Penn State Univ. Softball begins quest for Big Ten Championship today

Penn State's Rebecca Ziegler (15) is greeted at home plate after her solo home run in the 1st inning against Minnesota on May 7, 2017. Photo/Craig Houtz

ANN ARBOR – The Penn State softball team comes in as the No. 12 seed in the 2017 Big Ten Conference tournament and will take on the No. 5 Cornhuskers of Nebraska in the first round of the tournament today at 1:30 p.m. at the Wilpon Complex on the campus of the University of Michigan. Should the Nittany Lions defeat Nebraska in the first round they will take on No. 4 seed Illinois in the quarterfinals Friday, May 12 at 1:30 p.m.



Fans who are unable to make it out to the University of Michigan for the Big Ten Tournament can watch all 11 games live on the Big Ten Network. The crew for the 2017 tournament includes Lisa Byington and Dean Linke on play-by-play and Carol Bruggeman and Jennie Ritter as analysts.



Penn State has made the tournament the past five seasons and is 3-4 overall since 2013. Furthermore, the Nittany Lions are 12-16 all-time in tournament action and head coach Amanda Lehotak is 2-3 in the B1G Tournament, picking up a win in the 2015 and 2016 campaign. Last season, Penn State earned its second-highest seeding in program history and made it to the semifinals where it eventually fell to NCAA World Series contender Michigan.



The Nittany Lions are 0-3 against Nebraska in the 2017 campaign, however Penn State notched a thrilling 8-7 victory over the Cornhuskers in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal in the 2016 campaign. The Blue and White have not taken on the Fighting Illini of Illinois in the 2017 regular season but suffered the series defeat in the 2016 campiagn in its final home weekend. Penn State has gone up against Illinois five times in the conference tournament dating back to 1999 earning three wins and will meet up with the Fighting Illini in the tournament quarterfinals should it defeat Nebraska in the first round of the tournament. Finally, the Nittany Lions will end up on No. 1 Minnesota’s side of the bracket and would be a potential opponent for the semifinal match. PSU suffered three losses to the Golden Gophers in the regular season and are 0-2 in tournament action against Minnesota.



Sophomore Tori Dubois has made a name for herself in her second season donning the Blue and White. The starting left fielder is currently hitting at a .351 clip for the 2017 season and even more impressively a .457 clip in Big Ten Conference games. Dubois turned on her hitting in B1G play as 32 of her 52 total hits have come against conference opponents, which leads the league. Furthermore, 19 of Dubois’s 29 total RBIs have come in Big Ten Conference games. Last week, the Mt. Vernon, New Hampshire native tallied seven hits and drove in four RBIs in 16 at-bats for a .438 batting average and an .875 slugging percentage. Dubois also drew two walks and scored four runs for Penn State, while notching two multi-hit games and two multi-RBI contests.


With her relief appearance against Maryland, senior Marlaina Laubach became the all-time pitching appearance leader for Penn State, making her 135th career appearance donning the Blue and White. The Northampton, Pennsylvania native ranks third with 94 starts and fourth with four career saves. The right-handed hurler has tallied 45 career victories and tossed 595.1 innings to ranks sixth all-time in Nittany Lion laurels, while her 46 complete games and 319 strikeouts rank seventh all-time for the Blue and White. In her senior season she has made 32 appearances with 11 wins and two shutouts in 12 complete games.


The Nittany Lions tallied 10-or-more hits for the 11th time this season when they tied a season-high 15 against the Scarlet Knights. For the first time in the 2017 season, every player in the Penn State lineup tallied at least one hit against Rutgers with five players tallying 2-or-more hits in the contest, three bringing in 2-or-more runs and three players hitting a home run.


If Penn State were to defeat Nebraska it would play a 1:30 p.m. quarterfinal contest against No. 4 Illinois Friday, May 12.

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