PSU Softball Moves into Big 10 Semifinals with Win over Nebraska


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State softball team advanced to the Big Ten Softball Tournament semifinals after an exciting 8-7 victory that included a grand slam from sophomore Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.), over the Cornhuskers of Nebraska Friday, May 13 at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field.

(Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

With the win the Nittany Lions (30-23) will make their first conference tournament semifinal since 2002 when the Blue and White came in as the No. 5 seed. The trip to the semifinal also marks the third in program history as Penn State also made an appearance in the 2000 campaign as the No. 3 seed.

PSU’s win over the Cornhuskers also gave the Nittany Lions its 30th victory of the season for the first time since the 2011 campaign when the team finished 31-24-1 after an NCAA postseason appearance.

The Blue and White used eight hits to score eight runs, which included a grand slam from VanDerveer and a solo shot from Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas). The grand slam marked the 11th home run of the season for VanDerveer and the fourth grand slam of her career, while Miller’s round-tripper was the eighth of the season. Senior Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) tallied two hits and scored once for Penn State, while junior Kristina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif.) notched two hits, drove in one run and scored twice for the Blue and White. Finally, freshman Tori Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) plated two runs for Penn State and Erin Pond (Lagrange, Ohio) brought in one.

Nebraska managed just five hits off of the combined pitching of junior Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) and freshman Madison Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.). Laubach tossed 4.2 innings in the win, while Seifert picked up the save with 2.1 innings of relief work.

Kiki Stokes paced the Cornhusker offense going 2-for-4 at the dish with three RBI and scoring twice. Also tallying a multi-RBI effort for Nebraska was Mattie Fowler, who drove in three runs on one hit. Cassie McClure suffered the loss in the circle, going 2.1 innings before being pulled after giving up the grand slam.

The Cornhuskers started its offense in the top of the first inning with a single to center field from Stokes before an error and back-to-back ground outs allowed the unearned run to cross home and give Nebraska the early 1-0 lead over the Nittany Lions.

Miller looked to get a rally going in the bottom of the second inning when she singled deep in the hole at short stop before Dubois was hit by a pitch to move Miller into scoring position. The Cornhuskers used a fly out to center field to get the final out of the inning ending the two-out rally for the Blue and White.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning, Penn State loaded the bases on two walk and a hit batter for VanDerveer. After fouling a ball off down the right field line and taking one ball, VanDerveer launched a grand slam over the right field wall to allow Penn State to take the 4-0 lead with one out and force a Nebraska pitching change. Jablonski retired the first batter on a ground out but the Blue and White offense was not done as Miller roped a solo round-tripper over the center field fence to give the Nittany Lions a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the third.

The Cornhuskers worked their way within one of Penn State in the top of the fifth inning using two hits and a hit batter to score three runs with bases loaded.

Penn State started a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning when Brackpool reached on a fielder’s choice and Miller drew the walk. Dubois stepped in and laced a double off the left field wall to plate two runs. Pond followed it up with a single on the right field line to bring in Dubois, giving the Nittany Lions an 8-4 advantage heading into the sixth inning.

Again, Nebraska answered the Penn State rally in the top of the sixth inning when a single and a hit batter put runners on for Stokes who ripped a three-run home run over the right field fence to bring the Cornhuskers within one for the second time in the contest. With two outs and runners in scoring position, senior Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) came up with a diving catch in center field to close out the inning with Penn State hanging on to a narrow 8-7 lead over Nebraska.

Leading by one, Seifert and the Penn State defense shut down the powerful Nebraska offense in the top of the seventh inning in order to secure the 8-7 quarterfinal victory over the Cornhuskers.

The Nittany Lions will advance to the Big Ten Softball Tournament semifinals Saturday, May 14 at 3:30 p.m. and will face the winner of the No. 1 Michigan / No. 9 Indiana game. For the most up-to-date information on Penn State softball, head to GoPSUSports.com.


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