PSU Softball Avoids Sweep at Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Penn State softball team claimed its fifth Big Ten Conference series victory with an 11-3 six-inning victory over the Hawkeyes of the University of Iowa Sunday, Apr. 24.

The Nittany Lions (26-18, 13-4) tallied their 22nd game with 10-or-more hits and their eighth game scoring 10-or-more runs in the 2016 season. Furthermore, Penn State won its fifth Big Ten Conference series which is a program-best as previous Blue and White squads had never won more than four B1G series in a season.

Senior Erin Pond (Lagrange, Ohio) paced Penn State with two hits, two RBI and scored twice, while sophomore Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) notched three hits with one RBI and touched home twice. Finally, senior Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.), sophomoreMollie Sorenson (Stephenson Ranch, Calif.) and senior Reina Furuya (Waihapu, Hawaii) all had multi-hit game with two hits apiece. As a team, the Blue and White had 14 hits compared to Iowa’s seven and drove in eight RBI.

Freshman Madison Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.) earned her 10th victory of the 2016 season, throwing 3.0 innings in relief, while juniorMarlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) pitched three innings in the start.

Whitney Repole led Iowa with two hits and one RBI, while Kaitlyn Mullarkey and Holly Hoffman each drove in one run on one hit for the Hawkeyes. Shayla Starkenburg suffered her second loss against the Nittany Lions, pitching 3.1 innings in the start and giving up four earned runs.

Jones started the Penn State offense in the top of the first inning with a single into the right field gap and moved into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt from Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas). The senior outfield came around to score when Knief singled just over the heads of the infielder’s to bring in Jones from second before a VanDerveer double down the left field line plated Knief to give the Nittany Lions the 2-0 lead.

Laubach got herself into a jam, loading the bases on a hit batter and two walks in the bottom of the second inning, but her defense lifted her up retiring the final two outs of the inning on infield groundouts to maintain its 2-0 lead over the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes started a two-out rally in the bottom of the third inning with a Gyerman double into the left field gap and a well-placed single into center field to score the run and bring Iowa within one of the Blue and White.

Two walks put runners on first and second and a wild pitch moved Tori Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) 60 feet from home with one out from Sorenson. Sorenson slapped a single into right field to score Dubois and extend the Penn State lead to 3-1 with one out in the top of the fourth inning. The Nittany Lions continued to press offensively in the top of the fourth inning loading the bases for Furuya, who laced a single up the middle to score one for the Blue and White. An error turned costly for the Hawkeyes as head coach Amanda Lehotak waved in two runs before a Knief single to right field brought in the final run of the inning and gave Penn State the 7-1 advantage in the fourth inning.

The offense continued into the fifth inning for the NIttany Lions with three straight-singles to plate one run with no outs and runners on second and third, forcing the second UI pitching change of the contest. The Blue and White brought in two more security runs in the top of the fifth inning, capitalizing on the second UI error of the game and a Kristina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif) single in the hole at short.

Trying to avoid the five-inning mercy, Iowa used back-to-back one-out singles to plate the run it needed to keep the Hawkeyes alive in the bottom of the fifth inning as Penn State led 10-3 heading into the sixth inning.

With a runner on first, Pond tripled into the right center gap, plating what would be the final run of the game for the NIttany Lions and securing the 11-3 victory for the Blue and White.

The Nittany Lions will return to Happy Valley for the remainder of the 2016 regular season, first taking on in-state foe Saint Francis in a non-conference contest Wednesday, Apr. 27. Game one of the doubleheader is slated for 6 p.m.


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