Softball Splits Doubleheader At Home With Penn State

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Sarah Bowling blasts game winning homer in game two.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Sarah Bowling blasts game winning homer in game two. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.



EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State softball team (20-15, 2-4 Big Ten) managed to split its doubleheader against Penn State on Wednesday, April 6 at Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. After dropping the first game by a tough 8-6 score, the Spartans rallied to take game two from the Nittany Lions, 7-6. Freshman Sarah Bowling’s first career home run could not come at a better time as she recorded her first homer in the bottom of the fifth for the game-winning run.


“I wish we could play a little bit better defensively,” said MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph. “I thought we were good enough to win both games, but we just got lucky to win the second because we just haven’t played good defense, that is my main concern. Our pitching has been good enough, but our defense has let us down.”


Trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the seventh, the Spartans were unable to rally as they came up short by two runs, 8-6. Senior Lindsay Hansen continued her stellar final season with her 13th homer of the season with a shot over the left field fence. Hansen’s home run tied Stacey Phillips’ single season record set in 2000.


“My goal all season long has been to see the ball, hit the ball. When I do that, good things happen. I didn’t really know I had broken the single season record, but there has been a lot of hype, but to me I just go up to hit the ball,” said Hansen.


“I couldn’t be happier of Lindsey Hansen. She already broke the all-time home run record and now will break the single season record. For a kid that has worked that hard, and I was able to coach both her and Stacey Phillips, if you knew how hard she worked, you would be happy for her, too,” Joseph said.


Although senior Karen Fox wound up scoring with two outs in the seventh, following an error by the Penn State third baseman, MSU’s rally would end following a strikeout for the third out.


The Green and White could not hold onto a 3-1 lead as PSU posted a four-run fourth inning to gain the advantage over the Spartans. Cassidy Bell made the most of her one pitch in the top of fourth with a grand slam home run down the left field line. Bell’s homer put the Nittany Lions out in front by a score of 5-3.


MSU was the first to score in game one with a run in the first inning. Junior Lori Padilla led off the frame with an infield single. Senior Jessica Bracamonte moved Padilla to third with a single down the left field line, advancing to second on the throw to third. Hansen hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive home Padilla to take the early 1-0 advantage.


Penn State recorded its first run of the game in the top of the third. Kailyn Johnson singled to third to score Alyssa Renwick from second, tying the game up at 1-1.


The Spartans responded with a two run bottom half of the third, which was led off by a triple from Hansen to drive home classmate Jessica Bracamonte. Bracamonte reached base following a single though the right side. Hansen wound up scoring after junior Brett Williams singled to left. MSU ended the inning with a 3-1 lead.


Williams knocked the one of her five RBIs on the day for MSU in the bottom of the fifth following PSU’s four run inning.


Three additional runs were tacked on in the top of the sixth for Penn State. Kasie Hatfield knocked in the opening run of the inning with a single. Hatfield’s hit wound up scoring Lisa Akamine. Alyssa Sovereign hit an infield single to score the final two runs of the inning in Hatfield and Johnson.


Jackie Hill earned the win for Penn State, improving to 12-6 on the year. Hill allowed six runs, four earned, on 10 Spartan hits while striking out seven.


Freshman Cassee Layne took the tough loss for the Spartans as she falls to 8-10 on the season. Layne struck out six batters. Layne allowed seven of her eight runs as earned on 10 hits.


Bracamonte led off the second game with a bang for MSU with a lead-off homer in the bottom of the first with a shot which just cleared the fence the opposite way in left.


Hansen kicked off MSU’s most productive inning of the day with her single to center, scoring Hopkins from third for the 2-0 lead. Hopkins led off the inning with a triple to center field.


Williams recorded a three-run homer, after battling back from a 0-2 count, over the center field fence to drive home Hansen and junior Lauren Kramer.


Penn State cut the lead to four when Ellen McNair singled through the right side to drive home Sovereign in the fourth inning.

The Spartans matched PSU’s run in the bottom half with Kramer drawing a bases loaded walk to score Bracamonte.


The Nittany Lions rallied back to tied the game at six with two home runs in the fifth inning. Johnson struck first with a three-run shot down the right field line to drive home Lauren Rossi and Bell. Three batters later, Lauren Yao hit a two run shot to center field to score Shannon Hutchinson.


With darkness beginning to set in, the Spartans sent Bowling to the plate as a pinch hitter and she blasted her first career-homer to the Red Cedar River in left field. The umpires wound up calling the game at the end of the inning due to darkness, giving MSU the 7-6 win.


Kramer came in to pitch 1.0 innings in relief, moving her record to 8-3 on the year. Kramer came in for sophomore Shelby Wise who pitched 4.0 innings of work. Wise allowed four runs, three earned, on eight batters faced.


Jordan Wheatley took the loss as she falls to 0-1 this season.


The Spartans return to action this weekend when they head to Iowa City, Iowa for a two-game set against Iowa on Saturday-Sunday, April 9-10. Game one is scheduled to begin a 3 p.m. ET, with Sunday’s game against the Hawkeyes to start a 2 p.m. ET.