Penn State softball looked to salvage a lost season in its final game of the year against Minnesota. Senior Logan Black took the circle on Penn State’s Senior Day.
Behind a lockdown performance by Vanessa Oatley, Penn State ended the season on a 4-1 victory against No. 23 Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers jumped on Black early with a leadoff home run by MaKenna Partain to make it 1-0 before a single out had been registered.
Melina Livingston led off the bottom of the first with a single to center and Kennedy Legg followed up with a double to put runners at second and third with no outs. After two consecutive groundouts, Kaitlyn Morrison doubled to center to allow two runs to score and give Penn State a 2-1 lead.
Oatley relieved for Black in the top of the second and worked a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout.
Lexie Black led off the second inning with a double down the left field line. Dani Fey and Livingston then walked to load the bases. Ally Kurland knocked a two-out single to bring two runs home and make it 4-1.
Minnesota threatened in the latter half of the third, but nothing came of it and Penn State went down 1-2-3 in the fourth against sophomore Ava Dueck.
Oatley got into trouble in the fourth as two walks contributed to the bases being loaded with two outs. However, the sophomore was able to escape unscathed as she struck out Natalie DenHartog to end the inning.
The fifth and sixth innings went by without much action as both teams failed to get anything substantial going offensively.
Oatley kept her dominance through the seventh and shut down the Golden Gophers, securing the 4-1 win for the Nittany Lions.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the Senior Day win.
Finally got to Fiser
Minnesota’s Amber Fiser had Penn State’s number early in the series. The senior from Van Horne, Iowa has been Minnesota’s second best pitcher this season with a 2.03 ERA entering the matchup.
Coming into Sunday’s game, Fiser pitched fourteen innings against Penn State this weekend. In those innings, Fiser allowed no runs on four hits and issued just two walks.
This was not the case on Sunday for Fiser. In just one and two-thirds innings of work, Fiser allowed four runs on five hits.
She also issued two walks and managed just one strikeout in nine batters faced.
Three of the four hits allowed by Fiser were well-hit doubles that allowed Penn State to get on the board early.
Oatley locks it down
Oatley has had her highs and lows in her sophomore season. On Sunday, she was able to end it on a high.
Oatley came into the game with a 4.71 ERA and a team-high three wins on the season. While the win for this game will go to Logan Black, Oatley’s performance cannot be overlooked.
After Black allowed a run in the first, Oatley came in and pitched six scoreless innings to give Penn State the win.
Oatley allowed just three hits against Minnesota’s potent offense. The sophomore picked up three strikeouts and issued two walks in 20 batters faced.
Not the season Penn State wanted
In the first year under new head coach Clarisa Crowell, Penn State struggled mightily and managed just a 7-34 record in an all-Big Ten schedule. The Nittany Lions didn’t pick up their first win until their 16th game in a 7-5 win against Nebraska.
The blue and white showed promise in games against a ranked Michigan team and managed a series win in a four-game set against Rutgers.
Struggle on offense was the story for this year’s team, as it managed just a .177 team batting average heading into the last game.
A 4.52 staff ERA didn’t help, but ace Bailey Parshall turned in her expected numbers with a 2.82 ERA and 83 strikeouts.
With a lot of returning starters, Penn State will look to improve on 2021’s win total and play past the regular season.
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