Penn State Softball Eliminated By Maryland 3-1 In Extra Innings

No. 7-seeded Penn State softball (34-18, 12-12 Big Ten) fell to No. 10-seeded Maryland (24-29, 9-15 Big Ten) 3-1 in nine innings in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday night.

Despite six strikeouts by Bridget Nemeth and a Liana Jones home run, the Nittany Lions struggled offensively and notched just three hits all game.

How It Happened

After the game was delayed by over an hour due to Minnesota and Illinois’ matchup going to extra innings, the Nittany Lions and Terrapins finally began their contest under a cloudy sky in Iowa City.

Nemeth started in the circle after being named conference Freshman of the Year earlier and struck out Megan Mikami to open the game. Jaeda McFarland then got on base with an infield single before stealing second.

Mazie MacFarlane and Sydney Lewis both grounded out to end the top of the first inning, leaving McFarland stranded on first. Kaitlyn Morrison and Emily Maddock grounded out to Courtney Wyche in the circle to begin the bottom of the first.

Maddie Gordon went down looking at a pitch on the outside edge of the strike zone as Wyche retired three straight batters. After a few balls to Diamond Williams, Nemeth got her to ground out to second for the second inning’s first out and followed it by striking out Michaela Jones in three pitches.

Michela Barbanente got under a fly ball in left field hit by Madison Runyan to make the catch and end a quick top of the second. Gaby Garcia roped a curveball to second, where Runyan made a low grab for the lineout.

Liana Jones got Penn State’s first hit with one out as she grounded a screwball right back up the middle into center field, while Haylie Brunson popped out to left field for the second out one pitch later. Jones was caught trying to steal second and thrown out to end inning two.

Sammi Woods swung at the first pitch she saw to start the third and grounded out to Morrison at shortstop. Delaney Reefe snuck a groundball just past the outstretched arms of Morrison to reach first and bring the top of the order to the plate.

Mikami got on base on a fielder’s choice as Maddock elected to throw Reefe out at second, and McFarland also grounded out to Maddock at third for the final out. Wyche walked a Nittany Lion for the first time of the game as Barbanente got on base to start the inning, but Nemeth then struck out.

Gianna Poletti grounded out but advanced Barbanente to second as Morrison stepped back up to the plate. Morrison popped out to shallow left field and Wyche escaped the third inning, stranding a runner in scoring position.

Between innings, a dance break and game of rock-paper-scissors broke out in the Penn State dugout. To begin the fourth, MacFarlane grounded out to third on a hard-hit ball and Lewis struck out swinging at a high pitch.

Williams sent a breaking ball deep to right-center field for her 14th home run of the season to put Maryland on the board first. Michaela Jones popped out to right field to end the inning as the Terrapins entered the bottom of the fourth with a 1-0 lead.

Maddock got out attempting to lay down a bunt, Gordon grounded out to Williams at first base, and Garcia struck out swinging to get Wyche fired up after a one-two-three inning. Runyan hit a groundout to lead off the top of the fifth inning, and Nemeth then forced a Woods pop-out for the second out.

Maryland had three batters retired in a row as Reefe struck out after a four-pitch at-bat to head to the bottom of the fifth inning. Liana Jones took the seventh pitch of the at-bat deep to center field and tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run just over the wall.

Brunson walked in four pitches and Barbanente laced a line drive into center field to get Penn State a second runner on base with no outs. Nemeth struck out for the second time of the night, but freshman pinch hitter Brooke Klosowicz walked out of a full count to load the bases.

Morrison reached on a fielder’s choice but Brunson was thrown out at home, as Maddock stepped into the box with the bases still loaded and two outs. Maddock grounded out to shortstop to end the inning and Maryland escaped after only allowing one run off the Jones homer.

Morrison made a diving catch off a Mikami line drive and McFarland grounded out to first base one pitch later for the first two outs of the inning.

MacFarlane singled over the head of Liana Jones in center field, while Lewis grounded out the next at-bat to end the top of the sixth. Wyche walked Gordon, the first batter of the inning, out of a full count, and Gordon advanced to second from a sacrifice bunt by Garcia.

Liana Jones was walked by Wyche and Penn State had two runners on base with one out. However, one pitch later, Brunson fouled out down the third base line. Barbanente tapped a fastball right back to Wyche for a groundout to end the inning.

Williams popped out to shortstop to begin the top of the seventh inning, and Jones grounded out to the same spot. Runyan singled to left field, but Barbanente made a catch in the same spot one batter later to retire the side with the game still even.

Nemeth hit a ball deep to left to start the inning, but it was caught on the warning track for the first out. Poletti struck out swinging and was thrown at first after the third strike was dropped. Morrison popped out to right field to end a lengthy one-two-three inning, sending the game to extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, Reefe and Mikami each grounded out, while Barbanente made a highlight play in left field with a diving catch for the third out of the inning. In the bottom half, Maddock popped out to center field with the second pitch to her.

Gordon grounded out on a slow roller to shortstop, and after three outside balls, Garcia also grounded out to end the inning and go to the ninth, and Nemeth walked MacFarlane in seven pitches to begin the frame.

Lewis advanced MacFarlane with a sacrifice bunt to get a runner in scoring position with one out. Williams ripped one into left-center field to bring pinch-runner Caitlyn Cornwell around third and home safely, putting Maryland up 2-1.

Bri Godfrey pinch ran for Williams on second base, while Michaela Jones struck out looking. Then, Runyan shot one back up the middle to bring Godfrey home and give the Terrapins a two-run lead.

Woods put a hard-hit ball down the left field line to get a second runner on base, but Nemeth struck out Reefe with a ball on the outside corner. Penn State went back to the plate after allowing two runs in the top of the ninth inning.

Liana Jones grounded out to Woods at shortstop, which was her first at-bat that didn’t result in getting on base. Brunson also grounded out to Woods on one hop for the second out of the inning. The game concluded with Barbanente grounding out to Williams at first base, and Penn State was eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament.


  • As she’s done all season, Nemeth utilized her off-speed pitches to force many Maryland groundouts.
  • Two of the three games of the regular season series between Penn State and Maryland went to extra innings, and the two teams did it again in this pitching battle.
  • The Nittany Lions struggled to advance runners, leaving six stranded on base throughout the game.

What’s Next?

Penn State will hope to hear its name called during the Women’s College World Series Selection Show at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 12. It will be televised on ESPN2.

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About the Author

Michael Siroty

Michael Siroty is a freshman from Westfield, New Jersey, majoring in broadcast journalism. When he isn't writing articles or making TikToks for Onward State, Siroty is either taking a peaceful walk around Beaver Stadium or at his summer day camp job. You can contact him to discuss your sushi order or music taste on Instagram and Twitter @msiroty or by email at [email protected].

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