March 7, 2018
BEAUMONT, Texas – Trailing through the first five innings of the game, the Penn State softball team used a big sixth inning to bring itself within two of Lamar University but the Cardinals responded to earn the 8-3 victory over the Nittany Lions in the mid-week match up.
Juniors Paige Johnson (Clarksville, Tenn.) and Toni Polk (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) led the Blue and White at the plate with two hits each, while Johnson, Delaney Elling (Washington, Pa.), and Kennedy Legg (Keller, Texas) all brought in one run for the Nittany Lions on bases-loaded walks.
All four pitchers saw time in the circle for Penn State with Madey Smith (Washington, N.J.) taking the loss after earning the start.
The Cardinals capitalized on three-straight Penn State walks to start the bottom of the first inning. With bases loaded and no outs, head coach Amanda Lehotak made a pitching change that would get the next three batters out but not before two sacrifice flies to the grass brought in two runs for Lamar.
The fourth walk of the game touched home the for Cardinals in the bottom of the second when Savana Guidry tripled to the right field fence to score Paige Holmes from first base and allow Lamar to take a 3-0 lead after two complete innings of play.
The Cardinals loaded the bases for the second time in the game in the bottom of the third inning before Shaffer got a play at the plate and a strikeout to close out the inning without allowing a run to touch home.
Penn State looked to string some hits together in the top of the fourth inning when Tori Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) singled up the middle with one out. With two outs on the board, Elling reached base before Johnson roped her second hit of the day to put runners in scoring position. The Nittany Lions were not able to push a run across as they continued to trail 3-0.
Lamar extended its lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a first and third situation as the runner on third touched home on a throw down to second base before a bloop single to shallow left field brought in the second run of the inning and fifth of the game.
The Nittany Lions used three-straight singles from the top of their order to load the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth inning. A hit batter and a walk with bases juiced brought in two runs and forced a Lamar pitching change with bases loaded and no out for the Blue and White. Following the pitching change, Penn State added one final run on the second walk of inning coming within two, 5-3, of the Cardinals.
Lamar answered in the bottom half of the inning using three hits to score three runs and extend its lead to 8-3 over the Blue and White with one final at-bat.
Polk looked to start a one-out rally in the top of the seventh with a single but was unable to get past first base as the final two outs were recorded on fly outs to center and left field.
Penn State will continue its trip in the Lone Star State Friday, March 9-Sunday, March 11 at the Houston Tournament. The Nittany Lions kick off the tournament with Big Ten Conference foe Northwestern Friday, March 9 at 4 p.m. EST.