Penn State Softball Loses in Big 10 Semifinals to Michigan

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State softball team fell to the University of Michigan, 6-1, in the semifinal game of the Big Ten Conference Tournament Saturday, May 14 at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field.

(Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

The Nittany Lions (30-24) played in just their third semifinal game in the Big Ten Tournament and their first since the 2002 campaign.

Penn State battled against the pitching of Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Megan Betsa, making her throw four-straight walks before forcing her out of the game in the third inning. The Blue and White tacked on three hits against relief pitcher Sara Driesenga. Senoior Erin Pond (Lagrange, Ohio), junior Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) and sophomore Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) notched one hit apiece against the senior hurler.

Michigan tallied 10 hits off the combined pitching of junior Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) and freshman Maddie Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.). Seifert came on in relief to toss five innings and giving up just two earned runs against the highly touted Wolverine offense.

A leadoff walk proved detrimental to the Penn State defense when a shallow single on the right field line scored Lawrence from third base. The Wolverines tacked on three more runs in the inning with back-to-back home runs to take a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

With two outs, the Blue and White offense made Betsa work the count before throwing four-straight walks, including the RBI walk to VanDerveer in the top of the third inning. After Penn State forced Betsa out of the contest, Driesesnga threw one pitch to secure the final out of the inning with bases loaded.

Michigan extended its lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the third when it loaded the bases on a hit, a walk and a fielder’s choice before Montemarano singled to left field, scoring Kelly Christner from third base.

The Blue and White threatened in the top of the sixth inning when VanDerveer doubles past the short stop and pinch runner Maegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii) advanced to third on a ground out back to the pitcher. The Nittany Lions were unable to push the run across, trailing 5-1 heading into the bottom half of the inning.

The Wolverines tacked on their sixth run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning using a double to left center followed by a Lawrence single up the middle to take a 6-1 lead into the top of the seventh inning over the Nittany Lions.

Pond looked to start a seventh-inning rally when she singled to shallow left field to start the inning but Michigan closed out the game getting the next three outs in order including a close call on the final out of the game.

Penn State moves to 30-24 overall on the season and captured its first 30-win season since the 2011 campaign, while finishing in the top four of the Big Ten Conference for just the third time in program history.

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