Penn State Splits Series Double-Header with Robert Morris
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —Penn State softball splits its double header against Robert Morris this afternoon losing 4-1 in game one, and winning 11-0 in game two.
Penn State came into these games on a pretty good hot streak as of late. The Nittany Lions were coming in with a six-game win streak dating back to Feb. 6.
However, in the first game today, and the first at home all year, the Nittany Lions struggled. Robert Morris got two quick runs in the top of the first inning because of two fielding errors by the Nittany Lions. Those two runs set the tone in the game, and Penn State could only muster one run in the bottom of the sixth inning in the 4-1 loss.
Penn state head coach Amanda Lehotak thought her team had to shake off the butterflies with this being the first home game at Beard Field this year.
“I thought we had first game jitters to be honest with you, and were overly excited for game one” Lehotak said.
Offensively in the first game, the Nittany Lions had plenty of opportunities with runners in scoring position, but Robert Morris pitcher Dana Vatakis got some key outs to lift the Colonials to victory.
Bailey Parshall was the starter for Penn State and she struggled to find any kind of rhythm. Parshall went only 3 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, with three strikeouts. The Nittany Lions just came out flat in this game and allowed Robert Morris to steal a win.
On the other hand, Penn State looked like a completely different team in game two. The Nittany Lions scored 10 runs in the third inning behind three home runs, and all with two outs en route to the 11-0 victory. Right fielder Chelsea Bisi and catcher Ally Kurland went back-to-back with home runs to get the rally started, and second baseman Claire Swedberg also added to the fun with a home run of her own.
On the mound in game two for Penn State was Hannah Shields, who pitched five innings, allowed only three hits, and didn't give up a single run. Shields mowed down the Robert Morris batters, and it gave Penn State a ton of confidence on the offensive end.
Lehotak thought Shields performance on the mound was exactly what Penn State needed to calm the team down in game two.
“I think that’s huge, we needed that from Hannah all along,” Lehotak said. “That was her first time in front of her home fans here so how she handled it, she looked like she’s been here since day one and she really set the pace.”
Although Penn State would have wanted to come out with a sweep against a struggling team like Robert Morris, the second game showed what kind of team they can be offensively headed into conference play.
Kurland thought the team just had to bring the heat in game two and needed to play more as a unit.
“I think after game one we were like we need to turn it on and in the second I think it all just clicked” Kurland said. “We all just hit collectively as a team and it was more a team effort.”
With the split, Penn State softball is now 14-13 and have won seven of its last eight games. Penn State even with the recent momentum has an uphill battle ahead of them when they travel to Michigan State for a three-game series with the Spartans this weekend.
Matthew McClure is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org.