(Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics. Photo by Mark Selders)
The Nittany Lions (12-14) went 3-1 on the weekend picking up two wins over Niagara and splitting with George Washington.
Senior Kristina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif.) led the Blue and White at the plate with four hits on the day and five RBI, while Rebecca Zielger (Tucson, Ariz.) had three hits, one RBI and scored three times. Junior Jessica Cummings (Owings, Md.) notched the win in the circle in game one, throwing five innings and senior Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) suffered the loss in game two tossing 3.2 innings.
Game One: Penn State 7, Niagara 1
Brackpool went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in four of the Nittany Lions’ seven runs including a three-run homer, while Ziegler had two hits and scored twice against the Purple Eagles.
Penn State’s offense got started early with three-straight hits, including a home run from Brackpool to give the Nittany Lions the 3-0 lead before a shallow single to left field put extended the Blue and White lead to 4-0 in the first inning.
Niagara loaded the bases in the top of the second and used a two-out ground out to Cummings to come within three of Penn State. Ziegler answered the Purple Eagle run with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning to bring the Penn State lead to 5-1.
With a runner on first, Brackpool hit a blooper between first and right field that allowed Sorenson to score and gave Penn State the 6-1 advantage in the fourth inning. The Blue and White tacked on its seventh run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Sam Shanahan (Seattle, Wash.) singled up the middle to score Toni Polk (Niagara Falls, N.Y.), who drew a walk earlier in the inning.
The Blue and White held off the Purple Eagles in the final inning to earn the 7-1 win.
Game Two: George Washington 7, Penn State 2
The Nittany Lions’ first inning scoring continued into the final game of the tournament as Ziegler came around to score on a Brackpool single up the middle to give the Blue and White the 1-0 lead. George Washington answered in the bottom half of the inning on a bloop single over second base to knot the score at 1-1.
Penn State found itself behind for the first time in the weekend in the bottom of the fourth inning when two errors put runners in scoring position and a single into left field scored one. The Colonials tacked on four more two-out runs to take a 6-1 lead into the fifth inning.
George Washington put runners on first and third and created a pickle situation between first and second that plated the runner on third and extended the Colonial lead to 7-1 after five innings.
The Blue and White tried to start a two-out rally in the top of the seventh inning when an error and back-to-back singles brought in a run but a strikeout ended the game as Penn State fell 7-2 to the Colonials
Penn State will open its 2017 home season Wednesday, March 22 when Robert Morris comes to town for a mid-week doubleheader starting at 5 p.m.
BASEBALL FALLS 8-0 TO DELAWARE
NEWARK, Del.– Penn State was again unable to take advantage of strong starting pitching as Delaware earned an 8-0 victory in non-conference baseball action Sunday afternoon in Bob Hannah Stadium.
RHP Cole Bartels (0-1) (Belmont, Mass.) yielded just one run in the first 4 1/3 innings for Penn State (6-11), but Delaware (11-7) LHP Kevin Milley (2-0) pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and five walks with nine strikeouts. Delaware was then able to add seven runs off the Penn State bullpen over the second half of the game.
Delaware was paced by left fielder Jordan Glover, who went 2-for-5 with a grand slam, and designated hitter Doug Trimble and third baseman Diaz Nardo both had three-hit games and an RBI each.
Penn State was not without opportunities to score. With two outs in the third, centerfielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) walked and second baseman Conlin Hughes (Holly Springs, N.C.) and first baseman Willie Burger (Lancaster, Pa.) hit back-to-back singles to load the bases, but Milley was able to get a groundout to end the inning. Shortstop Logan Goodnight (Wheeling, W.Va.) and Hughes both drew walks in the fifth and advanced into scoring position on a balk with two outs, but a strikeout ended the inning.
For a third-straight game, Delaware took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Nardo doubled, catcher Brian Mayer walked and both advanced a base on a wild pitch, allowing Nardo to score on a single through the right side by centerfielder Kevin Molhollen. Mayer tried to score as well, but was thrown out at home by right fielder Nick Riotto (Washington, Pa.).
Bartels retired the next six batters though before being lifted after yielding a leadoff walk and sacrifice bunt in the fifth. RHP Nick Distasio (Oley, Pa.) took over, catching the base runner stealing and getting help from Giavedoni with a diving catch to end the inning.
Distasio ran into trouble the next inning though. Second baseman Nick Tierno tripled to right center to lead the frame off, so the Nittany Lions brought the infield in to try to keep it a 1-0 game. The Blue Hens took advantage as Glover singled down the right line and, after a stolen base and errant throw allowed Glover to reach third, Trimble doubled down the left line to plate Glover.
Glover then put the game out of reach with a grand slam in the seventh, and the Blue Hens added a run in the eighth for the final margin.
Penn State is scheduled to open an eight-game homestand Tuesday against Bucknell at 6:30 p.m.
Season, flex and single-game ticket options for the 2017 Penn State baseball season in Medlar Field at Lubrano Park are now on sale by clicking here or by calling the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park ticket office at 814-272-1711.
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