The MSU softball team split a doubleheader against Penn State on Wednesday, taking the nightcap 3-2 but losing the first game 6-3.
The Spartans took the lead early in the second game with a deep three-run home run to left field by sophomore outfielder Jessica Bracamonte in the bottom of the first inning.
But the Spartans lost momentum soon after. The Nittany Lions answered in the third, scoring two runs to close the gap to within 3-2.
The Spartans managed to hang on for the next four innings.
“It would definitely feel a lot better to play with more runs obviously, but like I said we had great pitching and great defense, so it was not too bad,” Bracamonte said.
Although MSU took the win, Bracamonte said she knows her team has work to do and improvements to make.
“A win is a win,” she said. “We definitely should have done a lot of things better. Now we know what we can and cannot do in order to win.”
The Spartans’ pitching and defense helped keep them on top in the second game, but MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph said immaturity led to the scoring drought.
“Young teams will typically do that — they’ll score and then rest on their laurels,” she said. “We have to mature as a team and know score and keep scoring.”
The first game didn’t go as smoothly for the Spartans.
Both teams notched a run in the second inning to start the scoring. Penn State took the lead in the third with a solid display of hitting.
The Nittany Lions filled the bases for catcher Danee Collett, who added two runs to the board with a single to left field with two outs in the inning. Those runs were enough to hold off MSU despite runs the Spartans scored in the third and fourth.
Joseph, who said she felt her team matched up well with Penn State, was disappointed after the game.
“I’m sensing that we take steps forward and then we take two steps back,” she said.
The Spartans, now 19-26 overall and 3-12 in the Big Ten, will need to regroup from Wednesday as they take on Wisconsin (14-35, 2-12) this weekend at Old College Field.
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