Penn State Softball Goes Undefeated In Paradise Classic To Start 2024 Campaign
Penn State softball (5-0) started off the 2024 season undefeated in the Paradise Classic in Boca Raton, Florida.
Notably, the Nittany Lions earned their first win against a ranked opponent since 2021 with a victory No. 16 Arkansas. The bats also came alive for Penn State, as it outscored Arkansas, FAU, Marshall, and Ohio twice 23-7.
Penn State started off its weekend with a 5-2 win over Marshall.
Marshall came out in the first inning scoring twice, but Penn State answered in the bottom of the inning to tie the score. The score remained the same for another inning, but senior Liana Jones knocked the first home run of the year and the score was upped 5-2 after three innings.
In the circle, pitchers Mady Volpe and Bridget Nemeth combine for 11 strikeouts and only three walks. The defense was able to lock in after the first inning and the Nittany Lions began their season 1-0.
Penn State finished off Friday night with a 3-2 win against the hosting team, FAU.
Penn State once again had some offensive action in the first with a triple from Kaitlyn Morrison and two more runs were scored to lead 3-0. Both sides were stalled for the majority of the game, but FAU was able to bring it within one in the fifth.
Penn State’s defense held it down once again and the team secured the 3-2 win.
In game three, Penn State defeated Arkansas in extra innings 3-2.
In the team’s first ranked win since 2021, the Razorbacks came out swinging and plated a run in the first. But, Jones had another massive day at the plate with an RBI triple in the second to tie it 1-1.
Arkansas had bases loaded in the fourth, but Volpe worked out of the situation only allowing one run. The Nittany Lions answered again with an RBI single from Haylie Brunson to knot the score 2-2.
Neither side could score again through seven innings, and Penn State held off Arkansas in the top of the eighth with international tiebreaker rules.
Penn State then placed Lydia Spalding on second, and she was moved to third by a sacrifice bunt. Emily Maddock then hit a single allowing Spalding to score and Penn State to take home the win.
The momentum kept rolling as Penn State put up a run-rule 8-0 win against Ohio.
The bat stayed hot for Jones as she hit an RBI single and scored a run of her own in the second. Gaby Garcia then launched a three-run shot in the third, and Jones scored once again on an RBI double from Michela Barbanente to put the Nittany Lions up 6-0.
Penn State put up two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, and the mercy run rule was enacted to end the game 8-0.
The final game of the weekend came against Ohio with a 4-1 win.
Ohio attempted to avenge its scoreless outing Saturday by plating a run in the first. The Bobcats held the lead in the first two innings, but Penn State earned two of its own in the third to go up 2-1.
Nemeth entered the circle and held Ohio scoreless for the rest of the game. The Nittany Lions scored one more on another dinger from Brunson to end the weekend with a 4-1 win.
The Nittany Lions will travel once again for THE Spring Games in Leesburg, Florida. Game one against Kansas at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 16, and will be streamed on FloSoftball.
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