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Penn State Softball Ends Season In 3-0 Big Ten Quarterfinal Loss To Illinois

Penn State (23-33, 8-15 Big Ten) couldn’t make a repeat trip to the Big Ten semifinals as Breanna Wonderly and Illinois dispersed Nittany Lion batter after batter in a 3-0 result.

The Illini (37-17, 14-8 Big Ten) rode a first inning lead through the seven innings to earn a spot in the Big Ten semifinals Saturday against top-seeded Minnesota.

How It Happened

Penn State started strong with lead-off hitter Rebecca Ziegler singling and a fortuitous shank on Toni Polk’s bunt putting a pair of runners aboard in the first inning. Tori Dubois’ sacrifice moved them into scoring position, but neither Shelby Miller nor Kristina Brackpool, who had the bases loaded after Delaney Elling walked, could put a run across the board.

The Illini, on the other hand, used a lead-off single, a triple, and a suicide squeeze to go up 2-0 after the first inning.

That’s all the Illinois would need as senior ace Wonderly was lights out through the next six innings — letting just one more runner aboard while retiring the side five times.

In her final game, the all-time Penn State leader for appearances in the circle Marlaina Laubach stood strong — giving up just four hits and retiring the side three times. Illinois tacked on an insurance run in the fifth off of a lead-off error and a single to score the runner. Miller made a crucial double play at third base to close out the inning and keep the Nittany Lions in striking distance.

The Penn State bats just couldn’t break down Wonderly, with Toni Polk recording the only hit outside of the first inning in the eventual 3-0 defeat.

Player Of The Game

Breanna Wonderly | Pitcher | Senior

Wonderly was untouchable after getting out of a first inning jam. The Illini star gave up just three hits in her complete game shutout.

What’s Next

That’ll do it for Penn State’s 2017 season. The Nittany Lions graduate six seniors, four of who were starters on Friday — Laubach, Miller, Brackpool, and Jessica Haug — while all played some role this year. Junior infielder Mollie Sorenson is also not returning.

However, the team does bring back its top three hitters, as well as a slew of pitchers that each shined during different potions of 2017.

About the Author

Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a junior majoring in PR and an editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tried to be a photographer once, but the only good thing that came out of it is a name for his future sports bar, The Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide), email him at [email protected], or come say hi to him in his office, the Irving's basement.

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