Softball: Penn State Drops Two Straight Against Michigan State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Kristina Zalewski pitched a pair of complete games as Michigan State beat the Penn State Nittany Lions 7-1 and 6-2 on Saturday afternoon in Beard Field. Tori Dubois went a combined 3-7 with a homerun and two RBIs in the losses.
Lea Foerster started off the first game with a bang as she led off the opening game with a homerun. Madison Shaffer and Jessica Cummings started in the doubleheader with the pair combining to give up 11 earned runs.
Zalewski dominated, as she struck out 19 batters over the course of the two games. Her one misstep came in the first game when Dubois launched a solo homerun in the bottom of the third inning. Zalewski moves to 9-9 overall, dropping her ERA to 1.92 for the year.
Michigan State improves its record to 16-21 on the season, while Penn State drops to 7-30.
The offensive firepower that carried Penn State’s offense in the series opener was barely there on Saturday as the team was only able to muster eight hits and three runs in the doubleheader. The first game saw the Nittany Lions get only two hits with both of them coming from Dubois.
The junior outfielder went 1-for-4 in the second game, but was robbed of an extra base hit by a leaping grab from second baseman Melanie Baccay. Dubois talked about how her patience helped her succeed against Michigan State’s ace.
“I was just trying to get set earlier than previous at-bats,” Dubois said. “Get my foot down and just wait for the ball to come in. That was my game plan going in and it seemed to work.”
Her approach could have been used by some of her teammates as they went a combined 5-for-47 with 19 strikeouts and one RBI against Zalewski. The Nittany Lions were behind in the count throughout the day and were unable to produce much when they had two strikes.
The second game was an improvement from the first as Penn State only struck out eight times and recorded six hits. Head coach Amanda Lehotak explained that in-game changes helped the team be more productive in game two.
“I would say we finally made adjustments,” Lehotak said. “Game one, I don’t think we made any adjustments.”
Penn State was able to load the bases with nobody out in the sixth inning, but only scored one run from it. Lehotak was proud of her team’s fighting mentality late in the game and said it’s part of its personality.
“That’s just them,” Lehotak said. “That’s their character. You saw we had bases loaded, no outs. That’s a team that fights constantly late in the game.”
Part of the reason for Penn State to be fighting late in games was the amount of runs the team gave up in the first inning. Michigan State scored a combined seven runs in the opening fixture, creating too deep of a hole for the Nittany Lions to climb out of.
Michigan State travels back home to play Michigan on Tuesday, while Penn State has a double header against St. Francis on Wednesday.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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