Feb. 25, 2018
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Penn State softball team battled to the end in a 4-1 loss to James Madison at the JU Tournament Sunday, Feb. 25.
Junior Tori Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H) led the Nittany Lions at the plate with one hit and one RBI, while Delaney Elling (Washington, Pa.), Amanda Grieco (Basking Ridge, N.J.) and Toni Polk (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) each tallied one hit apiece for the Blue and White. Freshman Dani Fey (Bangor, Pa.) reached base for the Nittany Lions with a walk and scored the Penn State run.
Junior Madison Shaffer (New Castle, Pa.) earned the start in the circle throwing four innings and striking out three, while Jessica Cummings (Owings, Md.) came on in relief and threw three innings with four strikeouts.
The NIttany Lions had some big defense plays as junior Paige Johnson (Clarksville, Tenn.) saved two hits on her back hand at second base and Dubois made a grab over her right shoulder in left field to save a run.
Morgan Tolle led off the game with a double off the left field wall for JMU and pinch runner Michaela Pellegrino touched home on a first and third situation when the ball bounced off the glove of a Penn State infielder and into the outfield, allowing the Dukes to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions had an answer inning in the bottom of the first as Fey did her job as the leadoff batter and reached first on a walk before stealing second to get herself into scoring position. Dubois continued to be a leader for the Blue and White offense as she dug in with two outs on the board and lined a single up the middle to knot the score at 1-1.
A walk to Kate Gordon to lead off the top of the fourth inning proved to be detrimental to the Penn State defense as a sacrifice bunt moved her to second. Gordon advanced to third on a ground out to the opposite side of the field and a pinch hit single just out of reach for Grieco plated the go-ahead run for James Madison.
The Dukes capitalized on two-straight walks from Shaffer before head coach Amanda Lehotak made a pitching change. Cummings came in and secured the first out with a ground out back to herself but then surrendered a double off the center field fence that would plate both base runners and extend the Dukes lead to 4-1 in the top of the fifth inning.
The Nittany Lions battled in the remaining innings as Polk notched a single in the fifth but was unable to work her way around the bases. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Polk worked the count fouling off multiple pitches before surrendering to the final out of the game.
Penn State softball will have a week off the field before traveling to the Lone Star State for six games in seven day. The Nittany Lions will first play a single game against Texas A&M Tuesday, March 6 before traveling to Houston for five games Friday, March 9 – Sunday, March 11.