Softball Earns Doubleheader Split with Robert Morris

Story posted March 24, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Tom Shively

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA- A six-run explosion in the third inning of an 8-5 Game 2 victory ensured that Penn State (11-14) would not head home with two losses, but a stellar pitching performance from Kaitlin Ellzy of the Colonials in a 3-1 victory in Game 1 ensured that Robert Morris (7-22), would walk away from Beard Field with at least one win.

Ellzy grabbed her seventh win of the season, meaning she has been the winning pitcher in every victory for the Colonials.  She also threw her ninth complete game of the year, striking out three while only allowing one run and three hits in her seven innings pitched, bringing her ERA down to a respectable 3.27.

Marlaina Laubach, Ellzy’s counterpart on the rubber in Game 1, had a much rockier outing for the Nittany Lions, lasting only two innings and allowing two runs on three hits.  Laubach dropped to 4-5 on the season, despite having one of the better ERAs on the team at 2.79.

Lauren Hackett’s RBI double in the third inning got things started for the Colonials, and a sacrifice fly from Kristen Pray helped to build a cushion for Ellzy on the bump.  Kristen Gabelt added some insurance in the sixth inning by way of a solo home run, her second of the season.  The Colonials only registered five hits, but they were able to make the most of their opportunities, stranding only three baserunners compared to the seven stranded by Penn State.

Game 2 presented a much different narrative however, as the Lions were able to jump on Robert Morris starter Lacee Collins for seven runs (six earned) and seven hits, prompting Ellzy to come back in for the mop up job. 

On the other side, the Penn State pitching staff pieced together a complete performance without giving up any earned runs (five unearned runs were scored), spearheaded by Laubach.  Laubach came in relief for the sixth and seventh innings, and struck out two while only surrendering one baserunner.  Madison Seifert earned the win, working three innings on the mound, only yielding two unearned runs.

Macy Jones was the catalyst for the Nittany Lion offense in the nightcap, driving in three runs on two hits, all the while pushing her hitting streak up to 15 games.  Jones’ recent successes have no doubt caught the eye of head coach Amanda Lehotak, praising her after the game. 

“It’s the mentality that she brings to the plate, it’s the senior mentality of ‘I’ve been there and done that’, she does a really good job of not being flustered,” said Lehotak. “She sees her pitch, attacks her pitch, and I really like her in the leadoff spot.”

After a bloop single fell between three Robert Morris infielders to keep the third inning alive, Alyssa VanDerveer stepped up to the plate and smoked a two-run home run to right center field, opening up a five run edge for Penn State.  “I was really proud of [VanDerveer],” commented Lehotak after VanDerveer’s fifth home run of the season. “Sometimes you can be off a little bit, we saw that in Game 1…and for her to come back, calm down, and get that hit, she just kept battling the entire day.”

The Nittany Lions head east this weekend for a three game series against Rutgers to open Big Ten play.  The first game is scheduled for Friday at 3 PM.

Tom Shively is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism.  You can contact him at shivelyt97@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @t_shives.