MSU took a 3-1 advantage in the bottom of the fifth inning, but quickly surrendered the lead, giving up five runs in the final two innings.Despite recording only six hits, MSU was able to generate multiple scoring opportunities, but couldn’t finish.
Softball loses to Penn State, 7-3
Head coach Jacquie Joseph said the 12 runners left on base was too much for MSU to overcome and needs to be improved for success.
“The story of the game frankly, is 12 left on base,” Joseph said. “We just for the second day in a row failed to capitalize on their mistakes. I mean they hit us, they walked us, they did everything they could to give us opportunities and we just didn’t take them.” Sophomore pitcher Macy Jones recorded the win for Penn State.
Freshman starting pitcher Valerie Kaff recorded the loss for MSU, falling to 4-11 on the season.
Kaff went the whole game for MSU, giving up nine hits and four earned runs. She also had four strikeouts.
Joseph said Kaff gave MSU five great innings, and was big in MSU’s early success.
Saturday’s game started off as a defensive battle, with only one run between the two through the first four innings, but the bats got hot late.
MSU scored all of its runs in the fifth and Penn State scored six of its seven runs in the sixth and seventh.
The three Spartan runs came from home runs from freshman third baseman Sarah Gutknecht and junior pinch hitter Ellie Stoffer.
Gutknecht’s homer was a two-run home run.
Penn State would cash in on its first scoring opportunity in the top of the third, breaking the scoreless tie on a two out single by Furuya.
Penn State used three two-out hits to score the run, starting with senior leftfielder Alyssa Sovereign.
The Nittany Lions had been held hitless until the Sovereign’s single.
After leaving runners on base for the first four innings without any runs, MSU finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth.
The Spartans piled up three runs in the bottom frame off back-to-back home runs from Gutknecht and Stoffer.
Freshman leftfielder Kassidy Kujawa started the inning with a single back up the middle.
Gutknecht would then hit a bomb over the left field fence for her sixth home run of the season to give MSU a 2-1 lead.
Stoffer would make it back-to-back home runs, hitting this one to dead center field.
The home run was her second this season and pushed the lead to 3-1
While MSU did take the lead, the Spartans could have had more than just three in the inning. Two Spartans were called out at home on the same play to end the inning.
MSU’s lead would be short lived, with Penn State scoring four runs on four hits and one error in the top of the sixth to take the lead, 5-3.
Senior catcher Kassie Hatfield got the scoring going, singling to right field to score the first run.
Sophomore designated player Karlie Habitz would then double to right center to score sophomore pinch runner Taylor Abeyta.
Freshman first baseman Kristina Brackpool hit a sacrifice fly and freshman second baseman Shelby Miller singled for the final two runs of the inning.
Joseph said it was back breaking to take the lead and quickly surrender it the next inning.
“It’s critical that you shut down your opponent right after you score and not only did we not do that, we gave them four,” Joseph said.
Penn State added two more runs in the top of the seventh to increase thelead to 7-3.
MSU again got runners on base in the bottom half of the seventh, loading the bases with the tying run at the plate, but junior pinch hitter Carly Nielsen flied to right field for the final out of the game.
MSU will return to the field on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Penn State for the final game of the three-game series. Penn State will look for the sweep with a win on Sunday.