Penn State Softball Drops Series To Michigan State
Penn State softball (7-30, 3-11 Big Ten) fell in a conference series for the fifth time this season after losing two of the three games at Beard Field over the weekend.
The Spartans (16-21, 4-9 Big Ten) came back from a brutal opening game loss and took two from Saturday’s doubleheader thanks to a solid pitching effort from redshirt senior Kristina Zalewski.
How It Happened
Errors came back to bite the Nittany Lions again after the first inning was extended on a bobble from pitcher Jessica Cummings, leading to a three-run shot from Spartans junior Kaitlyn Eveland. Penn State came right back in the bottom of the inning — scoring four runs off just two hits, including a two-run triple from Toni Polk.
Penn State tacked on two runs in the third inning — Polk added an RBI to her total with a single before a walk drove in the second run. Michigan State head coach Jacquie Joseph contested the call and was tossed from the game.
Tori Dubois rocked a solo shot in the fourth inning for her sixth home run of the season.
The Nittany Lions ran into trouble after pulling Cummings from the circle after the third inning. Madey Smith pitched in the fourth, registering two outs and loading the bases before Madison Shaffer came on in relief to get out of the inning. The Spartans got to Shaffer in the fifth, with Eveland knocking in two more runs to cut the deficit to 7-5. Cummings reentered to get out of a bases-loaded jam. A Destiny Weber throwing error in the sixth allowed a runner on third for the Spartans, who was knocked in by a Kelcey Carrasco single.
Amanda Grieco singled in the bottom of the sixth to earn an insurance run for the Nittany Lions before Cummings closed out the seventh to secure the 8-6 win for Penn State.
The Spartans struck early again with a leadoff home run from All-American Lea Foerster — rebounding after an 0-5 effort in game one — before Kelcey Carrasco knocked in two more runs later in the first inning with a single.
Tori Dubois did Tori Dubois things once again in the bottom of the third — hitting a solo shot for her seventh home run of the season to bring Penn State within two runs. She had the only two Nittany Lion hits in the game as they struggled to break down Michigan State ace Kristina Zalewski.
Madison Shaffer had a solid outing outside of the first and seventh innings. The Spartans bolstered their lead with four more runs in the seventh to take the second game 7-1.
For the third straight game, Michigan State broke out in the first inning — scoring four runs off four hits and an error. Jessica Cummings got the start in the circle, and had a solid outing outside of that opening inning. She gave up just three more hits and another two runs the rest of the way.
Kristina Zalewski started again for Michigan State in the second of Saturday’s doubleheader and continued to fluster the Nittany Lions. Tori Dubois and Paige Johnson knocked in runs for Penn State, but it wasn’t enough to undue the rough start as the Spartans went on to win 6-2.
Player of the Series
Kristina Zalewski | Pitcher | Redshirt Senior
She picked up two wins in the circle during Saturday’s doubleheader to help the Spartans earn their first Big Ten series victory of the season.
Penn State will play a home doubleheader Wednesday starting at 5 p.m. against Saint Francis.