Penn State Baseball and Softball Both Win Again Saturday

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State softball and baseball teams were both victorious Saturday.

SOFTBALL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – For the second-straight weekend the Penn State softball team recorded a Big Ten Conference sweep capped off with an 8-6 win over Michigan State University Saturday, Apr. 2 at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field.

The Nittany Lions (17-14, 6-0 B1G) are off to its best conference start in program history with a 6-0 record in Big Ten play, surpassing its previous best start of 5-0 in the 2000 campaign. Furthermore, the weekend sweeps of Rutgers and Michigan State mark the first time Penn State has swept back-to-back conference series since the 2011 season when the Blue and White earned two two-game series sweeps over Ohio State and Northwestern, May 11-13. Moreover, the back-to-back sweep marks the first time that PSU has swept two-straight conference series since the Big Ten adopted the three-game format in 2012.

Penn State is currently riding a seven-game win streak, which ties the second-longest win streak in program history. The 2006 Nittany Lions hold the record with a 16-game win streak dating from Feb. 24 to Mar. 25.

The Blue and White offense remained red-hot against the Spartans as it tallied its fourth-straight game with 10-or-more hits and its 17th of the season. Senior Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) continued to be the spark plug of the Nittany Lion offense, launching two home runs in game three against the Spartans. Jones is the first Penn State softball player to hit two home runs in one game since Cassidy Bell belted two against LSU, Mar. 2, 2013. Jones went 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBI and extended her reached base streak to 21 games.

Also posting a solid day at the plate was freshman Tori Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) who launched her first career home run in bottom of the third inning to give Penn State the 7-6 edge. Dubois went 2-for-4 on the day with two RBI for the Blue and White. Sophomore Mollie Sorenson (Stephenson Ranch, Calif.) also notched a multi-hit game with two hits, while Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.)and Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) each brought in a run.

McKenzie Long led the Michigan State (19-17, 1-5 B1G) offense going 2-for-4 at the dish with a two run home run, while Sarah Gutknecht had one hit and two RBI for the Green and White. The Penn State offense forced Michigan State to use three pitchers with middle reliever Dani Goranson (6-6) suffering the loss after tossing 2.0 innings and giving up five runs, two of which were earned.

Freshman Madison Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.) notched the win in the circle, pitching 4.0 innings of relief. The right-handed hurler gave up five hits and did not allow a run to cross the plate, earning her sixth victory of the season.

The Spartans got out to the early lead, capitalizing on a Penn State error in the top of the first inning, which turned into two unearned runs for MSU.

The Nittany Lions did not let the early deficit phase them using a walk to Jones and a single from Sorenson to put runners into scoring position. The second walk of the inning loaded the bases for the Blue and White before a ground out to first allowed PSU to bring in a run.

Michigan State tacked on its third run of the game in the top of the second inning when a lead off single crossed the plate on a groundout to short.

In true Penn State fashion, the Nittany Lions got their offense going with a two-out rally in the bottom of the second inning when Reina Furuya (Waihapu, Hawaii) walked and stole second before Jones blasted her fifth home run of the season off the scoreboard in left field to knot the score at 3-3.

The offense continued into the top of the third inning when MSU used a leadoff single from Echols before a rope into the left field corner from Gutknecht scored a speedy Echols from first to give the Spartans a 4-3 lead. Michigan State tacked on two more runs using a two-run round-tripper from Long over the right center field wall to extend its lead to 6-3.

Penn State chipped away at the MSU lead in the bottom of the third when Knief made her way to third base on a Spartans throwing error before Dubois blasted the second home run of the day and first round-tripper of her career off the scoreboard.

Jones put control back into Penn State’s hands in the bottom of the third inning when she launched her second homer of the day and sixth of the season over the left center field wall to give Penn State the 7-6 lead.

With bases loaded and two outs for the Michigan State offense in the top of the fourth inning, Seifert and the Nittany Lions defense secured the final out of the inning to maintain its one-run lead heading into the bottom half of the inning.

Penn State continued to tack on runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when VanDerveer singled with an infield pop up to get on base for the Blue and White before Pond singled to shallow left field, scoring VanDerveer from third base.

Michigan State hoped to force a bottom half of the seventh inning when Gutknecht drew a leadoff walk on a pitch just off the plate to put a runner on first. However, the Penn State defense locked in to retire the next three hitters in order to earn its seventh-straight victory.

The Nittany Lions continue conference action Wednesday, Apr. 6 when they travel to Columbus, Ohio for a mid-week doubleheader against the Buckeyes of Ohio State. The two game series is slated to start at 4 p.m. and will be featured on the Big Ten Network.

BASEBALL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State won both ends of a Big Ten baseball doubleheader Saturday to complete a series sweep over Purdue, taking the first game, 7-2, and the second, 7-6, in the 12th inning on a walk-off double by Alex Malinsky (Apex, N.C.) The win extended Penn State’s winning streak to six games and its home winning streak to eight.

In the second game, Penn State (15-12, 4-2 Big Ten) and Purdue (4-20, 0-6 Big Ten) were tied at 4-4 from the sixth inning until the top of the 12th. RHP Jack Anderson (Evanston, Ill.) (2-1) helped keep it close with a season-high 4 2/3 innings pitched, entering in the eighth inning. It was his 85th career appearance, which tied the Penn State program record.

The Boilermakers broke the tie on a two-RBI single by third baseman Brett Carlson, who went 3-for-6 with three RBIs in the game. Both scoring runners had reached on errors and gave Purdue a 6-4 lead.

The Nittany Lions did not relent though. Designated hitter Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.), led the bottom half off with a double, and with one out, scored from second on a single up the middle by centerfielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) to make it a 6-5 game. James Coates (Girard, Ohio) followed with a single that dropped just in front of the centerfielder, which brought Malinsky to the dish for his first at-bat of the series.

Malinsky was an unlikely hero, as he entered the game defensively in the top of the 12th inning and was just 1-for-14 on the season. His lone hit was in the season’s second game in February, but he delivered on a 1-1 pitch by driving a liner to left-center, and it split the outfielders, allowing Bowersox and Coates to both score.

RHP Alex Lyons (1-2) suffered the loss for Purdue. He entered to get the final out in the 11th inning, but was touched for three runs on four hits in the 12th. RHP Tanner Andrews had limited Penn State to just two hits and three walks in seven innings of relief with four strikeouts.

Purdue had taken its first lead of the series in the first inning of the game. Left fielder Jack Picchiotti led the game off with a double and later scored on a groundout by first baseman Kyle Wood. The Boilermakers would go ahead 2-0 in the second inning on an RBI-single by second baseman Cody Strong.

Penn State would come back in the third and fourth innings. Second baseman Christian Helsel (Altoona, Pa.) doubled to lead off the third and later scored on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Nick Riotto. Helsel went 3-for-5 in the game with two doubles to lead Penn State along with Guers’ 3-for-5 day.

The Lions would then take a 4-2 lead the next frame with three runs. Coates drove in one on a groundout and Helsel and Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) drove in a run each with back-to-back singles.

Purdue tied the game in the top of the sixth inning though on RBI-singles by Carlson and Strong.

Penn State stranded two in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth, Purdue left a runner at third in the eighth and hit into a double play to end the ninth, and a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth resulted in extra innings.

Both teams went down in order in the 10th, but Purdue looked poised to go back ahead in the 11th when it placed runners on the corners with one out. A squeeze bunt play failed though when the ball went right back to Anderson for the easy toss home, and a groundout ended the frame.

The Nittany Lions thought they had it won in the bottom half when Haley nearly beat out an infield single with two runners in scoring position, but he was called out to end the inning.
The day’s first game was all but decided in the third inning when Penn State took a 5-0 lead. RHP Sal Biasi (3-3) went a career-long 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and four walks with seven strikeouts for the Lions.

Penn State took the lead in the first inning on an RBI-single by first baseman Tyler Kendall (Boynton Beach, Fla), who posted his second straight 3-for-4 game. With one out, Haley hustled down the line to prevent an inning-ending double play on a fielder’s choice, Guers walked to move him into scoring position, and then Kendall plated him with a single to right.

The Lions broke the game open in the third inning with four runs. Riotto and Haley led the inning off with singles, and Guers slapped a hit up the middle after faking a bunt to drive in the first run. RHP Matt Frawley (1-2) battled back to retire the next two batters, but Coates blooped a double to shallow left field to drive in Haley and Guers. Catcher Nick Graham (Chambersburg, Pa.) was hit by a pitch and then Helsel singled to left for the five-run advantage.

Frawley lost his command in the fifth though and walked the bases loaded with one out. He finished with a line of 4 1/3 innings pitched, six hits, six runs and six walks with four strikeouts.

After he was relieved, Helsel drew a four-pitch walk to push a run home for a 6-0 lead.

The Boilermakers spoiled the shutout in the eighth inning, as Nick Dalesandro hit a sacrifice fly and right fielder Alec Olund doubled to left field to drive in another run.

Kendall added an RBI single in the eighth for the final margin.

Penn State will next host Pittsburgh Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.


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