Penn State Softball Sweeps St. Francis (Pa.)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State softball team swept its fifth series of the 2016 season with two wins over in-state non-conference foe Saint Francis at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field Wednesday, Apr. 27.

The Nittany Lions (28-18) outhit the Red Flash 15-8 in the two games with a 6-0 shutout victory in game one and a 4-2 win in game two. The 6-0 shutout marks the third of the season for the Blue and White as it used nine hits and one Saint Francis error to secure its game one victory.

Senior Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) paced Penn State with two multi-hit games recording two hits in each game, while driving in one RBI and scoring twice. Sophomore Alissa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) notched two hits and two RBI on the day and senior Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) scored four runs with two hits and two RBI. Finally, senior Erin Pond (Lagrange, Ohio) plated two runs for the Blue and White in game one.

Junior Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) and freshman Madison Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.) both tossed complete games and earned their 10th and 11th wins of the 2016 season. Laubach went seven scoreless innings, giving up just five hits and striking out three in the first inning. Seifert had a no-hitter going until the fourth inning before giving up just three hits to the powerful Red Flash offense with three strikeouts.

Sierra McKee had three hits on the day for Saint Francis, while Alexis Bower drove in the only two Red Flash runs of the day on a home run to left field in the top of the sixth inning of game two. Ketarah DeVries and Ethel Santai suffered the losses in the circle with DeVries giving up nine hits in game one and Ethel surrendering six hits in game two.

Game One: Penn State 6, Saint Francis 0

Laubach shut down the Red Flash in the top of the first inning with three strikeouts before the Nittany Lions put a run on the board in the bottom half of the inning using three walks and a SFU error to score the unearned run.

Knief tripled down the left field line with one out before crossing home on a wild pitch to the backstop to add a second run for the Blue and White in the bottom of the third inning.

Saint Francis put runners on first and second for the second time in the game in the top of the fourth inning, but for the second time the Nittany Lions stopped the threat by turning a double play and not allowing a runner to get to third base.

The Nittany Lions used a single through the left side from VanDerveer before she made her way to third base on two wild pitches. With two outs, Pond laced a single up the middle with two outs to plate VanDerveer to extend the Penn State lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth.

Penn State turned on its offense in the bottom of the sixth inning with five-straight hits that drove in three runs and allowed the Blue and White to earn the 6-0 shutout over Saint Francis in game one.

Game Two: Penn State 4, Saint Francis 2

Jones ripped her 10th home run of the season over the right center field wall on her first pitch of her at-bat in the top of the first to give Penn State the early 1-0 lead in game two.

The Nittany Lions capitalized on an SFU error in the bottom of the third inning when Knief singled to right field and the ball got by the right fielder allowing Shelby Miller to score all the way from third base. A sacrifice fly from VanDerveer to deep center field scored the second unearned run of the inning for the Blue and White.

Errors continued to plague the Red Flash in the bottom of the fifth inning when Jones reached on an error to lead off the inning and came around to score on a double to right field and an infield ground out to extend the Penn State lead to 4-0.

After holding Saint Francis to 12 scoreless innings, Bower ripped a home run off the scoreboard in left field to bring the Red Flash within two, 4-2, in the top of the sixth.

After not registering a hit through the first four innings, Troxell put the first of the game on the board with a single through the left side but was left stranded at second base as Penn State retired the next two batters that came to the dish.

The Blue and White defense and Seifert shut down Saint Francis in the top of the seventh inning to earn the 4-2 victory.

The Nittany Lions will be back in action Friday, Apr. 29 when No. 2 University of Michigan comes to Happy Valley for a three-game Big Ten Conference contest. First pitch of game one is slated for 6 p.m.

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