By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK. Pa - As shortstop, Reina Furuya is always busy on the diamond. She's constantly running between second and third base, trying to prevent as many hits as possible from crossing over into the outfield.
She was especially busy in Penn State's (28-21, 13-7) three games against No. 2 Michigan, but none more so than in game one on Friday night, a close 4-2 loss to the visiting Wolverines.
With a steady rain coming down onto Beard Field, the senior shortstop dropped a popup to shallow left field, when it fell into her glove and popped right back out.
But the Hawaii product didn't let it get to her head; the next time the ball was hit to her, she got the final out of the inning by running the ball herself to third base.
"That's what Reina does," head coach Amanda Lehotak said. "She does a great job, she took them out of a couple innings and we had that momentum shift because of her defensive play. It was huge how she played tonight. She played like a senior tonight."
On the other end of the spectrum, Lehotak also saw some good play from the next generation of Nittany Lions: freshmen Tori Dubois and Meghan Williams.
Dubois played in all three games, as the designated player (DP) in the first two and as catcher and right fielder in the third; she also caught for a few innings in game two. Williams was put at first base in game three, replacing Kristina Brackpool.
"It was important for them to get that game like experience and for them to get to see that kind of pitching," Lehotak said. "[They got] to kind of see what they have to work into and hopefully what they're going to be one day. We had a couple of injuries so we had to move some people around today but I was very impressed with their poise. So for our kids to have poise like that and to go after Michigan as freshmen is big."
Next up for Penn State is their final series of the season, when Illinois travels to Beard Field for a three game series next weekend. Game one is slated for Friday at 6 p.m.