SOFTBALL: Michigan State beats Penn State 8-7

Michigan State opened its Big Ten portion of the season with an 8-7 walk-off victory over Penn State on Friday at Secchia Stadium.  Caitie Ladd sent the first pitch she saw as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning over the wall in center field to give her team the win.

MSU (11-16, 1-0 B1G) rallied from deficits of 3-1 and 7-3 in the game, getting timely hits from Melanie Baccay (1-for-3, 3 RBI), Joanna Bartz, and Ladd to help sink the Nittany Lions (14-14, 0-1 B1G). Melanie Baccay (a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the fourth), Joanna Bartz in the bottom of the sixth (RBI double), and Ladd’s seventh-inning walk off.  The Spartans also got some help from six walks that were issued by three Penn State pitchers.

In the top of the seventh inning, McKenna Gregory shut down both Haley Valljos – who had three previous base hits on the day – and Meghan Williams (who was 1-for-1 with a pair of sacrifice hits).  Dani Fey reached on a walk but was called out for leaving early on a steal attempt and ensuing MSU error that would have had the go-ahead run on third base.

Gregory earned the win in the circle, improving her record to 3-5 on the year. She did surrender four earned runs, striking out three and walking just one.  Starter Alli Walker went four strong innings where she struck out two and allowed three walks.  She left with a 3-1 deficit after the top of the fourth.

Starter Bailey Parshall both started the game for Penn State and re-entered in the sixth inning and gave up Ladd’s homer in the seventh to take the loss.  She pitched a combined 3.2 innings, striking out four and walking two, surrendering four earned runs.  Chelsea Bisi and Vallejos both had three hits on the day, as the Nittany Lions put together 13 base hits.  Both Melina Livingston and Ally Kurland had two base knocks.

For MSU, Ladd was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks. Baccay had the triple with three RBI on the day, and Katie Quinlan had a pair of base hits and scored three runs.  Ebonee Echols walked three times and was 1-for-1 with an RBI.

The teams face off again on Saturday at 1 pm at Secchia Stadium.

“There just wasn’t any quit in our team today.  I was really impressed by the way we kept fighting back whether we were down two runs, three runs, four runs – whatever.  We bent but didn’t break.  We made some really nice defensive plays that also kept us in the game, shutting down two would-be runs by throwing out the runner at the plate.  It was a good win for us to open Big Ten play this way – and I hope it sets the tone.


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