PSU Softball Set for Conference Series Against Maryland

The Penn State softball team will remain at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field for a three-game Big Ten Conference series against the Terrapins of Maryland, Apr. 15-Apr. 17.

The Nittany Lions and the Terrapins are slated for a 6 p.m. contest on Friday, Apr. 15 before meeting up for game two at 4 p.m. Saturday, Apr. 16. The Blue and White conclude its second home conference series Sunday, Apr. 17 with a 1 p.m. start.

NITTANY LIONS WELCOME ALUMNAE FOR WEEKEND SERIES

The three-game series against Maryland will welcome all former Penn State softball players back to State College to watch the current Nittany Lions against the Terrapins. The alumnae will be welcomed back to Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field and celebrated for their accomplishments in their time as a member of the Penn State softball team.

PENN STATE TO HOST ANNUAL PRE-GAME TAILGATE AGAINST TERRAPINS

The Penn State softball team and booster club will host its annual pre-game tailgate Sunday, Apr. 17 starting at 11 a.m. The 2016 tailgate will include free food, music and games for people of all ages. Sunday will also be Super Hero Day at Beard Field where fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite super hero for the game against the Terrapins. Finally, it will be Little League Day at the ballpark and there will be a postgame autograph session with the Nittany Lions.

SERIES HISTORY WITH THE TERRAPINS

Penn State holds a 10-5 advantage in the all-time series against Maryland with its most recent win coming at the 2015 Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions earned a 10-6 victory in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament, but struggled with the Terrapins in the regular season. Maryland dominated the regular season series with the Blue and White, sweeping the series in College Park. Prior to the 2015 season, Penn State and Maryland had not faced each other since the 2009 campaign when the two teams split a non-conference series.

SCOUTING MARYLAND

The Terrapins make the short trek to Penn State with an 11-27 overall record and a 3-6 record in Big Ten Conference action. Most recently, Maryland picked up its first conference series victory against Michigan State. After falling in game one, the Terrapins came back to take game two, 10-2 in six innings and took a one-run victory in game two, 9-8. Maryland also picked up a conference win over Nebraska in its second B1G series of the 2016 season.

Maryland ranks eighth in the Big Ten with a .290 team batting average, tallying 287 hits on the season with Skylynne Ellazar’s .414 season batting average ranking fifth in the Big Ten. Ellazar paces the Terrapin offense with 48 hits, which ties for fifth in the conference, and eight doubles. The sophomore has also brought in 22 runs for UM which ties for second on the team. Hannah Dewey has driven in a team-high 28 RBI on the season nad carries a .333 batting average with 35 hits. The lefty batter has laced eight doubles, two triples and two home runs, while drawing a team-high 22 walks to contribute to a .458 on-base percentage.

In the circle, Maryland uses three hurlers on a consistent basis with right-handed hurler Brenna Nation tossing a team-high 85.1 inning with a 7.38 ERA in 30 appearances and 19 starts. Madison Martin has a team-low 4.14 ERA in 71.0 innings of work, while Hannah Dewey is the lone left-handed pitcher on staff with 25 appearances and 11 starts in the circle. The Maryland pitching staff has struggled this season as opponents are hitting .328 against the Terrapins with no pitcher having an earned run average below 4.00.

BEST CONFERENCE START SINCE 2000

Penn State softball is off to its best start in conference action since the 2000 campaign where the Nittany Lions went 8-3 in its first 11 games of Big Ten Conference action. The Blue and White won its first five contests to open up Big Ten play before winning three of its last four contests in the first 11 games of conference play to get out to an 8-3 start. The 2000 Nittany Lions went on to split its next two series to go 10-5 in their first 15 games of conference play. If Penn State can win at least two games against Maryland it will mark only the eighth time in program history that the Nittany Lions have won 10 Big Ten Conference games in a season. Furthermore, it will have taken the Nittany Lions just 14 games to reach 10 wins, which is the least amount of games in program history. Prior to that the 2002 team reached 10 conference wins in 15 conference contests.

KNIEF PACING THE BIG TEN

Senior Lexi Knief currently has the hottest bat in the Big Ten Conference action as she is batting a conference-best .550 through the first 11 games of league play. Knief leads the B1G in batting average (.550), hits (22) and total bases (31), while tying for second in doubles (5), ties for third in triples (2), ranks fifth in runs scored (15) and sixth in on-base percentage (.600). The senior outfielder is hitting .366 overall on the season with 41 hits and 20 RBI batting in the five-spot for the Blue and White. Knief has tallied 14 multi-hit games and five multi-RBI games in the 2016 season.

THREE DRIVING IN 30 RBI

As a team, Penn State softball has driven in 202 RBI on the season with Macy Jones, Shelby Miller and Alyssa VanDerveer accounting for half of the team’s RBI with 101 combined. VanDerveer has driven in a team-best 37 runs hitting cleanup which ties for third in the Big Ten Conference. Jones is just four RBI behind VanDerveer with 33 in the leadoff spot of the lineup, while Miller has brought in 31 runs on the season for the Blue and White in the three-hole.

SORENSON HITS WALK-OFF SINGLE AGAINST BUCKNELL

With a runner on first in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Bison, sophomore Mollie Sorenson slapped a single up the middle that would plate Jones from second base and allow Penn State to earn the slight 2-1 victory over Bucknell. The win marked the third non-conference victory at Beard Field for the Nittany Lions and the fifth-straight win at home.

PENN STATE TAKES TWO FROM BUCKNELL

The Penn State softball team earned its first non-conference sweep of the 2016 season taking two from Bucknell in a mid-week doubleheader at Nittany Lion Softball and Beard Field. The Blue and White won game one in dramatic fashion with a Mollie Sorenson walk-off hit up the middle in the bottom of the seventh inning before Penn State put up four runs in game two for the three-run victory. Junior Shelby Miller paced the Nittany Lions with three hits on the day and two RBI including a solo home run in game one. Senior Lexi Knief added a multi-hit game for Penn State with two hits and scored once. Junior Marlaina Laubach tossed seven innings for the win in game one with eight hits and giving up just one earned run while matching a career-high six strikeouts. Freshman Madison Seifert got the nod in game two, tossing all six innings with five hits and one earned runs.

FEELING COMFORTABLE IN HAPPY VALLEY

After an opening weekend series loss, Penn State has found its groove at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field. The Nittany Lions are 7-3 overall at home having won its past six contests at Beard Field.

ON DECK

Penn State will hit the road for the final time in the 2016 season when it heads to Iowa City, Iowa for the three-game series with the Hawkeyes. Game one against Iowa is slated for Friday, Apr. 22 at 7 p.m. followed by game two Saturday, Apr. 23 at 3 p.m. Penn State and Iowa conclude the series Sunday, Apr. 24 at 2 p.m.


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