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PSU Softball Swept by No. 6 Michigan

Wolverines take Saturday's game 12-4 in five innings.
STATE COLLEGE - The Penn State softball team turned in four runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Lions’ late heroics were not enough as they fell to No. 6 Michigan, 12-4, in five innings on Saturday afternoon at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field. Sophomore Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) led the charge for the Lions, posting PSU’s first hit of the day to break up a no-hitter from U-M’s Haylie Wagner for the second day in a row.
 
Freshman Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) and senior Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) contributed to the late rally attempt as well with one hit each. The Nittany Lions (6-21, 0-6 Big Ten) also drew three walks from Wagner, tying for the most the pitcher has given up this season.
 
Nicole Sappingfield set the pace for the Wolverines (25-6, 6-0 Big Ten), posting a perfect 4-for-4 effort at the plate with two runs and one RBI while Wagner led Michigan in the circle, doling out six strikeouts.
 
The Wolverines picked up where they left off on Friday night, scoring three runs in the first frame. Sappingfield was the first to head home for Michigan, crossing the plate on a single from Sierra Lawrence. Caitlin Blanchard and Lawrence tallied the following two runs, scoring on an error by PSU’s Sam Shanahan (Seattle, Wash.) to give U-M an early 3-0 advantage.
 
Michigan extended its lead to four in the top of the second as Blanchard ripped a single to right field to drive in Abby Ramirez.
 
An additional two runs in the third brought the count to 6-0 as Taylor Hasselbach and Mary Sbonek each crossed the plate while Lawrence tacked on the seventh run in the next frame, scoring on a wild pitch from Christy Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.).
 
The Wolverines recorded their final five runs of the contest in the top of the fifth inning. Lawrence drove in the first run of the frame, putting Sappingfield across the plate with a single to right field. Hasselbach followed with another single to right, bringing in Sierra Romero while Blanchard was driven in as Wagner drew a walk. A Lauren Sweet single down the right field line accounted for U-M’s final two runs, scoring Lawrence and Hasselbach.
 
Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) drew a walk with two outs remaining in the bottom of the fifth and Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) reached base two at-bats later to set the stage for the Lions. Habitz followed with a hard-hit single through the left side to drive in Furuya and give PSU its first run of the series. Freshman Mary Ward (Greencastle, Pa.), who pinch ran for Hatfield, was the next to score for the Blue and White, heading home on a Miller single to left field.  Sovereign brought in the final two runs of the game in the next at-bat, shooting a double deep to left center and pushing Maegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii) and Miller across the plate. The late rally fell short, however, as Penn State failed to tack on another run, giving Michigan a 12-4 victory per the eight-run rule.
 
The Blue and White close out their eight-game homestand on Wednesday night with a doubleheader vs. Saint Francis. First pitch for game one is slated for 5 p.m. and the second game is expected to begin at 7 p.m.

-PSU Athletic Communications
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