Penn State Softball Wins Big Ten Opener; Baseball Falls in Conference Lid Lifter

Penn State’s softball and baseball teams opened Big Ten play Friday with softball getting win over Rutgers and baseball falling to Illinois.

SOFTBALL

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Penn State softball team opened its 2016 Big Ten Conference season with a 12-8 victory over Rutgers University Friday, Mar. 25.

The Nittany Lions (12-14) used 12 hits and 10 RBI to score a season-high 12 runs at the RU Softball Complex. On a windy day in Piscataway, Penn State launched four home runs to move its season total to 15 round-trippers on the season. The Blue and White scored at least one run in all but one inning, including three multi-run frames, while Rutgers scored all eight of its runs in two innings of work.

Senior Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) extended her hitting streak to 16 games when she led off the game with her fourth home run of the season over the left center field wall, while sophomore Mollie Sorenson (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) extended her reached base streak to 14 contests. Jones, Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas), Kristina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif.) and Reina Furuya (Waihapu, Hawaii) all notched multi-hit games for Penn State with two hits apiece. Miller paced Penn State with three RBI on a three-run home run, while Jones brought in two runs and Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) drove in two runs on a two-run round-tripper.

Junior Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) pitched 3.1 shutout innings for the Blue and White, while relief pitching Madison Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.) nabbed her third win of the season, tossing 3.1 innings. As a staff, Penn State gave up 13 hits and struck out five.

Sierra Maddox paced Rutgers with a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, while Stephanie Huang and Jordan Whitley brought in two runs apiece for the Scarlet Knights. The NIttany forced RU to use three out of its four pitchers with Dresden Maddox hurling four innings

Penn State took the early lead over Rutgers in the top of the third inning when Jones drove a line drive home run over the left center field wall followed by a walk from Sorenson and a bunt single from Miller. With one out, Knief doubled off the left field wall plating Sorenson and extending the Penn State lead to 2-0 with one out. Following the two runs, RU made a pitching change that proved not to be in vein as the Scarlet Knights retired the next two outs of the inning before the Blue and White could push any further runs across the plate.

The Blue and White continued its offensive output in the top of the second inning when Furuya doubled over the center fielder’s head and Sorenson reached on a fielder’s choice. Miller dug in and blasted the Nittany Lion’s second home run of the day, this time over the right field fence, to push the Penn State lead to 5-0 in the top of the second inning.

A leadoff walk to Jones proved to be detrimental to the Scarlet Knights as she advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and moved to third on a wild pitch. Jones touched home for the second time on the afternoon when Miller forced the throw down to second on a stolen base to give Penn State the 6-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning.

RU used three walks in the bottom of the fourth inning to load the bases for the Scarlet Knights with one out before Seifert came on in relief of Christy Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and walked her first batter to allow Rutgers to score its first run of the contest. A shallow double to center field tacked on two final runs for RU to bring it within three of the Nittany Lions, 6-3.

In the top of the sixth with one out, Shannon Good (Horseshead, N.Y.) came on as a pinch hitter and roped a solo home run over the left center field fence, extending the Penn State lead to 8-3.

The Nittany Lions added four security runs in the top of the seventh on three hits and two Rutgers errors to take a comfortable 12-3 lead into the final frame.

Rutgers looked to make a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, scoring five runs on four hits, including a three-run one-out home run over the right field wall.

The Blue and White and the Scarlet Knights will play game two of the three-game series Saturday, Mar. 26 at 1 p.m. at the RU Softball Complex.

BASEBALL

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois jumped out to an early lead and RHP Cody Sedlock kept the Penn State bats in check, as the Fighting Illini defeated the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten baseball opener for both teams, 5-0, Friday night in Illinois Field.

Penn State (9-11, 0-1 B1G) saw its four-game winning streak come to an end with the loss. The Nittany Lions had its first batter reach in four of the first six innings, but Sedlock (4-1), a top-40 MLB prospect, struck out 10 in seven innings of work, allowing just four hits with no walks to earn the win Illinois (9-10, 1-0 Big Ten).

Centerfielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) had two of Penn State’s four hits against Sedlock. He doubled with two outs in his first at-bat in the second inning to give the Nittany Lions two runners in scoring position, but Sedlock responded with a strikeout.

Illinois took command with four runs in the first inning, as it loaded the bases with two hit by pitches and a single with no outs to open the bottom of the first inning. LHP Taylor Lehman (Pittsburgh, Pa.) (1-5) was able to get a force out at home for the first out but designated hitter Anthony Drago plated a run with a swinging bunt and centerfielder Doran Tuchin followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home another run. Right fielder Jack Yalowitz singled to second and two runs scored with the help of an errant throw.

Third baseman Trent Hammond singled up the middle with two outs and the bases loaded in the third inning for a 5-0 lead. Bowersox threw out a runner advancing to third to end the inning and prevent another run from counting.

Nittany Lion pitchers held Illinois without a run over the final six innings. RHP Eli Nabholz (Pottsville, Pa.) worked three scoreless and hitless innings and struck out three after entering at the start of the fifth inning.

Designated hitter Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) joined Bowersox with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a double. Penn State totaled six hits to Illinois’ eight.

Yalowitz went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two walks to lead Illinois, while Drago went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and run.

Penn State and Illinois will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at noon ET due to the threat of inclement weather Sunday. The second game will start at 4 p.m. ET and will be televised live on BTN.


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