UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State softball team (29-20, 11-9 Big Ten) won Game 2 of a doubleheader in spectacular fashion 4-3 over Wisconsin (27-13, 12-6 Big Ten) ahead of a sold-out crowd at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field Saturday afternoon.
Saturday was Senior Citizens Day presented by the Penn State Alumni Association, where the Nittany Lions honored seniors Shelli Rivard, Claire Swedberg, Kylee Lingenfelter, Lilia Crouthamel, Ally Kurlandand Bailey Parshall.
Fittingly, Rivard hit the first home run of his college career in a successful appearance in Game 1 of the doubleheader. The Nittany Lions gave up the first game of the day 8-1.
In the second game, lexie black hit the brace to secure the 4-3 win. Seniors Ally Kurland and Rivard scored the game-winning runs in the final game. Bailey Parshall earned Penn State the victory in Game 3.
How did it happen
Wisconsin opened the scoring in the top of the first after a solo home run from Fiona Girardot. Liana Jones was Penn State’s first base runner in the bottom half of the inning after a hit-per-pitch, but Penn State couldn’t advance her.
The Badgers extended their lead in the second set to make it a 5-0 game. Cassie Lindmark threw out his second runner of the weekend for inning number three. The Badgers added another run in the top of the third to make it 6-0.
lexie black got the Nittany Lions’ first hit of the day with a single to left field. She went into second but got stuck. Wisconsin went 8-0 in the top of the fourth.
The Nittany Lions elected to use three pinch hitters in the bottom of the fifth. Senior Shelli Rivard came up to the plate and, in just her third plate appearance, threw a ball over the center field fence for the first home run of her college career.
That’s all the Nittany Lions could produce on offense, as Penn State fell 8-1 in Game 1.
Bailey Parshall started Game 2 strong for Penn State, striking out two early in the first. Lilia Crouthamel also made a nice catch in center field for the second out of the inning. Ally Kurland hit base on a walk down the first, but that’s all Penn State could produce.
Wisconsin got the first hit of the game in the top of the second and had runners on second and third, but Parshall struck out a badger to leave two in scoring position. Lauren Marcotte reached on an error in the bottom half of the inning, but that was all Penn State could put together.
Wisconsin opened the scoring in the top of the third on a controversial RBI brace into left field to make it 1-0. Penn State lost 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning.
Parshall added two more strikeouts to his total that day in the top of the fourth. Ally Kurland opened the bottom of the inning with a single to right field, followed by a double from Jones to put the runners in second and third place. Marcotte then snatched a ball from shortstop, driving Kurland home to tie the game. Kaitlyn Morrison then laid down a perfect sack bunt to bring Jones home and give Penn State the 2-1 lead after four hours.
The Badgers threatened in the top of the fifth, taking the runners to second and third with two outs. Lilia Crouthamel made a spectacular catch in center field, jumping against the wall for the third out of the inning.
Crouthamel then turned defense into offense, hitting a single down the middle to launch the bottom of the fifth. Lindmark was then hit by a pitch to put two runners one out, but the runners got stuck.
Wisconsin loaded the bases in the top of the sixth and a two RBI single gave the Badgers a 3-2 lead. Morrison ripped a single down the middle to give Penn State a two-out base runner in the bottom of the inning, but she was dropped first.
Wisconsin threatened in the top of the seventh to extend the lead. Crouthamel made another ridiculous defensive play, throwing a home runner to keep Wisconsin 3-2. The Badgers then charged the bases, but Parshall fought his way to allow no runs in the inning and leave three runners on base.
The first two Nittany Lions fell in the bottom of the seventh. Lindmark then reached base on a third basemen’s error and was replaced by Shelli Rivard as a pinch runner. Ally Kurland then stepped up to the plate and was walked.
He was then lexie black who played the hero. Black fired a ball into the left field line and into the corner which gave seniors Rivard and Kurland the game-winning runs. In almost storybook fashion, the Nittany Lions cruised through Senior Day 4-3.
- At Shelli Rivard’s home run was the first of his college career. It was also his first hit and only his third plate appearance in three years of college softball.
- Lexie Black departure was the first of his college career.
- Bailey Parshall threw him 18and full game of the season in Game 2.
- Parshall’s 585 strikeouts are just eight behind Ashley Esparza for fourth all-time in career strikeouts in program history.
The Nittany Lions wrap up the regular season with a trip to Illinois next weekend. Game 1 of the series is scheduled for Friday, May 6 at 5 p.m. The match will be broadcast on B1G+ ($).