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Penn State Softball Splits Doubleheader With Robert Morris

Penn State softball (5-21, 1-2 Big Ten) spilt its midweek non-conference doubleheader with Robert Morris — winning the opener, 9-7, after overcoming a five-run deficit before losing its touch in the batters box and getting shut out, 5-0, in the second game.

The Colonials (7-21, 0-0 NEC) managed to break down a trio of Penn State pitchers that didn’t include Jessica Cummings, the team’s usual top starter.

How It Happened

Game One

Madey Smith took to the circle for her third appearance of the season, and with a 99.00 ERA, it looked like her season could only get better from here. Yet, she was done after four batters — walking two and hitting another two with a pitch to concede a run and leave the bases loaded with no outs for Madison Shaffer.  She conceded another hit, but got out of the first down 3-0.

Robert Morris tacked on an RBI single off the bat of its power hitter Natalie Higgins in the second, but the Nittany Lions managed to load the bases in the bottom of the inning without so much as a hit. Destiny Weber’s single scored one, before a walk made it 4-2.

The Nittany Lions had fallen behind 7-4, but with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth as a new pitcher was getting ready to step into the circle. They left seven runners on base through the first four innings, but star hitter Tori Dubois wasn’t letting an opportunity go to waste this time — smashing a grand slam over the left field wall to give Penn State its first lead of the game. Paige Johnson’s double two batters later scored Delaney Elling from first to make it 9-7.

Shaffer was shaky through the first half of the game, but finished strong — retiring the side in the final three innings, striking out five, en route to two-run win.

Game Two

Robert Morris used a better pitching performance in the second of a doubleheader, with starter Kaitlin Ellzy going the distance — allowing just a pair of hits from Kennedy Legg and a double for Haley Vallejos.

Smith got the start again for Penn State, and after a solid first inning of work, lost a bit of control in the second. She hit two batters and threw wild pitches to allow the first run of the game. After getting out of that inning, Smith’s day was done when she loaded the bases in the third. Ashton Mensinger came on in relief — giving up a single to score to runs before finishing off the inning.

The Colonials tacked on runs with a Briana Bunner solo homer in the fourth and a pair of doubles in the sixth to take the game 5-0.

Player of the Series

Tori Dubois | Left Field | Junior

The All-Big Ten outfielder and team’s top slugger saved the Nittany Lions from a brutal sweep with a clutch grand slam, her second home run of the season, to propel Penn State into the lead in the opener.

What’s Next

Penn State travels to New Jersey for a three-game set with Rutgers (15-15, 0-1 Big Ten), starting Friday at 3 p.m. Each game this weekend will be live on BTN2Go. If the Nittany Lions are going to find their way into the top 12 of the conference and qualify for the Big Ten Tournament, it’s going to need some success against the Scarlet Knights, usually one of the conference’s cellar dwellers.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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