Hofstra Sweeps Softball In Home-Opening Doubleheader
It was a long, cold afternoon for Penn State as Beard Field welcomed fans back for the first time in 2016 for two games against the Hofstra Pride.
However, the Pride were the ones that kept the party going all afternoon and dominated the Nittany Lions in both games of the doubleheader.
The Pride won the first game 15-8 and capped of the day with a 9-6 victory, staving off a last-inning comeback for the Nittany Lions.
The Lions dropped to 9-13 on the season and extended their losing streak to three games.
The first game ran upwards of three hours, which is unusually long for a collegiate softball game, but coach Amanda Lehotak insisted the long afternoon did not faze her players.
“I honestly had no idea it was three hours long,” Lehotak said. “We’re used to playing games like that. [Today] was one of those things where we just couldn’t put it together. We had hitting and defense but we didn’t have pitching.”
A lack of pitching was indeed the story as the Lions gave up 17 walks in 14 innings on Saturday while only striking out nine. Madison Seifert entered the first game in relief of Marlaina Laubach, but struggled the most out of the Lions’ five pitchers on Saturday.
Seifert went three innings and surrendered six earned runs (eight total) and walked four batters. The second game saw Macy Jones, who started in left field in the first game, give up five earned runs in two-and-a-third innings, and Jessica Cummings give up four more runs in four innings of relief.
Lehotak said after the game that early pitching changes are never ideal, and that Saturday was a continuation of the team’s pitching-by-committee approach to their games.
Hitting wise, the Lions generated offense in spurts but failed to execute on several opportunities with the bases loaded. The Lions racked up six fielders’ choices in the second game — an indicator of failing to get the ball out of the infield consistently.
Lehotak added that Hofstra is no slouch. The Pride took advantage of their opportunities when they got ahead in the count all afternoon, and hit a total of six home runs in both games including one in pinch-hit fashion in the second game.
“I’ve said all along Hofstra’s a really good team,” Lehotak said. “This year is the slowest start they’ve ever had. I’m not surprised by their offense. You give an inch, they take a mile.”
Yet despite getting outplayed by a very talented Hofstra team, Lehotak is confident that her team is capable of stringing together a few wins, and collectively improving her team’s pitching as the weather gets warmer and the Big Ten schedule begins soon. She also suggested that playing at home for the first time this season got in her players’ heads and affected their play.
“I think today there was so much emotion playing at home,” Lehotak said. “I can’t even describe what it’s like to play here and how bad we want to play here. I actually pulled the pitchers aside and told them, ‘I think you guys are trying too hard.’ I’ve seen what they have done on bigger scales against top ten teams but today they were aiming and pressing instead of trusting their stuff.”
Lehotak concluded with a smile saying, “we’re going to put it all together one day. I just know we are.”
John Petrolias is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
John Petrolias is a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, and is a play-by-play broadcaster and producer for men’s hockey content, as well as the host/founder of Pittsburgh Sound—Happy Valley’s only Pittsburgh sports talk show. Petrolias has previously covered the men’s hockey team for The Daily Collegian, covers Penn State football for PennLive.com and has interned at the Pittsburgh Penguins, Penn State Athletics/BTN Live Student U production, as well as the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s PR department in Pittsburgh. John aspires to be an on-air journalist or play-by-play broadcaster for a news/sports outlet and plans to go to law school to become a media and First Amendment attorney.