Jones’ Two Homers Lift Lions Past Michigan State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Senior leadoff hitter Macy Jones was all smiles as she rounded the bases after her third inning two-run shot to right field. It was one of two long balls on the day for Jones, who drove in four runs in an 8-6 victory for the Nittany Lions (17-14, 6-0) over the Spartans. The Lions completed the three game sweep of Michigan State (19-17, 1-5) after taking care of the Spartans 11-5 and 7-2 in a doubleheader on Friday.
“She’s been great all year and came up big again today,” said Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak of Jones after the game. The two homers for Jones marked her fifth and sixth of the year, tying her with Alyssa VanDerveer for the team lead as well as bringing her up to 28 RBI’s on the season, second only behind VanDerveer.
The start of the game was very ominous for Jones and the rest of the Nittany Lions, as she misplayed a routine fly ball in left field while battling the sun in the first inning, which allowed Michigan State’s leadoff hitter Lea Foerster to reach second base. Foerster would later come around to score one of two runs for the Spartans in the opening frame.
Penn State answered in the bottom of the inning by way of a Lexi Knief RBI groundout, but the Spartans grabbed that run right back in the top of the second with a Destinee Luna RBI groundout to second base, scoring pinch runner Kelly Zachrison.
The first of the two Jones home runs came in the bottom of the second, crushing the ball to deep left center off of the scoreboard, bringing in Reina Furuya and tying the game. Jones reached base in all four of her at bats, going 3-3 with a walk.
The Spartans battled, however, scoring three runs in the top of the third to take a 6-3 lead. Sarah Gutknecht doubled in Ebonee Echols and then McKenzie Long cleared the bases with a home run, the only one of the day for the Spartans.
Jones’ second home run, as well as a two-run shot from Tori Dubois, put Penn State ahead for good in the bottom of the third. It was Dubois’ first home run of the year and Lehotak was visibly joyous after the game. “For Tori to get her first home run of her career, it was really exciting for her.”
Erin Pond added an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth to add some insurance runs for Penn State, a team that has now won seven straight games and joins Minnesota as the only two unbeaten schools in Big Ten play.
Madison Seifert was stellar on the bump, tossing four scoreless innings of relief while only giving up five hits to earn her sixth win of the season. Jessica Cummings had a rocky outing to start, surrendering three runs, but only one earned due to the Jones error.
Dani Goranson was tagged with the loss for Michigan State, dropping her record to 6-6 on the season. She was torn apart by the Penn State bats, yielding five runs in two innings, but much like Cummings, was a victim of poor defense which led to three unearned runs.
The Nittany Lions next take the field Wednesday in Columbus against Ohio State. They return home for a doubleheader against Bucknell on April 13.
Tom Shively is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @t_shives.
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