Penn State Softball Splits Ohio State Doubleheader
Penn State softball (20-21, 4-7 Big Ten) split a double header against Big Ten foe Ohio State (24-12, 8-3 Big Ten) on Tuesday night.
The Nittany Lions won the first game of the doubleheader, 6-4, after working their way out of several jams on offense and ultimately stranding a total of 18 runners on base. In the second matchup of the night, the Buckeyes completely dominated on the offensive end, scoring a total of 12 runs on 18 hits and ending the game after five innings via the mercy rule.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions got off to a rough defensive start Tuesday evening, forcing themselves into a bit of a first inning jam. With runners on first and second, Tori Dubois dropped a fly ball in right field, loading the bases for the Buckeyes.
On the next play, Ohio State’s Betschel scored on yet another defensive error, this time in the infield by second baseman Claire Swedberg. But the Nittany Lions managed to avoid more trouble and capped off the inning with three Ohio State runners stranded on base, only trailing 1-0.
Ohio State tacked on another run in the second, and threatened to add more in the third, loading the bases once again. However, they were unable to capitalize and left three runners on base for the second straight inning. This would become a common theme throughout the game, as the Nittany Lion defense stranded a whopping total of 18 Ohio State runners, including 12 in scoring position.
After two hitless innings to start off the beginning of the game, the Nittany Lion offense came alive in the bottom of third. Toni Polk had the Nittany Lion’s first hit and run of the game. She scored on a fielding error by Ohio State’s shortstop.
With runners on second and third later that inning, Destiny Weber hit a bases clearing single. One play later, Ohio State fumbled another ball in the infield and Weber managed to come around from second to score, dodging a tag at home plate. Penn State finished the inning with a comfortable 4-2 lead.
Ohio State’s Ashley Prange hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth off Kylee Lingenfelter, cutting the deficit to 4-3. But Penn State responded in the bottom of the inning, thanks to more errors by Ohio State’s defense. Sophomore Dani Fey scored after the Buckeyes dropped a fly ball in center field for their sixth error of the game, and Chelsey Bisi delivered a crucial RBI single, allowing Penn State to gain a comfortable 6-3 lead heading into the final inning of the ballgame.
The Buckeyes made things interesting again in the top of the seventh, scoring a run off of an RBI double and sending the tying runner to second base. But the Nittany Lions somehow worked their way out of this jam, taking the first game of the doubleheader.
Things seemed promising for the Nittany Lions after they turned an impressive double play in the first inning.
But don’t let this fool you — things would get much worse defensively from this point on.
Ohio State capitalized on two Penn State errors with two outs in the first inning, to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. Kaitlyn Coffman then hit a solo homer off Bailey Parshall in the second to add another run on the board for the Buckeyes.
In the top of the third inning, the game seemed to slip away from the Nittany Lions faster than the blink of an eye. Ohio State scored a total of nine runs off 10 hits to expand the lead to 11-0. Niki Carver put the icing on the cake in the fifth inning, when she sent a solo homerun deep over the left field wall.
The Buckeyes won by mercy rule after five innings, with a final score of 12-1.
- Penn State’s defense was sloppy — to say the least — on Tuesday night. Although the Nittany Lions managed to escape multiple bases-loaded jams in the first game of the doubleheader, the poor defense came back to bite in the second. Whether it was dropping a fly ball in the outfield, forgetting to step on first base, or simply allowing several wild pitches to pass home plate with a runner on third, the Nittany Lions’ defensive mistakes certainly dug them into a hole.
- Toni Polk and Chelsey Bisi proved once again that they have some of the most lethal bats on the team. Polk now has 14 hits in the last 16 games, while Bisi has 10 hits in her last 11 games. In the last three series alone, Polk and Bisi have combined for a total of 18 RBIs. Their precedence on the offensive end is crucial for Penn State’s success.
- It’s clear Penn State lacks depth as far as pitching goes. Kylee Lingenfelter and Bailey Parshall limited the Buckeyes to three runs in the first game, but things didn’t go as well in the second matchup. Parshall, Shaffer, and Shields allowed a combined 12 runs on 18 hits.
The Nittany Lions open up a three-game weekend home series against Rutgers on Friday. First pitch at Beard Field is at 6 p.m. and the game will be aired live on BTN Plus.
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