LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell’s pitching staff limited a strong Penn State lineup to just five runs over two games, but the Bison were swept in a non-conference softball doubleheader Wednesday at Beard Field. The Nittany Lions won 2-1 on a walk-off RBI single in the first game and jumped out to a quick lead in a 4-1 win in the second game.
Bucknell, which was playing a team from a Power Five Conference for the second straight week, fell to 21-16 on the season. Penn State improved to 21-17 with four wins in its past five games.
The Bison will begin the second half of their Patriot League schedule when they travel to Boston University for a three-game series this weekend. The teams will play a doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday and will play the third game at noon on Sunday.
Game 1 -- Penn State 2. Bucknell 1
Mollie Sorenson drove in Macy Jones with a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Penn State the one-run win. It was the second straight year that the Nittany Lions beat the Bison on a walk-off hit in the final inning of the first game of a doubleheader.
Senior Dana Nielsen took a tough loss, but turned in another outstanding pitching performance in the process. She gave up just one run through 6.1 innings of work before being removed with a runner on first. She struggled a little with her command, issuing four walks, but gave up just four hits against a team that entered the game with the second highest batting average in the Big Ten at .326.
Nielsen and Penn State starting pitcher Marlaina Laubach traded scoreless innings four times before Bucknell broke through with the game’s first run. Junior Chaylen Andolino led off the fifth inning with a double and advanced to third on a one-out sacrifice bunt by senior Amanda Fazio. Junior Jacee Almond ripped a single up the middle to score Andolino and put the Bison up 1-0.
Penn State didn’t tie the game until the sixth inning when Shelby Miller led off with a solo home run. She pulled a 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence for her sixth blast of the season. Nielsen walked the next batter but quickly recomposed herself and got out of the inning with three straight outs.
Nielsen struck out the first batter she saw in the seventh inning before allowing a one-out single. That was the last better she faced. Following a fielder’s choice for the second out, Penn State’s game-winning run was aided by an illegal pitch call that put Jones in scoring position at second base.
Bucknell out-hit Penn State 8-5. In addition to the hits by Andolino and Almond, the Bison received two singles from both freshman Anna Gimmestad and senior Mariah Midyette, while Fazio and sophomore Meghan Kovac chipped in with one single apiece.
Game 2 – Penn State 4, Bucknell 1
Penn State scored all of its runs in the first three innings on its way to a 4-1 win in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The Nittany Lions scored twice in the opening inning and twice in the third, but was shut down by the Bison pitching staff the rest of the way.
Bucknell rallied with two outs to get on the scoreboard with one run in the top of the sixth inning. The run came after back-to-back doubles by Kovac and Midyette.
The Bison had the tying run at the plate in the top of the seventh inning thanks to a one-out walk by junior Carolyn Wan and a single by freshman Ryanne Rokos. Madison Seifert, who went the distance in the circle for Penn State, put an end to the game with back-to-back groundouts.