After a 16-game road trip that saw Penn State play its first 12 contests in Florida and its last four in Nebraska, the blue and white finally returned home to Beard Field.
The last time the Nittany Lions played in University Park was May 5, 2019, as the pandemic cut the 2020 campaign short and the blue and white was playing in Florida when the season stopped.
The Nittany Lions picked up their first win of the season in their last game when they defeated Nebraska 7-5 in extra innings. However, after that victory and a return home, Penn State failed to build on that momentum as it dropped both games of its doubleheader against Ohio State, losing 2-1 and 9-3, respectively.
Coach Clarisa Crowell was not pleased with her team’s effort despite giving credit to the Buckeyes.
“It was a tough day, just as simple as that,” Crowell said. “Ohio State is a good team, but I feel like we could have been better than we were today.”
The same issues that have plagued the blue and white throughout the entirety of the season were the team's downfall Saturday afternoon.
In the first game, junior pitcher Bailey Parshall was excellent despite the loss. She gave up just two runs in seven innings of work to keep the Buckeyes’ offense at bay.
Unfortunately for Parshall, the Nittany Lions’ offense was also shut down and could only muster one run as Ohio State’s starting pitcher Payton Buresch allowed just two hits and she had a no-hitter until the sixth inning.
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Penn State entered its first two home games of the season looking to build off its first win…
In game two, it was a complete flip for the Buckeyes’ offense as they fired on all cylinders, scoring nine runs en route to another victory. Leading the charge offensively for the Buckeyes was Sam Hackenbracht, who went 4-for-4 with six runs batted in and two home runs.
The Nittany Lions managed to score three runs and had solid at-bats throughout the game, but the team’s pitching was its downfall.
A bright spot for Penn State was when junior Melina Livingston hit a home run in the sixth inning to make it 7-3 late in the game.
“I think we have to put all three facets of the game together,” Crowell said. “In order for us to win, we have to come out, compete, play with a lot of energy and find a way to play a complete game.”
Despite the pair of losses to open the home slate, it was a momentous day for Crowell as she made her home coaching debut for Penn State. Even though her coaching tenure at Beard Field did not begin the way she wanted to, it was a special pair of games for the Nittany Lions’ newest program leader.
“It means a lot to me and our student-athletes just to be able to come home and compete in our stadium,” Crowell said. “We look forward to when we can play in front of many more fans.”
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