Penn State’s 2021 campaign has hardly been the one the team would have liked to have for a multitude of reasons.
The blue and white entered Friday’s contests with a 1-18 record and mercy-rule losses to a host of opponents.
The Nittany Lions have struggled mightily in the circle and in the field, however they played extremely well in both of those areas when splitting the first of two doubleheaders against Rutgers.
After getting swept last weekend by Ohio State, the blue and white came into this series against the Scarlet Knights looking for their first home victory of the season.
Game one of the doubleheader featured a pitcher’s duel between Bailey Parshall for Penn State and Ashley Hitchcock for Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights came away with a 3-2 victory, but in Game two, the Nittany Lions’ offense came alive while still getting excellent pitching performances en route to a 10-3 victory.
Last weekend, coach Clarisa Crowell was not pleased with her team's effort but Friday evening, she was all smiles.
“I was really happy with our team’s performance tonight,” Crowell said, “I felt that we really played a complete game.”
In the first contest, Penn State starting pitcher Bailey Parshall was excellent as she threw a complete game giving up just three runs. Parshall mostly held the Scarlet Knights in check.
“Bailey did an exceptional job,” Crowell said. “She threw the ball well enough for us to win, we just could not get the runs we needed.”
In the second game, the Nittany Lions’ starting pitcher was Kylee Lingenfelter. She pitched four innings and gave up three runs.
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It took until the second game of the night, but Penn State got the complete win it has been …
Coach Crowell turned to the team’s two best pitchers in Vanessa Oatley and Parshall to close out the second leg and that is exactly what they did. The duo combined for three innings of shutout ball and gave up just one hit.
“I was really impressed with our bullpen today,” Crowell said, “Vanessa did a great job, and for Bailey to come back in that last game and close it out was huge.”
Coach Crowell also complimented catcher Ally Kurland, who she thought did an excellent job of calling pitches behind the dish.
A big theme in last weekend’s series for the Nittany Lions was defensive miscues as they committed four errors across the trio of games.
However, the blue and white’s defense played great, not committing any errors, which was a key reason it emerged victorious in game two.
Friday’s doubleheader also marked the first time the blue and white went errorless in a doubleheader this season.
“The defense did a great job [Friday night],” Crowell said, “The one thing I like about our team is every week, we are getting better and you saw that with the defense.”
The Nittany Lions will look to build off of their first home victory of the season Saturday when they take on these same Scarlet Knights.
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