Despite a picture-perfect afternoon for softball and pregame antics, Penn State could not find a rhythm in an abbreviated contest against Ohio State.
On the weekend of Beard Field’s 10th anniversary, the day began with a touch of sentimentality as Ohio State associate head coach Jen McIntrye was honored with a ceremonious first pitch. McIntyre had previously worked on the Nittany Lions’ coaching staff from 2002-2013.
Ultimately though, the Nittany Lions fell 9-0 in five innings to the Buckeyes, the former’s third straight loss in the series after a pair of defeats Saturday.
Pitching and offensive woes from Penn State created a hitting disparity, with the Buckeyes recording 12 hits against the pitching duo of Bailey Parshall and Logan Black.
The blue and white recorded just two hits, one each from Melody Coombs and Chelsea Bisi.
This came a day after a stellar performance from Parshall, who held the opposition to two runs while striking out five in the first leg of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Coach Clarisa Crowell spoke on this, as well as the challenge of slowing down Ohio State’s bats.
“We’ve gotta figure out a way tomorrow to shut down their offense,” Crowell said. “Bailey [Parshall] obviously had a great, great game against those guys yesterday, but I just felt like [Ohio State] came out and made some great adjustments.”
Parshall started the game, and was replaced in the circle by Logan Black in the third inning. Both pitchers allowed six hits.
Still, Crowell reaffirmed her confidence in this duo and the pitching staff ahead of Monday’s game to close out the series.
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Penn State held a late lead, but an eighth-inning grand slam cost the Nittany Lions the sweep.
“I know Bailey, and Logan, and our pitching staff’s gonna be ready to go tomorrow,” Crowell said. “We’re just gonna have to take a look at the film and figure out a way to be 1% better.”
Despite hitting home runs in both legs Saturday, Penn State’s two hits Sunday contributed to its third straight game in which three runs or less were scored.
The Nittany Lions’ woes in the batters box have been well-documented this season, as they have a cumulative batting average of .162 through their 19 games.
Crowell is aware that for the team to start racking up wins, more runners need to reach base and ultimately come across home plate.
“We can’t win if we can’t score runs,” she said. “We just have to make sure that we’re competing a little harder in the box and putting together better at-bats.”
As a result of a scheduling change, Penn State will close out the series with a Monday bout with the Buckeyes after cold temperatures Friday pushed the game back.
As far as adjustments are concerned, Crowell mentioned they would likely depend on which pitcher would start for the Buckeyes.
She also expressed optimism over how her offense could come back out.
“We hit Allison [Smith] pretty well yesterday I thought,” Crowell said. “I think our offense will be ready to go, we’ve got early batting practice actually tomorrow morning, so we’re gonna go ahead and take a look at the film, /I know our hitting coaches will put together a good hitting plan to be ready to go for either of [Ohio State’s pitchers].”
Through all three losses, Crowell doesn't believe her message to the team is much different, but mentioned that an overall message is to “execute at a higher rate.”
Especially after last week’s victory in game four of the Nebraska series, Crowell continued to have a high rate of confidence in her players, calling them “resilient” and adding that they “don’t give up.”
“From an intangible standpoint, I know that our kids have a lot of fight, and they’re gonna be ready to go tomorrow.”
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