Penn State Softball Takes Down Nebraska 5-0 In Big Ten Tournament Opener
Penn State (23-32, 8-15 Big Ten), after barely sneaking into the Big Ten Tournament as the 12th and final seed, managed to end Nebraska’s season for the second consecutive year after getting swept by the Cornhuskers during the 2017 regular season.
Nebraska (24-29, 13-10 Big Ten) won each of this year’s meetings in tight fashion, but the Nittany Lions cruised to a 5-0 victory after coach Amanda Lehotak spoke of getting revenge for the difficult defeats.
How It Happened
Penn State started strong with a lead-off walk to Rebecca Ziegler and a single from Toni Polk. After the team’s top hitter Tori Dubois sacrifice bunted to move the runners into scoring position, freshman Delaney Elling singled up the middle with two outs to score both runs.
Another two out single from Ziegler in the second scored Gianna Arrizurieta to make it 3-0, which was enough to chase Cassie McClure from the game for the second-straight Big Ten Tournament.
Starting pitcher Marlaina Laubach retired nine of the first 10 Cornhusker batters to keep Nebraska at bay through three innings, but got into a jam in the fourth with a bases loaded situation. She managed to force a ground out and pop out to end the inning, and wasn’t really tested the rest of the way — retiring the final 11 batters she faced.
Penn State tacked on a run with a Tori Dubois single in the fifth before Rebecca Ziegler, who got on base in each of her four at-bats, sent a bomb over the right field wall to make it 5-0 in the seventh, which is how the game would end.
Player Of The Game
Marlaina Laubach | Pitcher | Senior
Outside of the fourth inning where Nebraska loaded the bases, Laubach retired 18 of the 19 batters she faced. The Cornhuskers only got two hits against the senior ace. Her performance in the circle was one of the best of her career, and it couldn’t have come at a more important time.
Penn State advances to play fourth-seeded Illinois, who received a bye into the quarterfinals. This matchup will be live on BTN at 1:30 p.m.