Penn State Baseball and Softball Both Post Wins Friday

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State baseball and softball teams both posted wins Friday.

BASEBALL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Senior first baseman Tyler Kendall (Boynton, Beach, Fla.) lined an RBI-triple into the 410-foot “Nook” at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead Penn State past Purdue, 3-1, in Big Ten baseball action Friday night.

Penn State (13-12, 2-2 Big Ten) and Purdue (4-18, 0-4 Big Ten) had been tied at 1-1 since the top of the fourth inning, but the Nittany Lions took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the eighth to extend their winning streak to four. Third baseman Jim Haley (Upper Darby, Pa.) led the frame off with a double to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and was sacrificed to third to bring Kendall to the dish. Haley trotted home easily as Kendall roped a triple into the deepest part of the park in left-center field.

It was Kendall’s first career triple and it gave him a 3-for-4 night. Joining him with a 3-for-4 performance was freshman centerfielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.), who bounced a single off the pitchers’ mound, over the shortstop to drive in Kendall for an insurance run. The No. 5-6 duo in the lineup accounted for half of Penn State’s 12 hits on the night.

The Nittany Lions were also strong on the mound. RHP Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) (1-1) made his 84th career appearance and earned the win in relief. He entered the game with one out in the top of the eighth with runners on first and second and induced an inning-ending double play, and then struck out the side in the ninth for his first win of the season.

Penn State received a strong start from LHP Taylor Lehman (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who yielded just one run in the first 6 1/3 innings and struck out four. He scattered seven hits and did not walk anyone until the seventh when he allowed two to reach. RHP Dakota Forsyth (Bethel Park, Pa.) relieved Lehman in the seventh and worked an inning.

First baseman Kyle Wood paced Purdue for the evening, reaching base four times and going 3-for-3 with two doubles and a run scored.

Runs were difficult to come by early on with both teams stranding runners. Purdue left two runners in scoring position in the first inning and Penn State did the same in the second. The Lions were first on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning though, leading the frame off with three consecutive hits resulting in a run.

Second baseman Christian Helsel (Altoona, Pa.) led off with a double, shortstop Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) singled him to third, and Helsel scored on a single up the middle by Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.). A sacrifice bunt moved Hughes and Riotto into scoring position, but RHP Mike Lutz was able to retire the next two batters to end the threat.

Purdue tied the game the very next inning. Wood led the frame off with a double, he advanced to third on a one out single, and scored on a squeeze bunt by right field Alec Olund.

The Nittany Lions appeared poised to go back ahead in the bottom half with runners on the corners and just one out, but RHP Gavin Downs (0-1) relieved Lutz and the Lions lined into an inning-ending double play.

Downs kept the Lions in check until the eighth, when he yielded the go-ahead runs.

Penn State and Purdue will conclude the series with a doubleheader starting at noon Saturday.

SOFTBALL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State softball team extended its win-streak to six games after taking two Big Ten Conference contests from Michigan State Friday, Apr. 1. The Nittany Lions (16-14, 5-0 B1G) rolled to a 7-2 victory in game one before a five-run sixth inning in game two helped capture an 11-5 win in the tail end of the doubleheader.

The win-streak marks the longest since Penn State had a six-game win streak Apr. 2 to Apr. 12, 2014. Furthermore the Blue and White’s 5-0 start in conference play marks just the second time in Penn State softball history that the Nittany Lions have started league play 5-0. The 2000 PSU team also went 5-0 to start its B1G season before falling to Michigan, Apr. 15.

The Nittany Lion offense tallied 10-or-more hits for the third-straight game with 28 total hits on the day lacing 13 in game one and 15 in game two against the Spartans pitching staff. Penn State out-hit Michigan State 28-15 on the night keeping MSU to just four hits in game one. Senior Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) and sophomore Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) led the Penn State offense with six hits each in the doubleheader with Knief going 3-for-3 in game two and VanDerveer going 4-for-4.

Senior Erin Pond (Lagrange, Ohio) and freshman Tori Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) were a 1-2 punch in game two for the Blue and White as they each drove in four RBI on two and three hits, respectively.

Also having big days at the plate for Penn State were Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) and Kristina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif.) with Jones going 4-for-7 and plating two runs, while Brackpool drove in two runs for the Blue and White.

Ebonee Echols led the Michigan State offense with three hits, including two home runs, while Kaitlyn Eveland went 3-for-5 for the Green and White offense. In the circle, Dani Goranson tossed 2.0 innings in the game one loss, while Bridgette Rainey threw 4.0 innings of relief. In game two, Kristina Zalewski pitched six complete innings to suffer her ninth loss of the season giving up 15 hits and eight earned runs.

Junior Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) continued to be stellar in the circle for the Nittany Lions, going seven innings in the game one victory before coming on in relief in game two to pick up her second save of the season. Laubach pitched a four-hitter and gave up just one earned run in game one, while allowing two hits and no runs in game two. FreshmanMadison Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.) got the start in game one, hurling 5.0 innings before being relieved for Laubach.

Game One: Penn State 7, Michigan State 2

Jones led off the top of the first inning with a hit that just cleared the top of the short stops glove to put one runner on for Miller. Miller stepped in and ripped her fifth home run of the 2016 campaign just to the right of the right field foul pole giving Penn State the early 2-0 lead.

VanDerveer continued the hits for the Nittany Lions with a single in the hole at shortstop and advanced to third on a double off the right center field wall from Knief. With runners in scoring position, Brackpool laced a single through the left side of the infield to bring in two runs and allow Penn State to take a 4-1 lead into the second inning.

Michigan State answered with a run in the top of the second inning scoring a leadoff single on a Penn State fielding error to bring the score to 4-1 in favor of the Blue and White.

The Blue and White offense chased Goranson out of the game in the bottom of the third inning after Knief tripled down the right field line to lead off the inning. Rainey came on in relief of Goranson and sat down the first batter she faced, but the Penn State offense was patient at the plate as Pond walked to put runners on the corners with one out. Dubois rocketed a ball back at Rainey, but the right-handed pitcher snagged the ball out of the air to record the second out of the inning for MSU. However, Rainey was not able to get out of the inning untouched as Reina Furuya (Waihapu, Hawaii) lined a single down the right field line to bring in Knief.

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Blue and White capitalized on a fielder’s choice and hit batter as Jones stepped into the box and ripped a double off the right center field wall to bring in two runs increasing the Penn State lead to 7-1.

Michigan State came within five in the top of the sixth inning when Echols drove a one-out round-tripper over the center field wall but the Spartans were unable to find any further offense, falling 7-2 in game one.

Game Two: Penn State 11, Michigan State 5

Michigan State took the early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning using three-straight hits to score its first run and a double steal to take the 2-0 advantage.

After going down in order in the bottom of the first inning, Penn State used a leadoff single from VanDerveer and a hit by pitch to Knief to put runners in scoring position for Pond. The senior outfielder executed perfectly with a single up through the opposite side of the field to bring in two runs to knot the score at 2-2.

With Pond standing on second, Dubois ripped a double off the center field wall allowing the Nittany Lions to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

Echols knotted the score for the second time in the game when she launched her second home run of the day over the center field wall in the top of the third.

VanDerveer was the one to get things started again for the Nittany Lions in the bottom of the fifth inning with a single through the right side followed by a Knief single to shallow right center. Pond worked the count before reaching first on a Michigan State overthrow, allowing pinch runner Maegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii) to score from third and giving Penn State the 4-3 lead.

The Blue and White capitalized on the error using a Dubois double off the right center field wall to score two runs and assumed the 6-3 lead.

The Spartans fought back in the top of the sixth inning using a single and double to move runners into scoring position before a single to shallow right field scored a run with no outs, forcing Head Coach Amanda Lehotak to bring in Laubach in relief.

Laubach came in to shut down the first batter of the inning before a single down the right field line brought Michigan State within one of the Nittany Lions. The junior hurler did not let it phase her after an error loaded the bases as Laubach forced a slow roller to second and a fly out to left field to end the inning with the Blue and White holding on to a 6-5 lead.

The Penn State offense exploded in the bottom of the sixth inning with two straight singles from Jones and Sorenson before a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with one out. VanDerveer completed her perfect game at the plate with a clutch single up the middle, scoring one run. Knief again followed up the single with a double of her own to the right center gap bringing in the second run of the inning for the Blue and White.

Pond continued to produce at the plate when she placed a two-out rally single in left field, plating two runs before Dubois doubled through the opposite side of the field to allow Penn State to take a comfortable 11-5 lead into the top of the seventh inning.

Laubach settled into the relief role and got the first two batters on a groundout to short and a fly out to center. The Spartans looked to claw back into the contest when Eveland singled up the middle, but a groundout from Reiser closed out the game and allowed Penn State to take an 11-5 victory in game two.

The Nittany Lions and Spartans will conclude the three-game series Saturday, Apr. 2 at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field. Game three is slated to start at 3 p.m. and will be featured on the Big Ten Network.


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