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April 25, 2014
(34-8, 12-5 B1G)
Minneapolis, Minn. • Jane Sage Cowles Stadium
(14-29, 5-13 B1G)
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.; April 25, 2014 - A two-out, fourth inning error made all the difference on Friday evening as the Penn State softball team lost a 1-0 pitchers duel to No. 12 Minnesota at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. Freshman hurler Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) posted one of her best performances of the season in the loss, pitching six innings without allowing an earned run as she gave up just four hits and one walk.
Sophomore Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) was the only player to register multiple hits on either team, turning in a bunt and a single. Three other Nittany Lions also recorded hits as PSU outhit Minnesota 5-4.
Senior Sara Moulton collected the win for Minnesota (34-8, 12-5 Big Ten) to move to 21-6 on the year after doling out 11 strikeouts in the shutout.
Missed opportunities were abundant for the Blue and White (14-29, 5-13 Big Ten), who left eight runners on base. PSU put two baserunners on in the top of the second with Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) reaching on an error by Minnesota’s second baseman and Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) notching a bunt for the first hit of the game. Both runners advanced on a Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) groundout to shortstop but the bottom of the order failed to bring them in as Moulton picked up a pair of strikeouts.
Jones reached on another Minnesota error in the top of the fourth and was pushed into scoring position on a Habitz single up the middle with one to go. The Lions fell victim to Moulton once again, however, as she retired Shannon Good (Horseheads, N.Y.) for the final out.
The Gophers scored their lone run in the bottom of the fourth on an error by catcher Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.). Gopher junior Kaitlyn Richardson opened the frame with a double to left center and capitalized on a passed ball and a throwing error by Hatfield to head home and put the score at 1-0.
Minnesota nearly pushed its lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth. Taylor LeMay sent a two-out shot to right field that would have brought in Erica Meyer but Jones stepped up for the Lions, making a beautiful diving catch to close the inning and keep the deficit at one run.
Knief added one final hit for the Nittany Lions in the top of the seventh, sending a two-out single to left field, but it was not enough as a Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) groundout would end the game, giving Minnesota a 1-0 victory.
The Nittany Lions and the Golden Gophers return to the field on Saturday for a doubleheader. Game one is set for a 12:30 p.m. start while the late contest will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday’s series final will air live on the Big Ten Network with Wayne Randazzo and Brooke Weisbrod on the call.