The Purdue softball team is nothing if not tenacious. Down 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Boilermakers (26-13, 3-4 Big Ten) led a 6-run rally to defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions (18-19, 2-5) 8-7 Friday night.
Senior first baseman Lexi Huffman emerged as the hero of the night for the Boilers. Her single hit drove in 2 runs and allowed senior third baseman Jenny Behan to score the tying run on a late throw to home plate.
Penn State opened the scoring immediately, as second baseman Claire Swedberg hit an RBI triple, then stole home off of a wild pitch during the next at-bat. A pair of solo home runs from Behan and junior designated hitter Madison Douglass tied up the game at 2 runs apiece.
By the end of the fifth inning, Penn State appeared to have the game sewn up. A grand slam from left fielder and leadoff hitter Toni Polk put the Nittany Lions ahead 6-2, and a single by center fielder Dani Fey extended the lead to 5 runs.
The Boilermaker offense kicked into gear in the bottom of the seventh. Singles from freshman left fielder Kasey Wilhoit, junior catcher Alexa Binckes and senior pitcher Kaitlynn Moody loaded the bases. An RBI single from freshman shortstop Rachel Becker and a sacrifice bunt by senior right fielder Mallory Baker brought the Boilers within 3 runs.
After Behan was intentionally walked to load the bases with 2 outs in the inning, Huffman drove in the three tying runs off of a double. Wilhoit brought the inning full circle by crushing a walk-off RBI single into right field.
The Boilers will continue their series Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader, beginning at 3 p.m. in Bittinger Stadium.