It took until the second game of the night, but Penn State got the complete win it has been searching for all year.
After dropping the first game of a Friday doubleheader with Rutgers 3-2, the Nittany Lions firmly returned the favor in the second, taking an authoritative 10-3 victory.
It was a game that saw the Nittany Lions record 11 hits, including two each from Melina Livingston, Kennedy Legg and Lilia Crouthamel, with Crouthamel’s night including her first collegiate home run.
Other key offensive contributors included Ally Kurland, who notched three hits between the two games, and Maggie Finnegan, who added two more hits to her team-leading total.
Livingston mentioned “passing the bat” and “building off each other’s confidence” as part of the team’s hitting exhibition.
“We definitely came out swinging, and I think that really helped us,” Livington said.
Livingston, who is batting .261 on the year and had 20 hits in last year’s shortened season, also expressed excitement over what nights like Friday could lead to.
“I just think it’s gonna help us in the long run, just knowing we can score in any situation,” Livingston said. “It’s gonna build confidence for the next games coming.”
Hits were not unique to the second leg for the blue and white. The first game saw five Nittany Lion hits, all of which came in the fifth inning and beyond to nearly give Penn State a chance at a comeback.
The results were pleasing to coach Clarisa Crowell, who mentioned she was “really happy” with her team’s performance in the second game.
“They came out swinging the bats, and I’m just proud of their continued fight and resiliency,” Crowell said.
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Early-inning offense was the key to victory Friday in Penn State and Michigan State’s doubleheader.
The Nittany Lions’ 10 runs spoke for themselves in reference to the blue and white’s improved play, especially after last weekend.
In three losses to Ohio State, the Nittany Lions put up four total runs, which prompted Crowell to mention then that her squad can’t win if it doesn’t score runs.
Regarding the second leg, Crowell mentioned she thought her team demonstrated “a really good, aggressive mindset” throughout.
She also reaffirmed her unwavering support of the squad’s efforts, saying that the outcome of the second game was what needed to happen and indicated that the team’s record does not tell the whole story.
“I told my staff after the game, I said ‘I can’t believe we haven’t won more games,’ and it’s because we see our kids go out and play their butts off, and give max effort and play with a lot of energy,” Crowell said.
Penn State has certainly hung tough with many opponents at times this season. It lost by one in both games of a doubleheader against an Illinois squad with a 15-6 record, and brought a 13-8 Iowa team to extra innings on two separate occasions.
For the final two games of the series, Crowell said the Nittany Lions have gained a substantial amount of intel on Rutgers after seeing all of the Scarlet Knights’ pitchers Friday.
“We know what all their pitchers are gonna throw, and I feel really good about what we’re gonna be able to do tomorrow,” Crowell said.
And after putting 12 runs across against a Rutgers pitching staff that has the worst team ERA in the Big Ten, there is little reason to believe the Nittany Lions will do anything but light up the scoreboard once more.
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