Softball Dominates Iowa 11-3 In Record-Breaking Series Win
After winning its first meeting against Iowa (13-33, 3-15) on Friday, then losing in the second leg of the series on Saturday, Penn State (27-18, 14-4) returned to Bob Pearl Softball Field in Iowa City hungry for another Big Ten victory. With hot bats and a little help from Hawkeye errors, the Nittany Lions cruised to a 11-3 rout and a record-breaking fifth Big Ten conference series win.
How It Happened
The top of the first inning proved fruitful for the Nittany Lions as both Macy Jones and Lexi Knief singled and successfully got on base. Jones scored on Knief’s single thanks to a sacrifice bunt that moved her to second before the center fielder’s hit. A double down the left field line by Alyssa Vanderveer brought Knief around to score as well and Penn State took a two-run lead in three hits.
The Lions stopped a solid scoring threat by the Hawkeyes including a couple walks leading to juiced bases by scooping up two hard-hit Iowa ground outs. Iowa then stepped up its offensive game in the third with a two-out double into left center by Sammi Gyerman, who ultimately scored by a follow-up single to center. By the end of the third, the Hawkeyes were back in the game 2-1.
Penn State answered right back with two walks from Vanderveer and Erin Pond, a wild pitch moving them over, and a one-run single slapped into right field by Tori Dubois. Reina Furuya then laced a single through the middle to score Pond, marking the moment where things got pretty ugly for Iowa. An untimely error by the Hawkeyes’ left fielder scored a pair for Penn State which then prompted Knief to bring Furuya home with her second single of the game.
After Iowa stopped the Lions’ attack, the teams managed to rack up a run off both a sacrifice and swinging bunt. A pop fly ended the fourth inning, and the Hawkeyes still trailed 7-2.
At the top of the fifth, Vanderveer reached first on a single and DuBois notched her second single down the right field line, moving Vanderveer to third base who scored thanks to yet another single by Pond. Iowa was full of errors on the day, and its second allowed DuBois to cross the plate. Kristina Brackpool singled into the shortstop gap and Furuya reached first on a bunt straight after to loading Penn State’s bases. The Lions tallied three runs on five hits in the fifth inning for a 10-2 lead.
The Hawkeyes’ effort returned at the bottom of the inning with matching singles bringing in a lone run that broke the impending mercy rule, but they still lagged on the scoreboard with a seven-run deficit. In the sixth, Vanderveer recorded her third hit of the game with — you guessed it — another single over the second baseman’s head. Pond then tripled to right-center, plating Vanderveer in the process. Molly Sorenson ripped a single back at the Iowa pitcher, bringing around Pond and tacking on another run to make the lead a hefty eight.
Iowa struggled in the final two innings, and Penn State took the series 2-1 with a dominant 11-3 victory in Iowa City. The win marked Penn State’s fifth Big Ten conference series win of the 2015-16 season – a milestone never reached before in program history.
Player Of The Game
Erin Pond | Utility Player | Senior
Though Alyssa Vanderveer dominated the plate with three hits on the game, Erin Pond was the true offensive star. The senior notched two hits, two RBIs, and two runs for the Nittany Lions, proving more versatile for her team in the long run.
The Nittany Lions return to Happy Valley with a two-game home series with the Saint Francis Red Flash starting Wednesday, April 27 at Beard Field. The first pitch is slotted for 6 p.m.