Softball Sweeps Michigan State To Continue Winning Streak
After sweeping Rutgers last weekend, Penn State (14-14, 3-0 Big Ten) took on Michigan State over the weekend in the Big Ten home opener at the Nittany Lion Softball Park. The Spartans (19-14, 1-2 Big Ten) dropped two of three in their Big Ten opening weekend, but rebounded midweek with wins against Western Michigan and Central Michigan. Penn State managed to sweep again, making this the first time the Nittany Lions swept back-to-back opponents since going to the three game format in 2012.
How It Happened
Penn State quickly opened the scoring in first inning with Shelby Miller hitting a two-run home run and Kristina Brackpool knocking in another two runs. Scoring four runs and making its way through the lineup in the inning, the Nittany Lions opened an early 4-0 lead. Despite Michigan State answering back with a run of its own in the second, Penn State cruised by scoring in the third and keeping the Spartans off the board for most of the way.
After a two-out double in the fifth from Macy Jones, the Nittany Lions looked to be in complete control leading 7-1. The Spartans hoped to spark a comeback after Ebonee Echols hit a solo home run, but that would be the only earned run Marlaina Laubach conceded all game. Penn State went on to take game one 7-2.
Michigan State set out to change the narrative in the second game of Friday’s double-header. It opened the game with a couple hits that led to the Spartans taking a 2-0 lead. Penn State came storming back in the second inning off hits from Erin Pond and Tori Dubois to take a 3-2 lead. Echols hit a solo shot again in the second game to tie the score in the top of the third.
After a couple nondescript innings, Penn State took control in the bottom of the fifth after an error allowed the Nittany Lions to take the lead and Dubois notched a double to put in two more runs. After a couple hits from the Spartans led to a run, Penn State brought back Laubach from the first game to replace Madison Seifert. Laubach managed the tough situation well, giving up only one run to hold onto the lead. Hits from Alyssa VanDerveer and Lexi Knief opened the lead back up to three before Pond knocked in two more for her fifth RBI of the game. Dubois tacked one on to cap off the five-run sixth inning as Penn State went on to win 11-5.
The series concluded with game three on Saturday and Michigan State jumped out to an early lead once again, but Penn State consistently had an answer in the bottom of the inning. Down 3-1 in the second inning, the Nittany Lions tied the game off a two-run home run from Jones.
The game heated up in the third inning with the Spartans finding a groove and putting up three runs off three hits. Penn State answered back with an even bigger inning. VanDerveer singled before Dubois homered to bring the Nittany Lions within one. Jones knocked another ball over the fence, a two-run home run, to give Penn State the lead. Seifert came in during the fourth inning as the third pitcher for Penn State on the day and held the Spartans scoreless the rest of the game to hold on for a 8-6 win.
Player Of The Series
Marlaina Laubach | Junior | Pitcher
Laubach was crucial in the series, pitching a complete opening game and getting the Nittany Lions out of a jam off the bench in the second game. The junior was the reliable force behind Penn State’s efforts on Friday.
Penn State will travel to Ohio State for a Wednesday double-header at Buckeye Field. First pitch will be at 4 p.m. and the second game will immediately follow the first game.