Back-to-Back Home Runs and 3-1 Lead Not Enough

After allowing a four-run rally in the sixth inning, back-to-back home runs in the fifth proved not to be enough for the Spartans who lost 7-3 to the Nittany Lions on Saturday at Secchia Stadium.

Penn State took an early lead in the top of the third with a single run scored by outfielder Alyssa Sovereign.

After failing to capitalize with runners on base and remaining scoreless for the first four innings, MSU took the lead in the bottom of the fifth.

Freshman Kassidy Kujawa started off the inning with a single line drive to midfield. Sarah Gutknecht followed up with her sixth home run of the season giving the Spartans a 2-1 lead. Junior Ellie Stoffer came in to pinch hit and made it back-to-back home runs and pushed the Spartans’ lead to 3-1.

“Everyone was crazy happy after that,” Spartan third baseman Gutknecht said. “We realize that we can do it and it gets a rally going.”

The Spartans were unable to rally for long, losing their lead in the top of the sixth.

Penn State’s Lexi Knief led off the inning with a single up the middle. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Kasie Hatfield hit a single out to right field, which allowed Knief to score. Taylor Abeyta and Macy Jones both scored unearned runs and gave Penn State a 5-3 lead.

The Nittany Lions scored two more runs in the seventh inning and the Spartans could not rally during their final three outs of the game.

The two Big Ten teams finish their three-game series on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Katie Morang is the host of In the Circle for Impact Sports.

Photo: Michigan State University Softball