Penn State Sweeps Double Header vs. Michigan State

Story posted April 1, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Sports Staff

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-The Nittany Lions took game one of the double-header 7-2 over Michigan State behind a dominant complete game by Penn State (15-14, 4-0) pitcher Marlaina Laubach. She held the Big Ten’s top hitting team to four hits and lowered her ERA, which was 2.36 prior to Friday’s match up.

In the first inning, the Spartans (19-15, 1-3) stranded center fielder Lea Forester on third base after she registered a double and advanced on a fielder’s choice.

The home side responded with an offensive explosion in the bottom of the inning. Third baseman Shelby Miller sent a two-run home run over the right field wall, which was followed up by a two-RBI single by first baseman Kristina Brackpool a few batters later.

After responding with a run in the second inning, the Michigan State bats went silent. Laubach, who went the distance for her fifth time this season, proceeded to sit down 10 consecutive hitters, retiring the side three innings in a row.

In the bottom of the third, shortstop Reina Furuya added to the Lion lead with an RBI single, prompting the Spartans to replace starting pitcher Dani Goranson with Bridgette Rainey.

Left fielder Macy Jones provided insurance runs with a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth. Michigan State shortstop Ebonee Echols responded, too little too late, with a solo home run in the top of the next inning, extending her hit streak to eight games.

The Nittany Lions out hit the visitors 13-4 and benefitted from sloppy Spartan defense, which included two errors.

Penn State’s offense was paced by center fielder Lexi Knief, who went 3-4 and scored two runs. The Spartans were held well below their Big Ten average of nearly eight hits per outing.

Jonathan Gross is a freshman double-majoring in broadcast journalism and international politics (national security). He can be reached at jwg5468@psu.edu.

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Game two of the doubleheader was incredibly exciting for all involved, eventually ending in an 11-5 Penn State victory over the Spartans. As a result of taking both games of the doubleheader Penn State (16-14, 5-0) has started their Big Ten conference season at 5-0 for the first time in school history.

Madison Seifert, the freshman pitcher who started the game for Penn State, claimed the win thanks to the run support that her offense gifted her. Seifert pitched five innings, giving up five earned runs and nine hits, walking one and striking out three. Seifert’s record is now 4-4 on the season.

Coming into the game in relief after pitching for the entirety of the first game, Marlaina Laubach pitched two scoreless innings, giving up only two hits. She came in with no outs in the sixth inning, inheriting two runners from Seifert, and pulled her team out of the jam while only letting one of Seifert’s runners score. Laubach was awarded the save at the end of the game, giving her two on the season. When asked how she felt about Laubach’s performance, Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak said, “[Laubach] is throwing like an ace, she has that confidence, and she is doing exactly what we need her to do.”

On the rubber for Michigan State (19-16, 1-4) during game two was sophomore Kristina Zalewski, who pitched the whole game. At the very start of the game Zalewski’s fastball looked like it could hold the Nittany Lion’s bats at bay by easily sitting down the first three batters she faced. Her ability to quiet Penn State’s bats was quickly questioned in the third inning as Penn State put up three runs to take a 3-2 lead after Michigan State jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead.

Lehotak was very complimentary of the team’s offense in both games, “Our batting was phenomenal, I can’t say enough good things about our offense.”

In both games the Nittany Lion bats could not be silenced. In game two, Alyssa VanDerveer jumpstarted the offense, going 4-4 with an RBI. Freshman Tori Dubois went 3-4 with a double and four runs batted in while Lexi Knief went 3-3 with a double and an RBI, and Erin Pond went 2-4 with 4 RBI’s.

Michigan State’s offense was highlighted by their freshman shortstop, Ebonee Echols, who hit both her first and second collegiate home runs, one in each of the two games. Kaitlyn Eveland chipped in with three hits, including a double. Sarah Gutknecht, Jordan Davis, and Lexi White each had one hit and an RBI.

After the Spartans tied it in the top of the third at 3-3, it became a pitcher’s duel for a few innings with both pitchers not giving an inch until Penn State scored three in the fifth. Down 6-3, Michigan State responded with two runs of their own, bringing Penn State’s lead to one run before the Nittany Lions pulled away with five in the bottom of the sixth to seal the sweep.

The Nittany Lions and Spartans play each other again at Beard Field on April 2nd at 3:00 p.m. to finish their series.

Tommy Butler is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at tommybutler1480@gmail.com or follow him on twitter @rtb179PSU.