MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg softball erased a 4-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning of the second game of a non-conference doubleheader against Penn State Altoona before the game was called because of darkness, robbing the Lions of a chance at victory with runners on second and third and only one away. The tie came after the Blue & White dropped the first outing at Courtney Pollock Memorial Field on Tuesday afternoon, March 30.
Penn State Harrisburg racked up 11 hits but managed just a pair of runs in the team's 6-2 loss to Penn State Altoona in the opening contest of doubleheader on Tuesday. The Lions had a number of opportunities to inflict damage but left 10 runners on base in the defeat.
Back-to-back errors allowed the visitors to plate an unearned run in the top of the first before Olivia Millers' bases-loaded walk in the top of the third doubled the Penn State Altoona advantage. Maddie Lucas followed it up with a sacrifice fly to center field that pushed the lead to 3-0 after two and half frames.
The home team took advantage of a Penn State Altoona error in the bottom of the stanza and got on the board when Sarah Coolbaugh drove in Madelyn Pyle thanks to a sac fly to right field but the visitors responded and pushed their advantage back to three with another run in the top of the fourth.
Penn State Harrisburg threatened in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases after a Coolbaugh double, Kaylee DeMatteo single, and fielding error. Regan Englehart's ensuing ground ball scored Coolbaugh but Penn State Altoona pitcher Casey Reese limited the damage by stranding a pair on the base path.
Penn State Altoona added a run in the top of the sixth and tacked on another in the top of the seventh and despite DeMatteo and Steph Reider leading off the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles, the Lions were unable to cut into the deficit, as a strikeout and double play ended any comeback hope.
Trailing 6-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning of game two, Penn State Harrisburg looked doomed to suffer the same fate it did in the opener. Instead, the Lions roared to life, using four hits, a walk, and a wild pitch to plate four runs and threaten to walk it off.
Then, with Samantha Weaver 60 feet away from scoring the game-winning run and Emma Einarson ahead in the count 2-1, the field umpire made the call to end the second contest due to darkness. With one out and runners on second and third base, the home team was robbed of the opportunity to put the finishing touches on the late-game comeback and pick up its first victory of the young season. Instead, the nightcap ended in a dissatisfying 6-6 tie.
After a Madelyn Pyle single, Madelyn Krantz really got things rolling with a double to right center field in the bottom of the seventh. Sarah Coolbaugh followed it up with an RBI single up the middle that scored both runners and after a Kaylee DeMatto walk, Steph Reider poked an infield single towards second base, allowing Coolbaugh to cross the plate and cut the deficit to one. Delaney Nevius drove in the tying run with a single through the right side and with the momentum squarely in the corner of Penn State Harrisburg, the contest was cut short three pitches into Einarson's at-bat.
- Kaylee DeMatteo was a force at the plate, finishing 6-for-6 on the day with a double and a pair of walks. She reached base safely in all eight plate appearances.
- Madelyn Krantz also impressed, going 3-for-3 with a double and stolen base in the opener, while adding a double and scoring a run in the second contest.
- The Lions tallied three extra-base hits in the first outing – all doubles.
- Coolbaugh scored three runs and drove in two more in game two.
- Mary-Kate Penczkowski threw a complete 7-inning game in the second outing, striking out four batters and allowing just three earned runs.
- Casey Reese earned the win inside the circle for Penn State Altoona in game one.
- Catcher Kristen Hewitt had a nice second contest for the visitors, finishing 4-for-4 at the dish with a triple, a double, and two runs scored.
The Lions get back to North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play when they travel to Penn College for another doubleheader tilt on Saturday afternoon, April 3.