Eight-Run Fifth Leads Penn State Softball Past Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa – A nine hit, eight-run fifth inning led the Penn State softball team to an 8-3 victory over the University of Iowa Friday, Apr. 22 at Bob Pearl Field. The win marked the 25th overall victory of the season for the Blue and White and 12th conference win.

(Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

The 2016 Nittany Lions locked up their 12th conference win of the season to tie for second all-time in conference victories in program history. The 1999 team locked up 15 wins to rank first, while the 2000 team also had 12 B1G wins.

With its sixth-straight victory, Penn State improves to 25-17 overall on the season and 12-3 in Big Ten Conference play, while Iowa falls 12-31 overall and 2-13 in conference action.

Both Penn State and Iowa tallied 11 hits on the afternoon, but the Nittany Lions were able to string theirs all together in one inning, while Iowa stranded 10 runners on the base path. Senior Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) paced the Blue and White with three hits and two RBI, while Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) had two hits and six other Penn State hitters had one hit each.

Junior Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) tossed her ninth complete game and earned her 10th win of the season with three strikeouts. The win marks the second-straight season that Laubach has notched 10-or-more wins on the season as she earned 13 in 2015.

Four Hawkeye hitters tallied multi-hit appearances, while Whitney Repole roped a two-out two-run home run in the second inning for Iowa. UI used three of its five pitchers, with Shayla Starkenburg suffering the loss going 4.0 innings with seven earned runs.

The Nittany Lions saw a quick two innings at the plate before a two-out walk and a home run over the left field wall from Repole allowed Iowa to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

The Hawkeyes threatened in the bottom of the third putting runners on first and second with no outs on back-to-back singles, but Penn State was able to work its way out of trouble with two infield groundouts and a fly out to right field.

The Nittany Lion offense came alive in the top of the fifth inning, lacing seven-straight singles which plated four runs for the Blue and White giving them the 4-2 advantage with no outs and bases loaded. Penn State continued to extend its lead, hitting around in the order to tack on four more runs, including a two-run single to right field from Knief. PSU used nine hits to plate eight runs in the top of the fifth to take an 8-2 advantage over UI heading into the bottom half of the inning.

Iowa used back-to-back hits on the left field line with no outs to put runners on second and third before a single up the middle from Mallory Killian drove in run for the Hawkeyes. With runners on the corners, Laubach notched back-to-back strikeouts before a ground out to short closed out the UI threat in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Hawkeyes continued to battle in the bottom of the seventh inning putting runners on first and second with no outs with back-to-back singles. With runners in scoring position, Holly Hoffman knocked a ball to left field that was caught by Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.). Jones put a perfect throw on the glove of Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) to catch the runner who tagged up a second and secure the double play. An error loaded the bases but Laubach forced a pop up at the plate to secure the 8-3 Penn State victory.

The Nittany Lions and the Hawkeyes will face off in game two of the series Saturday, Apr. 23 at 3 p.m. at Bob Pearl Field.

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