While Penn State lost many key players from its infield and outfield after the 2020 coronavirus-shortened season, the team’s depth at both pitcher and catcher should bode well for the Nittany Lions.
After compiling an 11-15 record last year, the Nittany Lions will look much different across the diamond as they break in a new coaching staff led by coach Clarisa Crowell.
As such, Penn State will rely heavily on its veteran leadership on the bump and behind the dish.
Here’s a look at the Nittany Lions’ key contributors at pitcher and catcher.
Leading the way on the mound is Bailey Parshall, who is coming off a solid 2020 season.
In a small sample size of games, the left-hander recorded 129 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.51.
The Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, native was also named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week in what would end up being the final week of the season. Parshall became the first Nittany Lion to win the award since 2016.
Heading into her third season, Parshall will look to build off her strong sophomore campaign.
Coming off a successful abridged season is Vanessa Oatley.
The freshman made 15 appearances in 2020 and struck out 19 batters. Oatley also toed the rubber for 44.1 innings, good for second most on the team behind Parshall.
The South Kingston, Rhode Island, native also pitched two complete shutouts in 2020 and threw a one-hitter to the No. 10 Alabama Crimson Tide while striking out four batters.
The lefty could cement herself as a solid No. 2 option behind Parshall this season.
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Junior Kylee Lingenfelter will also be in the mix for the Nittany Lions.
The right-hander made 10 appearances and struck out nine batters in 2020.
Lingenfelter posted a 3.34 ERA and had her best game on Feb. 7 when she recorded two strikeouts and allowed no runs on two hits against Florida International.
The team’s only senior pitcher is Logan Black, who is entering her second season with the Nittany Lions after two with Creighton in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
Black made the most of her eight appearances, striking out as many batters while also recording a shutout against Michigan in February.
The right-hander will be joined by her younger sister Lexie, an infielder, after a season at Otero Junior College.
Among the catching corps is Kennedy Legg, who is heading into her redshirt senior season.
Legg bounced back in a big way last season after sitting out and redshirting in 2019 due to injury.
Seeing time mostly as a designated hitter, Legg started all 26 games and had 20 hits to her credit. Legg tied for second-most on the team in hits.
A 2018 transfer from Ole Miss, Legg has a chance to finish her college career strongly as one of the team’s top hitters.
Serving as the primary backstop for the Nittany Lions will be Ally Kurland, who is entering her junior season.
Kurland started 23 games at catcher last season and recorded 14 hits, of which two were home runs. She also batted in seven runs at the plate.
Kathryn Rex will also catch in 2021 for the Nittany Lions, as she split time between there and first base last season.
Rex made 13 appearances in 2020 and had a pair of hits and runs batted in during her time on the field.