PSU Softball Swept in Twinbill by No. 24 Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Penn State softball team suffered its first losses in Big Ten Conference play at the hands of No. 24 Ohio State University Wednesday, Apr. 6 at Buckeye Field.

The Nittany Lions (17-16, 6-2 B1G) fell 3-0 in game one before dropping a 12-10 decision in the tail end of the doubleheader. The Blue and White saw its seven-game win streak snapped as it was unable to find a hit in game one against Shelby Hursh. Junior pitcher Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) tossed all six innings, giving up just six hits and three earned runs, while striking out six in game one of the doubleheader.

After not finding a hit in game one, Penn State roared back to mark its 18th game with 10-or-more hits on the season, scoring 10 runs on 11 hits in game two against the Buckeyes.

Penn State got its offense going in game two as three Nittany Lions notched multi-hit games. Senior Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) paced the Blue and White with three hits including her second triple of the season, while Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) and Kristina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif.) had two hits apiece. Brackpool drove in a four RBI in game two, which is just one shy of a career high, and launched her first home run of the 2016 campaign. Also roping a round-tripper was senior Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.), notching her seventh of the season which ties for eighth in the Big Ten.

Freshman Madison Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.) got the start in game two for the Nittany Lions, going 1.1 innings before Laubach came on in relief to pitch 3.2 innings and suffered the loss. Sophomore Jessica Cummings (Owings, Md.) tossed the final inning coming in to get record three-straight outs for the Blue and White.

Alex Bayne led Ohio State with five RBI on the day including two home runs, while Cammi Pranti drove in four RBI in game two against the Nittany Lions. Also plating three runs in game two for Ohio State was Jess Machovina who went 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI.

Hursh earned the win in both games for Ohio State, tossing 10.1 innings on the day with three hits and two earned runs.

Game One: Ohio State 3, Penn State 0

A leadoff walk in the bottom of the first inning proved to be detrimental as Bayne homered off the left field foul pole in the next at-bat to give Ohio State the early 2-0 lead.

Penn State’s best chance in the next four innings was when Alyssa VanDerveer (Hillsborough, N.J.) drew a walk and pinch runnerMaegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii) advanced to second on a ground out in the top of the fourth inning. The Nittany Lions were unable to bring in the runner as they continued to trail Ohio State, 2-0.

The Buckeyes tacked on a third run in the bottom of the fifth inning using a lead off hit followed by a walk to move the runner into scoring position. A shallow single to center field brought in the runner on second to extend the Ohio State lead to 3-0.

The Nittany Lions were unable to come away with any hits, falling in the 3-0 no-hitter against the Buckeyes.

Game Two: Ohio State 12, Penn State 10

The Nittany Lions found their first spurt of offense in the top of the second inning when Erin Pond (Lagrange, Ohio) was walked and freshman Toni Polk (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) secured the first hit of the day with a hard single back at the pitcher. With runners in scoring position, Brackpool ripped her first home run of the 2016 season over the left field wall to give Penn State the early 3-0 lead.

Ohio State answered in the bottom half of the inning, scoring five runs on six hits before Head Coach Amanda Lehotak made a pitching change with one out and runners on second and third. Laubach came on in relief to get the second out of the game but the runner on third would score on the sacrifice fly. The NIttany Lions were able to get out of the inning when Knief made a diving catch in center field but Ohio State took the 6-3 advantage into the third inning.

The Blue and White did not let the runs discourage its offense as it juiced the bases in the top of the third inning for Pond, who roped a bases-clearing double in the left field gap which allowed Penn State to regain the lead, 7-6, with one out. Ohio State penciled in the final two outs of the inning before Penn State could bring in any further runs.

Jones earned a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth inning and moved 60 feet from home on a stolen base and a ground out before touching home on a Miller single to center field. With two outs on the scoreboard and a runner on first, Ohio State brought in Hursh to close out the inning.

The fourth home run of the game between the two teams knotted the score at 8-8 in the bottom of the fourth with Bayne launched a two-run round-tripper off the scoreboard.

The lead went back into the hands of OSU in the bottom of the fifth inning with a leadoff single from White followed by a single up the middle broke the 8-8 tie. A second-straight single, this time through the left side of the field, allowed Ohio State to take the 10-8 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.

After an hour weather delay the Nittany Lions were unable to start a two-out rally in the top of the sixth before a walk and a home run over the left center field wall extended the OSU lead to 12-8 in the bottom half of the inning.

Penn State looked to start a two-out rally in the top of the seventh when Knief made her way to third a hit to the warning track in left center field. With Knief on third, Pond walked to put runners on the corners before Polk notched a controversial hit to second base to drive in Knief and bring Penn State within three. The rally continued when Brackpool singled up the middle to plate Pond and put runners on first and second with two outs for the Blue and White.

Penn State was unable to bring in the final two runs it needed to knot the score, falling 12-10 in game two of the doubleheader.

The Nittany Lions will be back in action Friday, Apr. 8 when they continue the Big Ten Conference road trip at Indiana. Game one of the three-game series is set for 6 p.m.


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