Penn State Softball Splits with Robert Morris

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State softball team split its mid-week non-conference doubleheader with in-state foe Robert Morris Wednesday, Mar. 23. The Nittany Lions (11-14) fell 3-1 in game one before earning the 8-5 victory to cap off the night.

Senior Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) extended her hitting streak to 15 games, going 2-for-3 at the plate in game one and 2-for-4 with three RBI at the dish in game two. Sophomore Mollie Sorenson (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) also extended her reached base streak to 11 games, touching first on two walks in game one and doubling off to the left center field wall in game two to drive in a run.

Jones paced the Nittany Lions at the plate with four hits and three RBI, while Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) blasted her fifth home run of the season and had two hits and three RBI on the day for the Blue and White. Also notching multi-hit games for PSU were Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) and Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.), who each had two hits, while Rebecca Ziegler (Tuscon, Ariz.) had one hit and one RBI on the day.

Junior Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) suffered the loss in game one but came on in relief in game two to throw two shutout innings and clinch the save for the Blue and White. Senior Christy Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) earned the win in game two pitching one solid inning of relief, while Madison Seifert (Wildwood, Md.) notched the start hurling three innings.

Penn State outhit Robert Morris 14-12 on the day with 11 hits in game two compared to RMU’s seven. Ashley Gerhart and Olivia Lorusso led the Colonials with three hits apiece, while Kaitlin Ellzy pitched the complete game win in game one for RMU.

Game One: Robert Morris 3, Penn State 1

After Penn State threatened to score in the top of the first, Robert Morris was the first to light up the scoreboard with back-to-back doubles in the top of the second inning. The Colonials used a shallow pop up to right field with a runner on third to extend its lead to 2-0 before Laubach struck out the final batter of the inning for the Nittany Lions.

The Blue and White cut the RMU lead to one in the bottom of the third when Jones reached on a walk before stealing two bases and touching home on a VanDerveer sacrifice fly to right field.

Penn State looked to knot the score in the bottom of the fifth inning when Jones ripped a double off the left center field wall and Sorenson was hit by a pitch but a slow roller to third base turned into a double play ball for the Colonials as Penn State continued to trail 2-1 heading into the top of the sixth.

Kristen Gablet extended the RMU lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning with a lead off homer over the left field fence.

The Nittany Lions were unable to find any further offense in the remaining innings, falling 3-1 in game one against RMU.

Game Two: Penn State 8, Robert Morris 5

Two walks and rocket to short stop from VanDerveer loaded the bases for Penn State in the bottom of the first inning with two outs but the Nittany Lions were unable to plate a run as a grounder to short closed out the inning.

The Nittany Lions continued to threatened offensively in the bottom of the second when Knief ripped a single to the pitcher and moved 60 feet from home on a stolen base and an illegal pitch. With Knief on third, Jones stepped in the box and singled through the left side of the field to give Penn State the early 1-0 lead.

Robert Morris answered in the top of the third inning when a two-out error allowed the runner on third to cross home. The Colonials tacked on the go-ahead runner when a double to right center brought in the runner from first base.

Penn State exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third inning including a two-run home run for VanDerveer over the center field fence. After VanDerveer’s fifth home run of the season, the Nittany Lions used a two-out rally to bring in its remaining four runs of the inning, which came from a single from Jones and a double from Sorenson.

The Colonials responded again in the top of the fourth using a costly Penn State error to score three runs on two hits to come within two of the NIttany Lions, 7-5.

Jones reached on a Colonial throwing error and moved to second on a groundout with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning to get something going for the Blue and White. Miller dug in and roped a single just over the short stops glove to bring in Jones from second and extend the Penn State lead to 8-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Laubach came in to close out the final two innings of the game to earn her second save of the season, pitching two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.

The Nittany Lions open Big Ten Conference action Friday, Mar. 25 when they head to Piscataway, N.J. for a three-game series with the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. First pitch of game one is slated for 3 p.m. at the RU Softball BxComplex.

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