Penn State softball (22-32, 8-15 Big Ten) welcomed No. 4 Minnesota to Beard Field over the weekend for its final home stand of the season. The Nittany Lions honored their six seniors Sunday at Beard Field.
The Golden Gophers, who earned their first outright Big Ten regular season title since 1991, swept the three-game series in dominant fashion — 11-1, 14-1, 10-1. They tallied 29 hits while giving up just six to Penn State.
How It Happened
Senior pitcher Sara Groenewegen was absolutely untouchable Friday, taking a perfect game into the bottom of the sixth before surrendering a pair of walks to Gianna Arrizurieta and Jess Haug. Freshman Destiny Weber broke up the no-hitter with a single to left field, but the Nittany Lions couldn’t avoid an early run-rule loss. Minnesota took the 11-1 win behind eight hits, including a pair of homers, as it jumped out to a quick and insurmountable lead. Marlaina Laubach tossed a complete game for Penn State but fell to 11-10 on the season.
Minnesota starter Amber Fiser improved to 13-0 thanks to three innings of work with only two hits Saturday. Sophomore Maddie Shaffer (1-4) got the nod from head coach Amanda Lehotak, but struggled in a six-run first inning for the Golden Gophers before being pulled for Madey Smith. Freshman Amanda Ferlisi made her fourth appearance of the season in relief and threw a strong inning and two thirds to close things out. Minnesota racked up an 11-4 advantage in hits on its way to a 14-1 win in five innings.
Center fielder Rebecca Ziegler blasted a leadoff homer just inside the right foul pole to give the Nittany Lion offense a spark in the bottom of the first on Senior Day. The solo shot marked the Tucson, Ariz., native’s fifth of the season. Sophomore Tori Dubois made a tremendous diving catch in the top of the first, while Jess Haug nearly came down with a full-extension grab of her own a few innings later. Laubach was back in the circle Sunday in the final home outing of her career, but took a line drive off her shin and would later come out of the game in the fourth to resounding applause. The Golden Gophers were too much to handle, though, topping Penn State 10-1 in five innings.
Player(s) Of The Series
Penn State’s Senior Class
The Nittany Lions await their seeding for the Big Ten Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., which gets underway this Thursday with quarterfinal play.