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Penn State Softball Bests Michigan State In Opening Big Ten Series

After falling in each of its eight Big Ten series last season, Penn State softball (16-14, 2-1 Big Ten) took two of three games from Michigan State this weekend in East Lansing.

The Nittany Lions blew a four-run lead in the opener against the Spartans (11-18, 1-2 Big Ten), but rallied from three down in the seventh to take the second and shut out the hosts in the third to win the series.

How It Happened

Game One

The Nittany Lions and Spartans were deadlocked after four innings with three runs apiece. Penn State appeared like it was on its way to a series opening win after a handful of hits, including a Melina Livingston three-run shot, to bust the lead open to 7-3.

Michigan State rallied in the bottom half of the inning with three runs off a single hit, a trio of walks, an error, and two passed balls. The Spartans tied the game in the sixth off a Joanna Bartz double then won it 8-7 in the seventh on a walk-off homer from Caitie Ladd.

Game Two

The Spartans went into the final inning of Saturday’s matchup leading 4-1 off nine hits.

Penn State put together a huge top half of the seventh, tying the game thanks to hits from Anna Deshaies and Melina Livingston before Toni Polk’s two-run shot. The Nittany Lions weren’t done there, tacking on three more runs off a Haley Vallejos three-run shot. Freshman pitcher Bailey Parshall came on in the bottom half of the inning to get the save in Penn State’s 7-4 win.

Game Three

The Nittany Lions jumped out to a three-run lead in the first three innings off of RBI singles from Toni Polk and Melina Livingston.

Bailey Parshall returned in the final matchup of the series for her first Big Ten win, pitching a complete game shutout with four strikeouts and five hits conceded in the 3-0 win.

Takeaways

  • After batting 5-7 this weekend, Melina Livingston’s team-leading batting average is up to .391 in her freshman campaign. She hasn’t been the only freshman batter making an impact, with four batting above .300, but she’s been the most consistent across the course of the season.
  • It’s been a solid month for the Nittany Lions, going 13-4. The tough part of the slate is finally beginning, though, with three RPI top 100 opponents coming up in Big Ten play — including No. 23 Wisconsin next weekend and usual NCAA Tournament qualifier Ohio State.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions travel to the Steel City for a midweek showdown with Pitt (4-25). First pitch at Vartabedian Field is at 5 p.m. and the game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra, which can be accessed through Watch ESPN.

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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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