do in the series as the end of the B1G season
is rapidly approaching.
Rutgers comes into the
weekend sitting at sixth place in the conference and winning six of their past
eight contests. The Scarlet Knights feature seven hitters above .300, led by
senior outfielder Jackie Bates who sports a .389 average. Bates also leads the
team in RBIs (44), homeruns (16), slugging (.905), and runs (48). Her 16 homers
is second best in the conference and her 48 runs scored is good for fifth in
On the hill, RU boasts
a powerful lefty in Alyssa Landrith. The senior is 14-8 on the year with a 3.19
ERA and 116 strikeouts. Besides Landrith, the Scarlet Knights aren't too scary
in the circle, so getting to her early and driving her out of the game should
be the goal of the PSU offense.
"The series this
weekend is really important," Jones said. "It's our senior weekend so we really
want to play for the seniors and get a good outcome for them. They're beatable
so we just want to just play our game and take this momentum to the weekend."
"Rutgers is really
good," said Lehotak. "I think they have seven hitters hitting over .300. I
think it could be a couple of high scoring games because we're two very similar
teams. Their pitching staff is giving up a lot of runs but they score a lot of
Penn State currently
sits at 11th place in the B1G, but a series win could vault them
right back in contention for a playoff spot. Adversely, getting swept or losing
the series might put the Nittany Lions in too big a hole. It's fair to say this
will be the most important series for PSU so far this season.
Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the
regular season starts to wind down, the softball team is set to host the second
to last home series on Wednesday, Apr. 22. The Blue and White will welcome
Saint Francis to Beard Field hungry for a doubleheader sweep. Penn State enters the series sporting a 23-23
record going 7-6 at home.
Although Saint Francis isn't in the B1G,
the Red Flash comes to Happy Valley with a 26-12 record. First meeting in 1990,
Penn State leads the series 30-3 winning the last contest, 9-1, on April 2,
Taylor Parsons leads the Red Flash with a .373
batting average earning 47 hits. Another offensive leader is sophomore Alexis
Bower with a .296 batting average, four homers, and 34 hits.
At the mound, Blaire Lauthers and Ethel Santai
lead SFU earning 12 and seven wins, respectively.
PSU is entering the doubleheader with
determination to put on a show for its home crowd.
The team has been consistently aggressive at the
plate with Lexi Knief, Macy Jones, and Kristina Brackpool leading the team with
.410, .365, and .362 batting averages, respectively. Also making an impact at the plate is freshman
Alyssa VanDerveer. With a .294 batting average, she is leading the team with 11
home runs. Brackpool and Jones follow closely behind recording nine homeruns
To match the team's powerful at bats, the Nittany Lions are
staying solid on the field and at the mound. The Lions' top three pitchers are Marlaina Laubach with 74 strikeouts,
Jessica Cummings with 59, and Macy Jones with 29. Laubach leads the team with
121.1 innings pitched earning 10 wins.
This team has worked hard to be a tough team both
on the road and at home. With the dedication of the players and coaches, Penn
State is fighting for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament.
Wednesday's series against Saint Francis is bound to be a
battle as the first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. followed by the second game at
By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When looking at any sports team there's a clear
structure of people all working together to accomplish one goal. Some of those
such as coaches and players become the face of the team, while behind them are
the backbone of the team--the managers.
Managers spend countless hours compiling
paperwork, charting team statistics, gathering equipment and any other tasks
managers are a huge part of this team and family," said head coach Amanda Lehotak. "It's amazing how
much they do for us and how helpful it is having them."
The Penn State softball team has four current
student managers, Jon Herzing, Nathan Sterner, Alex Comonitski, and Jordan
These four dedicate their free time to help the
coaching staff and make sure the team is always game ready.
"You'd be amazed
with everything those kids do, although they aren't officially on the roster they're a huge
part of the team," said coach Lehotak.
Currently a sophomore, Alex is one of the main
student managers for the team and has been for roughly two years now.
Starting her first semester she was in contact
with the softball coaching staff and quickly became a part of the team shortly
Although Alex does a wide range of task to help
out the team, her specific job is working with a program called "Right View
During every game Alex sits with the computer,
recording every pitch, at-bat and defensive play. That's because after the game she combines all the
data and with help of the software, creates various report-cards and stat
sheets which show the team's performance during each game.
This program is especially helpful for the
coaches and players to see how their performance is against various hitters or
pitchers so they can continue to get better as the season progresses.
become a manager was the best decision I have made while being a student at
said Alex Comonitski.
"Going to the
field everyday and having the feeling like I am a part of something important
is the most rewarding part of the job," she added.
Growing up playing competitive softball, Alex
feels grateful she's still able to play an important role.
"I have always
loved the idea of a team and being one big "family." Its rewarding knowing that I found my place on
this campus and the work that I am doing is a contribution to the success of
the team. I'm
also grateful for the things I have learned," Comonitski explained.
Alongside Alex is sophomore Jordan who also the
most senior member of the student managers.
Jordan is originally from Effort, Pennsylvania near
the Poconos and is a biology major with dreams of becoming a physician's assistant
or coach in the future.
Similar to Alex, Jordan started his manager
duties during freshman year. Growing up Jordan played sports and watched his
own dad coach, so naturally managing a varsity sport interested him as soon as he stepped foot on campus.
"One of the
best parts of being a manger is the amount of people I've met and
able to do with the team, said Caffrey. "It's an amazing
Being a biology major and involved in other
activities on campus, Jordan always makes sure to mange his time properly, so
he can travel with the team and be available every game and practice.
can be time demanding, I enjoy every minute of the job," said Caffrey
The softball team is a perfect example of just
how much student managers can help a team, both on the field and off. They
become not only important assets to the coaching staff, but they're an
essential part of the team's overall blue print toward success.
do so much, There's not a day that goes by without realizing how
lucky we are to have them," Lehotak said.
By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a confidence-boosting doubleheader sweep of
Ohio State, the Penn State softball team (23-20, 6-8) will travel to College
Park, Md. for a three-game weekend series against the new kids on the block,
the Maryland Terrapins.
The first pitch of the weekend will be thrown at 6 p.m. on Friday night, then
the new conference foes will face off at 1 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday
morning. The series finale on Sunday will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten
Penn State enters the series riding some momentum, as the pair of wins on
Wednesday night vaulted it from 12th to seventh place in the B1G.
Adversely, Maryland has dropped three straight and six of their last eight,
downgrading it to a three-way tie for the ninth position.
In their first season in the B1G, the Terps boast a 23-19 record with a 5-7
mark in the conference. After an abysmal 11-win season in the ACC in 2014, the
Terps rebounded well and has exceeded expectations this season.
Leading the charge for the Terrapins at the dish are outfielders Erin
Pronobis and Hannah Dewey. Pronobis ranks fifth in the conference with 11 long
balls. She leads the team with 40 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .715. Dewey
tops Maryland with a .388 batting average and a .556 on-base percentage. She
also sees her fair share of time in the circle. The versatile sophomore has
gone 4-8 this season in 24 appearances.
The clear number one for the Terps on the hill is senior Kaitlyn Schmeiser.
In the team's 42 contests this year, Schmeiser has thrown a pitch in 37 of
them. She totals 158.1 innings on the mound, and has worked her way to a 17-7
record. Her 3.31 ERA ranks seventh in the B1G.
The Nittany Lions will seek to counter Schmeiser with a bevy of offensive
studs, highlighted by Lexi Knief. The junior has risen her batting average to
an impressive .414 on the year while smacking 55 hits, fifth most in the
conference. Macy Jones has also had a fantastic season as she sports a .461 OBP
and a .630 slugging percentage. The junior has also cracked eighth homers and
A defining key to the series for Penn State will be limiting walks.
Maryland has a patient lineup that has worked the second most free passes in
the B1G this year, so the PSU pitching staff will have to pound the zone and
force U of M to beat them with its sticks. The Nittany Lions have surrendered
159 bases on balls this year.
Another X-factor for the Blue and White will be Mollie Sorenson. The
freshman has slowly moved up to the two-hole and has been incredibly efficient
since B1G play began. Sorenson is batting .297 on the year, but she's hitting
.417 in conference games with 20 base knocks and 12 runs scored. She will need
to stay hot in the B1G to give the offense a boost this weekend.
By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State softball battled to earn both
wins in Wednesday night's doubleheader against rival Ohio State. Although
the team started behind in both games, the Blue and White stayed focus to come
out on top.
think these games really allowed our kids to bounce back from Indiana and gave
them some confidence back and that's huge right now," said head coach Amanda Lehotak.
Both Penn State and Ohio State battled
but PSU proved how hungry it was for the wins.
"I'll take two
ugly wins over a pretty loss any day," said
Lehotak. Although it wasn't the best looking series I'm proud of
the way the team fought back and got the wins.
Starting the first game off strong, the
Blue and White jumped onto the scoreboard during the third inning where Penn
State made a three-point trail into a tied ball game.
Kristina Brackpool's homer in the bottom of the sixth secured the
victory for Penn State when she hit in two additional runs.
Moving on that momentum, the team held
its' ground both
at the plate and in the field to end the game in a 7-6 victory.
definitely were hungry for the win tonight," said Brackpool. "Ohio State is such a deep routed rivalry
anytime we face each other it's going to be an intense game and I'm going to do
anything I can to help my team win."
Starting the second game off slower than
the first, the Nittany Lions trailed OSU 6-0 until the fifth inning.
The Lions stayed relaxed at the plate and
started to get on base. A double by Lexi Knief brought in the first run for the
team and would be the start of a game-changing inning for Penn State.
An added pinch-hit single by Shannon Good
helped Penn State climb its way back from a 6-0 trail to 6-4 game.
With bases loaded and Brackpool up to
bat, the sophomore hit a grand slam and gave her team its first lead of the
game. Coming out of the inning, Penn State made
sure to protect the lead with strong defense and great pitching by Jessica
Cummings. She only allowed one hit over the final three innings of the game to
help her team maintain the lead.
threw a really good game tonight and we always want to make sure we're playing
our best defensive game to make it easier on our pitchers," said Kristina Brackpool.
The Lions kept the momentum going into
the sixth inning, with Pond sending a two-run shot over the left field fence
and Brackpool adding an RBI double to center.
Proving it's never too late in the game for a
turnaround, the Nittany Lions defeated the Buckeyes 11-6 for a series sweep.
"We're at the
point were every game is an important game in the season. This series prepared us
big time for Maryland. Ohio State and Maryland are both good teams but they
also show some similarity especially in pitching styles," said coach Lehotak.
Coming off a big win over the Buckeyes,
the Nittany Lions are excited to play new conference foe Maryland this weekend.
think if we perform like we did tonight and clean up some little things, we'll give
Maryland a good fight," said coach Lehotak.
Penn State is 23-20 overall with a 6-8
record in Big Ten play.
Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - The Penn State softball team continues its season on Wednesday,
April 15 as it hosts the Ohio State Buckeyes in a doubleheader. The first pitch
will be at 5:30 p.m., and the second game will commence shortly after.
Lions come into the series sporting a 21-20 record on the year, with a 4-8 mark
in Big Ten competition. Coach Lehotak and her squad will be looking to bounce
back after dropping three straight games to Indiana over the weekend.
Fresh off a
four game winning streak, OSU comes into the match up with a 22-16 record on
the year (6-6 B1G). Their hot spurt has vaulted the Buckeyes to seventh place
in the Big Ten, while PSU sits at 12th. A Penn State sweep would put
them right back in contention for the final playoff spot.
in Penn State's way is the brute force that is OSU's offense. The Buckeyes have
trouble keeping runs off the board, but they can sure put some big numbers up.
Led by senior Caitlyn Conrad, OSU features nine hitters who carry a batting
average above .300, and it's totaled 44 long balls this season.
enters the series with a .394 batting average. She leads the team with 52 hits,
nine home runs, nine steals, and three triples. Redshirt junior Maddie McIntyre
has been just as solid for the Buckeyes this year, leading the team in slugging
(.761), on base percentage (.532), and runs scored (37).
think it easily could be two slug fest games," head coach Amanda Lehotak
said. "They're pitching isn't dominant and neither is ours. Our goal is to
get ground balls from their hitters and hopefully we keep swinging the bat well
and get our timely hitting back."
circle, the Buckeyes boast a mediocre team ERA of 5.63. Senior Olivia O'Reilly
leads the way with a 4.09 ERA to go along with a 12-6 record. The OSU pitching
staff has given up a whopping 52 homers this season, which comes to nearly two
per game. It has also surrendered 204 walks on the year, which trails only Iowa
for most in the conference this season.
State's staff has been more consistent, deeper, and flat out better than the
Buckeyes' this season. The team ERA of 4.47 ranks fifth in the B1G, and PSU has
allowed just 153 free passes. Macy Jones and Marlaina Laubach have been the
brightest stars on the hill for PSU this season, with ERAs of 3.19 and 3.39,
PSU will be
looking to lengthen their streak of 12 consecutive games with double-digit
hits, while Macy Jones seeks to extend her career high 12-game hit streak.
the Nittany Lions dropped both games to OSU in a similar mid-week doubleheader
and were ousted by the Buckeyes in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Revenge will most definitely be the theme of the evening on Wednesday.
By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Back on the road, the Penn State softball
team traveled to Wisconsin for a three-game weekend series. The Nittany Lions continued
their hot streak by ending the series, 2-1.
On Friday night, Penn State split a doubleheader
with Wisconsin but scored a combined 24 runs and had 26 hits. The team ended
the first game with a 11-8 victory then fell in a heartbreaker that resulted in
a 14-13 loss.
After the loss, the Blue and White came back
hungry on Saturday and made sure to bring its batting game.
The third and final game of the series ended in
Penn State defeating Wisconsin 15-5.
"It was a
crazy series for sure, after Friday night's lost our players came out strong Saturday and
adjusted the way we wanted them to," head coach Amanda Lehotak said.
The team was trailing 5-4 in the fourth inning
when Shelby Miller started the spark of the Lions' bats. Determined for the runs, Miller drilled a
pitch over the right center field and jumped the scoreboard giving Penn State an
Following Miller's power hit, Reina Furuya gave the team a
second grand slam for the game. She blasted the ball over center field with
bases loaded making the score 13-5.
"I'm so proud of
these kids, it's great we're seeing grand slams but what that shows me is
the girls are staying more relaxed and confident at the plate which is key to
good offensive softball," coach Lehotak said.
Currently with a 21-17 overall record and a 4-5
standing in the Big Ten, the Lions will host rivals Ohio State in a double
header Wednesday night. Coming off of a powerful weekend, the Lions will be
looking to keep the ball rolling as they prepare for the Buckeyes.
By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The Nittany Lions (19-16, 2-4) continued their hot streak, sweeping Bucknell (19-14,
1-2) in a Wednesday night doubleheader.
Penn State got off to
a slow start in game one, but the bats finally caught fire in the seventh
inning. Trailing 8-4 entering the bottom half of the seventh, the Lions put
together an impressive rally featuring a grand slam by Alyssa VanDerveer to tie
the game followed by a walk-off pinch-hit single courtesy of Kristina Brackpool
to win the game, 9-8.
"We're the cardiac
kids," said head coach Amanda Lehotak. "We're definitely giving the season
ticket holders a show. I loved the maturity we showed in game one."
VanDerveer shined once
again for the Lions, going 3-3 in the contest with five RBIs, stretching her
hitting streak to eight games. She is now batting .290 on the year, .078 higher
than where she was just 22 days ago on March 10. Her grand slam gives her seven
home runs on the year, including her fourth dinger in the last eight games.
"I was just trying to
drive someone in, even if it was one run. I was looking for a pitch to hit, but
even if I just hit a deep fly ball that was going to do the job," VanDerveer
said. "It was a memorable experience."
the hero of game one, came up huge for the Nittany Lions after missing the past
three games. With her first swing of the night she propelled Penn State to a
"My approach in the
box is do whatever I can do to help the team," said Brackpool. "I try to have
the same approach every single at-bat. In that situation I knew a base hit
would score the runner."
Shelby Miller and Macy
Jones were major contributors in game one as well, scoring two runs each and
both recording multi-hit games to raise their batting averages well over .300.
Jones also threw five solid innings to pick up the win.
Penn State's momentum
clearly carried over to game two, notching five runs in each of the first two
innings to cruise to a 13-1 win in five innings.
"We had a much better
game two, Lehotak said. "It was good to see us come out to a fast start in the
second game. We have to stop starting slow."
where she left off in game one, smacking three hits including a grand slam of
her own in the second inning. Her six RBI's in the doubleheader gives her a
team-leading 24 this season. She is now batting .354 on the year.
Shelby Miller added
another multi-hit game while knocking in three runs and scoring two. She now
has herself a seven game hit streak. Freshman Mollie Sorenson also broke out
for three hits and three runs in game two. Sorenson has moved up and down in
the lineup all year, but she may have found her niche in the two-hole.
"She had a great series
against Michigan State. I think you're starting to see her come around," said
Lehotak. "She made a couple adjustments with her hands and her footwork and
ever since she's done that she's been on fire."
On the mound, Jessica
Cummings was untouchable in game two. In five innings, Cummings surrendered
just one run on two hits. She added five strikeouts in a masterful performance
for the Nittany Lions.
"Whether we're down by
13 or up by 13 it's my job to throw strikes, get ground balls and give our defense
a chance to make plays," Cummings said. "I think it's really important to keep
the same mindset. We have a plan going into every game and it's always get
ahead and get ground balls.
The sweep added two
wins to an already-dominating 26-5 record over the Bison dating back to 1966.
Penn State has now won six out of its last seven contests, and hopes to stay
hot in chilly Madison, Wisc. in a weekend series against the Badgers.
By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sophomore Shelby Miller and freshman Alyssa VanDerveer led the charge as the Penn State softball team defeated Robert Morris 2-0 and 9-1 in Wednesday night's doubleheader.
The Lions made their presence known at the plate. As a team, strikeouts improved from 11 in the first game to only two in the second.
"I think comparing the two games, we seemed much more relaxed at the plate during the second game," said head coach Amanda Lehotak.
In the opener, the blue and white got on the board early with a pair of runs during the first inning with a single by VanDerveer and a throwing error by RMU.
Although the Lions weren't able to increase those runs, the team stayed focused and determined to prevent the Colonials from scoring.
"I would say defensive play is extremely important. Sometimes during a game we're faced with a pitcher, like Robert Morris's, who knows how to keep off us the bases and that's when the team really needs to adjust our hitting approach and make sure we're staying focused on the field," said Lehotak.
Although two runs may not be the biggest lead, pitcher Marlaina Laubach threw an impressive game by only allowing one hit through RMU's first six innings.
Ending the game with a 2-0 victory, the Lions took a break and came back with high energy and ready for a strong start for the second game.
"One of the biggest aspects of being a coach is making sure the team's energy is good," said Lehotak. "It's never easy playing back-to-back games and we want to make sure our players are feeling good for the start of the second game."
Penn State quickly got on the board. Reina Furuya was walked with bases loaded to set up a two RBIs by Mollie Sorenson.
"We started being aggressive early in the game, and I'm very happy with how we rebounded in game two" said Lehotak.
After tacking on another three runs, the blue and white increased the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Miller hit a homer to center field, bringing in two more runs to make the lead 7-0.
"I mean it always feels great when you get a home run," said Miller. " To me though it matters more that I was able to help my team today and I think we all did a great job being aggressive on the bases tonight."
Following Miller's lead, Alyssa VanDerveer hit her sixth homer of the season in the fifth inning.
"We showed a lot of focus while at bat and made sure we were swinging at the right pitches and that helped us get a lead early in the game," said VanDerveer.
In the beginning of the season, the Nittany Lions made it a mission to focus on the team's toughness and aggression while at bat and last night's game proved the team is heading in the right direction.
"I think one key aspect to the team's victory tonight was the general attitude we all had," said VanDerveer.
After Wednesday's sweep, Penn State will be back on the road with another B1G weekend series at Michigan State. The series will be a double header on Saturday followed by a Sunday matinee.