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Penn State Softball Knocks Off Iowa 3-2 In Walk-Off Fashion

Penn State softball (19-4, 1-0 Big Ten) took down Iowa (18-12, 0-1 Big Ten) 3-2 on Friday evening at Nittany Lion Softball Park.

Liana Jones lifted the Nittany Lions to a win thanks to a ninth-inning walk-off, which proved to be the difference against the Hawkeyes in both squad’s Big Ten opener. Jones fired a laser into the scoreboard for the game-winning run, but Penn State didn’t grasp control until late.

Penn State’s seasoned ace Bailey Parshall took the hill in a pitching matchup against Iowa’s freshman sensation Jalen Adams. The game had the makings of a back-and-forth dual early, and the ensuing innings held the sentiment as true until the end.

How It Happened

Parshall got off to a shaky start, walking the lead-off batter for the Hawkeyes, Nia Carter. However, she quickly reeled it in and took care of the next two hitters. Nittany Lions’ infielder Mel Coombs and catcher Cassie Lindmark collaborated to catch Carter stealing to end the inning. Coombs led off the home half of the first with a pop-out on a bunt attempt, which summarized the inning on offense for Penn State.

As Parshall continued to deal, Emily Maddock punched the first hit through for the Nittany Lions and found success again in the third inning. But, her teammates couldn’t bring her home.

Carter got the best of Parshall again in the top of the fourth, placing a solid hit just inside the right-field line for a double. A pair of pitches later, the Hawkeyes scored the first run of the game on a fielder’s choice RBI by Tory Bennett.

Penn State’s bats weren’t struggling to make contact across the early going, but Clarisa Crowell’s group failed to capitalize the action into runs. As for Parshall, she was holding down the Hawkeyes’ lineup with her arm and her glove.

Maddie Gordon finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth as the second Nittany Lion to record a hit, with a blooper to left field. Coombs followed that up with a single up the middle, but Maddock couldn’t find the success that she found previously in the game and flied out.

Kylee Lingenfelter entered in relief for Parshall and did her job in the top of the sixth frame, while Adams began to falter in the bottom.

Lexi Black smashed a hit off the right field wall, and a sacrifice-fly off the bat of Michelle Leone knotted the game at one-a-piece. Lingenfelter locked down the back end, which set up the Nittany Lions for a walk-off scenario in the bottom of the seventh.

Liana Jones led off the inning with a base hit but was retired one batter later on a fielder’s choice, which was hit into by Lilia Crouthamel. Crouthamel made her way around to third and created a play at the plate after Coombs put it into play, but Jones couldn’t sneak by the tag of Iowa’s backstop Tristin Doster.

The Hawkeyes started extra innings with two base hits and were able to manufacture a run, capped off by Carter scoring on a Denali Loecker sac-fly.

The Nittany Lions were down, but not out. Maddock was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Lydia Coleman was immediately inserted to pinch run. Coleman made her way to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kaitlyn Morrison and came around to score on a Leone double down the right-field line, tying the game up at 2-2.

Parshall went back in to pitch and made quick work of the Hawkeyes, retiring them one-two-three. Then, Jones chose to quickly silence the opposition.

On the second pitch in the bottom of the ninth, Jones smashed the ball into the left-field scoreboard for a walk-off home run, securing a 3-2 victory for the home unit.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State softball couldn’t have envisioned a better start to the conference season. Jalen Adams is no joke. Adams, the freshman won Iowa Softball Pitcher of the Year in 2021, and she has carried her success to college boasting a 1.49 ERA in 13 games pitched. The Nittany Lions were relentless in their effort to reach Adams, and it ended up showing in the end result.
  • This Penn State softball team has some major heart and fight in it. Down almost the entire game, the Nittany Lions were able to rally late in the sixth inning and send the game into extras, where they were forced to come from behind again to win. Not to mention, just the pure experience in hard-fought conference games will prove beneficial down the line.
  • Liana Jones called game, folks. The junior outfielder crushed the second pitch she saw in the bottom of the ninth for a no-doubter, which ended up being a pure laser that probably left a dent in the scoreboard. It was Jones’ fifth home run of the 2023 season, leading to Penn State’s first walk-off win.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will be back in action on Sunday, March 26 with a double-header outing against the Hawkeyes. The first game is slated for 11 a.m. and the second is set for 1:30 p.m. at Nittany Lion Softball Park.

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About the Author

Zach Donaldson

Zach is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer for Onward State and serves as an editor for Penn State’s CommRadio. He hails from Downingtown, Pa., or in other words "just outside of Philly." When he's not watching or ranting about Philly sports, you can probably find him at the gym. If you like sports tweets, follow him on Twitter @zachdonaldson_ and all inquiries can go to [email protected].

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