PSU Softball rallies past Michigan State

Sports

The Penn State softball team fought to an 8-6 Big Ten Conference victory over Michigan State Friday, April 13 at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field.
 
The Blue and White notched 10-or-more hits for the sixth time this season with 11 hits on the day, while four players tallied multi-hit games and two notched multiple RBI outings.
 
“I’m really proud of our kids fight tonight,” stated head coach Amanda Lehotak. “We knew historically us and Michigan State always have high-scoring games and we always go back-and-forth. We knew that going in. I liked how we held our emotions. I thought we had a lot of great answer innings. They scored right away, we bounced back right away. Both sides as you saw, historically, will throw different pitchers and I thought everybody kept their composure and did what they had to do. We had another great hitting performance. Delaney [Elling] was excellent, Tori [Dubois] was excellent, Toni [Polk] was excellent; so a lot of good things today. Defense was not excellent, but tomorrow’s a new day.”
Junior Toni Polk (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) led the Nittany Lion offense with two hits and three RBI and Amanda Grieco (Basking Ridge, N.J.) had two hits with two RBI on the day. Junior Tori Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) continued to be a leader in the box for the Blue and White with two hits, including her sixth home run of the season and scored twice. Finally, sophomore Delaney Elling (Washington, Pa.) and Meghan Williams (Bethlehem, Pa.) had productive days at the plate as each scored twice and Elling had two hits and Williams had one hit and one RBI.
 
Senior Jessica Cummings (Owings, Md.) earned the win in the circle, pitching the first three innings before re-entering the game in the fifth to close out the victory. The Owings, Maryland native struck out four and gave up just six hits in 5.2 innings of work.
 
Kaitlyn Eveland paced the Michigan State offense with two hits and five RBI, while Katie Quinlan had three hits and scored twice. In the circle, Bridgette Rainey took the loss, while three other Spartans saw time in the circle.
 
The Nittany Lions quickly got the first two outs of the inning but an infield error would stretch out the inning and allow Eveland to hit a three-run home run and give MSU the 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Penn State answered in the bottom half of the inning loading the bases and using a dribbler to third to cut the Spartan lead to two with no outs.
 
The third free pass of the inning brought the Blue and White within one before Polk tripled down the right field line to drive in two runs and allow Penn State to take the 4-3 advantage after one complete inning.
 
Penn State loaded the bases for the second time in the contest in the bottom of the third inning for Polk, who roped a clutch single through the right side to extend the Nittany Lion lead to 5-3 with one out. With bases juiced, Michigan State issued a walk allowing Penn State to take the two run advantage.
 
Dubois built on the Blue and White lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, hitting a solo shot over the left field wall to propel the lead to 7-3. Michigan State came within two in the top of the fifth inning when a double off the left field wall brought in runners standing on second and third with one out. Cummings re-entered the game with one out and bases loaded to shut down the MSU strike with a pop up and a strikeout to maintain the 7-5 Penn State lead.
 
Michigan State cut the Nittany Lion lead to one in the top of the sixth when an unearned run crossed the plate on a single down the left field line. Penn State had an answer inning in the bottom half, scoring one run on a Grieco single to center field.
 
The Spartans put two runners on base with two outs in the top of the seventh inning but a fly out to deep center field closed out the game allowing Penn State to pick up the 8-6 victory in the series opener.
 
Up Next:
The Nittany Lions and Spartans will conclude the three-game series Saturday, April 14 with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field.

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