Penn State softball (18-25, 4-10 Big Ten) broke a four-game losing skid in emphatic fashion Wednesday night at Beard Field, topping Bucknell (23-12, 6-3 Patriot League) 1-0 in the first game of a doubleheader and 6-5 in the eighth inning of the second.
The Nittany Lions used a crucial hit from Toni Polk for the lone run in game one and a comeback in the final innings to sweep the Bison.
How It Happened
Senior Marly Laubach (9-8) continued her streak of recent dominance in the circle, giving up just five hits and two walks in a complete-game win. Neither Penn State nor Bucknell was able to manufacture a run through the first five innings. But Amanda Lehotak’s Nittany Lions made their opportunity count in the bottom of the sixth. Leadoff hitter Rebecca Ziegler drew a walk before Polk’s RBI triple down the right-field line proved to be the game-winning run. Polk finished 2-3 at the plate in the 1-0 victory to get things started against the Bison.
Bucknell took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first off a pair of home runs from Meghan Kovac and Anna Gimmestad, but a late Penn State rally gave the program its 10th straight win over the Bison (30-5 all-time). The Nittany Lions scored five runs in the final two innings of regulation to complete the comeback. Freshman Delaney Elling cranked a homer of her own to plate Shelby Miller, who ended the evening with three hits and an RBI, to make it 5-2.
Polk reached base on an error in the bottom of the seventh, scoring pinch hitter Christa Wagner. Then, Miller was hit by a pitch, allowing Ziegler to cross home before an Elling single plated Polk to tie it up, 5-5. Ziegler came up big once again in the first extra inning with a double up the middle to score Wagner in walk-off fashion. Maddie Seifert got the start for Penn State, going three innings in a non-decision, but Madison Shaffer (1-2) came on for five strong innings with just one unearned run to claim the victory.
Player Of The Night
Rebecca Ziegler | Center fielder | Redshirt sophomore
The Tucson, Arizona, native finished the doubleheader with three hits, two runs scored, two walks, and an RBI.
Penn State will host Rutgers (11-29, 2-10 Big Ten) for a three-game conference series this Friday-Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 21.