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Bell off to Hot Start for Lions

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By Sean Flanery, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After three games in the team's first weekend of the season, the Nittany Lions found some offensive rhythm, especially one Lion in particular.

7707983.jpegSenior outfielder Cassidy Bell found her swing in the fourth game of a five-game stretch this past weekend in the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M. The senior had a tremendous weekend blasting three homeruns while driving in nine RBIs. The outfielder also led the team with her blazing speed racking up four stolen bases throughout the weekend.

However, this kind of success isn't something that is unfamiliar to Bell.

In her junior season, Bell dominated at the plate compiling a Penn State single season record batting average of .423 while notching nine homeruns and 20 RBIs. As a junior, she also led the team in hits, 41, and total bases with 76. The outfielder produced this dominant stat-line all while missing 15 games throughout the season as well.

"It feels great," Bell said. "Knowing that last year was a record-breaking season and coming into this year I just had to forget about it because if I tried to reproduce it or put too much pressure on myself, so starting off that good really took some pressure off."

So, Bell's success at the pate this past weekend in New Mexico came to no surprise as she picked up exactly where she left off last year.

"I think Cassidy got off to a great start," said Associate Head Coach Jen McIntyre. "She did a great job of setting the tone offensively and in addition to her we have a couple of other offensive threats that are going to be throughout the lineup. I think by her setting the tone and having a couple others pushing behind her is really what's going to help us get through the season."

The senior wasn't the only Nittany Lion to use the long ball to their advantage this past weekend. Freshman outfielder Macy Jones had a stellar weekend as well notching two homeruns and nine RBIs as well. Likewise, freshman Karlie Habitz notched her first homerun in the Blue and White while managing to drive in two runs throughout the weekend.

The Nittany Lions proved in the first weekend of play that they can hit and rack up the runs to compete with most teams. If the pitching for Penn State can remain confident and consistent behind the team's dominant offense led by Bell then the Blue and White could have a very successful year.

"When you know that you have the confidence that your offense is going to score runs then it takes a little bit of pressure off of the mound and it takes some pressure off the defense," said McIntyre. "I mean all the way around, when they're making plays out there, that's just as exciting as someone getting a big hit."

As Penn State (2-3) moves forward in its young season, they will travel to North Carolina this weekend to play four games in two days beginning at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday.

"It's a good group," said McIntyre. "It's a good well-rounded group and like I said we have a lot of different weapons. We're anxious to see how they all develop throughout the year."  

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