Penn State Softball 2023 Season Preview
In her third year as the head of Penn State’s softball program, head coach Clarisa Crowell is ready to make even more history.
Last season, Crowell lead the team to a 25-win improvement from its 7-34 record in 2021, going 32-22 in 2022 and ultimately earning the ECAC Coach of the Year award.
The Nittany Lions also had some monumental program wins, the biggest coming from their upset against No. 22 Michigan, which was the first time Penn State had beaten its rival since 2006.
Looking ahead, Penn State will travel to South Carolina, Florida, and North Carolina before having its first home games in March. Heading into the Big Ten slate, the team will compete in eight conference series before postseason play.
Penn State’s biggest challenge comes from its Big Ten opponent, the No. 7 Northwestern Wildcats. The Nittany Lions will travel to the Wildcats April 7-9, and it will be their only ranked opponent of the season, according to the current standings.
Perhaps the best addition to this year’s team is an additional year from fifth-year student Bailey Parshall. Parshall has a 22-9 record in 2022 with a 1.68 ERA. She also sits in third place in the Penn State record books with 607 strikeouts all-time. She was recently named to D1Softball’s Preseason Top 100 list and locked in the No. 60 spot.
Right behind Parshall, fifth-year student Kylee Lingenfelter also opted to stay with the program. Lingenfelter made 29 appearances last season and had the second-most strikeouts on the team.
Filling in behind Parshall and Lingenfelter, senior Vanessa Oatley and sophomore Lydia Spalding remain on the roster. The duo had a combined 24 appearances in 2022 and five wins.
The Nittany Lions suffered a huge blow losing Ally Kurland to Georgia, but with a bulk of last year’s starting lineup returning, consistency will be key.
With Cassie Lindmark at the top, the middle of the lineup in Lauren Marcotte, Lexie Black and Liana Jones will have to find their stride to win close games. A large portion of the team is averaging around a .250 hitting percentage, so that number is going to need to jump in order to see offensive improvement.
Penn State lost 15 games by two or fewer runs last season, and timely hits could truly make all the difference.
While the pitchers may be the core of this Penn State team, playing the field will be another major factor in finding success.
Behind the plate, catcher Lindmark is returning for her senior year. With 273 put-outs and a .997 fielding percentage, she is a huge component of team consistency and camaraderie.
Another strong point will come from leadership in the outfield. Jones, Lilia Crouthamel, Maggie Finnegan, and Lydia Coleman all have one, if not multiple seasons under their belts. Together, they held an average .975 fielding percentage, which should only go up as the season gets underway.
Record Prediction: 34-17
This team broke a number of barriers last year, and with the core of the group returning, there is huge potential for even more success among the team.
It’s possible that most of the losses will stem from Big Ten competition, but many factors could change by the time the first series in March rolls around.
The Nittany Lions will open their season in the south in Conway, South Carolina, in the Coastal Carolina Tournament. Their first game will be against South Dakota at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 10.
Make sure to stick with Onward State for updates as the Nittany Lions’ season gets started.
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Just how good was that Dom DeLuca pick-six against Delaware?
Mulvaney was emotionally vulnerable with the audience while offering plenty of words of advice.
“As unfortunate as that is, it gives someone an opportunity to step in.”