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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The 18th of August cannot come soon enough for Sandy Barbour.
Introduced as Penn State Director of Athletics on Saturday afternoon, Barbour
is thrilled to begin her tenure as the leader of an athletic program that
aspires to continue its long history of excellence on and off the field of
"When you spend a professional lifetime serving institutions and most
importantly students, you dream about coming to a place like Penn State,"
Barbour said. "You dream about the opportunity to lead a program like Penn
State athletics. Why? Because it represents the opportunity to have it all: Athletic
excellence, academic achievement, community engagement and fiscal
responsibility. So thank you, Eric [Barron]. I am absolutely thrilled, over the
top excited about this opportunity and about being the athletic director at
A graduate of Wake Forest where she was field hockey team captain, Barbour grew
up on the East Coast and has always had a deep passion for Penn State
University and its athletic department. That's what drew her to the position
when she originally spoke with President Barron about the opportunity.
Immediately, Barbour felt a connection with the people, pride and remarkable
accomplishments of Penn State University and its athletic department.
"I love the 'We Are Penn State.' I particularly love what it stands for. It
stands for family," Barbour said.
Barbour desires to see national titles in all 31 sports on campus. But first
and foremost, she will strive to lead a department with student-athletes who
are elite performers in the classroom.
"We are athletic programs again that are all part of a university," Barbour
said. "Our student-athletes will be students first, Penn State is incredibly
proud of the academic performance of their students and we will continue to
Eager to hit the ground running when she begins her duties as athletic director
in 23 days, Barbour wants to learn from everyone in the department, especially
the head coaches leading Penn State's 31 athletic teams.
"Unity doesn't mean one opinion, and I actually embrace that, embrace the
diversity of opinion, diversity in a variety of different ways, and I actually
think that will make us stronger in our ability to move forward," Barbour said.
"As I said before, I have something to learn from everybody, and I'll be doing
a lot of listening."
Numerous head coaches were in attendance at Saturday's introductory press
conference. The coaches and athletic department staff then had a chance to
mingle with Barbour at a private reception before she boarded a flight to
Chicago for Big Ten meetings. The head coaches in attendance exuded great
confidence in the future direction of the athletic department.
"There is a culture, history and tradition of
tremendous academic achievement at Penn State and that will continue," said
head football coach James Franklin. "I know it's important to our president,
athletic director and all of our coaches. That will continue. I know we'll
spend as much time as we need to so we can start building."
"I am truly thrilled that Sandy Barbour will serve as
the next athletic director for Penn State," Lady Lions head coach Coquese
Washington said. "Sandy is a strong, dynamic and passionate leader. She is also
an incredibly smart visionary and strategic thinker. It is exciting to imagine
all the ways Penn State University, and Penn State athletics in particular,
will be positively impacted by her leadership."
"I loved everything I heard today," head women's hockey coach Josh Brandwene
said. "She has passion, vision and just a great understanding of the Penn State
community. Both as a head coach and as an alumnus, I am really excited to start
working with her."
Barbour will return to California in the coming days to prepare for her
full-time return to Happy Valley on Aug. 18, and the new leader of Penn State Athletics
is fired up to get started.
"We are Penn State. I'm
all in. I'm ready to get going," said Barbour.
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
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ERIE, Pa. - After
more than 2,000 miles on the road, the 2014 Coaches Caravan drew to a close on
Thursday night on Penn State's Behrend campus during a sold out evening event.
Nearly 6,300 fans
attended the 17 stops, which spanned across 13 locations in Pennsylvania, in
addition to Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and New York City. In all, 11 different Penn State head coaches
joined head football coach James Franklin during at least one stop since the
Caravan began on May 1 in Pegula Ice Arena.
Thursday's finale featured a new lineup of coaches, which included Franklin,
baseball's Rob Cooper and softball's Amanda Lehotak. Director of Athletics Dave Joyner joined the
group, as well, addressing the crowd prior to hearing from the three head
coaches. Take a look through some highlights from the final stop of the 2014
Stop No. 17 - Erie (Penn State Behrend)
A sold out crowd inside the McGravey Commons heard from three of the newest
coaches on the Nittany Lion roster in Franklin, Cooper and Lehotak. Cooper and
Lehotak each finished their first seasons at the helm of their respective
programs, while Franklin will lead the Blue and White onto the field for his
first game on Aug. 30 in Dublin, Ireland against UCF in the Croke Park Classic.
we are able to do the things we do and have the success in the classroom and on
the competition front is because of the support and encouragement we get from
our alumni and fans," said Joyner.
It may have been the last stop, but the three coaches were received with great
energy and shared the visions they had for their programs. They spoke about
competition, academics and representing an incredible university as a whole.
"It is an honor to represent Penn State and we all want to do what is best for
this university," said Lehotak. "Coach Franklin has an incredible vision and we
need to help him achieve that by packing Beaver Stadium this fall."
Thank you to the nearly 6,500 loyal Penn State fans and alums that made the
Coaches Caravan a resounding success for the third-straight year. And a big tip of the cap goes out to
Fullington Trailways ace driver Gottfried Fodor, who did a superb job behind
the wheel of the Caravan bus for the third-straight year. We look forward to seeing the fans on the
road again in 2015.
"This caravan has been outstanding," said Franklin.
"These three weeks have really helped me build some great relationships with
other coaches, our support staff, members of the media, and most importantly,
our alumni and fans."
Day I - 165 miles
Day II - 130 miles
Day III - 387 miles
Day IV - 175 miles
Day V - 245 miles
Day VI - 267 miles
Day VII - 130 miles
Day VIII - 261 miles
Day IX - 426 miles
Total - 2,186 miles
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - Ending the season with a 6-2 loss against
Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament was not the ideal outcome for the Nittany
Lions. Nevertheless, despite this
disappointment, the small successes that have accumulated throughout the year
have had much more of an impact on the program and on its bright future.
As a first year head coach, Amanda Lehotak is proud of her team's efforts and growth this
season. The Blue and White finished with
an overall record of 14-35, going 5-18 in the Big Ten.
"From the coaching aspect,
we finished a spot higher than they did last year in the conference," Lehotak
said. "We had two less wins, but when
you're best returning hitter is .253 from a year ago and you have three or four
people hitting at .300 that have never done that before, have raised their
batting average anywhere from 90 to 100 points in a season, you're moving in
the right direction."
One of the biggest assets at
the plate for the Lions this season was sophomore Karlie Habitz, whose impressive focus and determined also shined
through in tournament play. In last
Thursday's game alone, the California native went 2-for-3, driving in one of
the team's two runs.
Throughout her 48
appearances this season, Habitz batted .309 and recorded 42 hits. Furthermore, the sophomore led the team in
home runs (4) and RBI (35).
"Karlie did what she did all
year," Lehotak said following the Ohio State loss. "She just battled. My favorite thing about Karlie Habitz at the
plate is nothing really shakes her. I
feel like she keeps the same body language first at-bat, third at-bat. She usually gets stronger as the game
goes. You always have a plan, and she
stuck to her plan and was really successful."
While happy with her own
performance, Habitz also recognizes the importance of this season for the team
as a whole. It was a season full of
learning, testing, and building, which will dramatically help Penn State in the
"I thought we improved a lot
on a lot of things," Habitz said. "Hitters
really started hitting the ball more, were more patient and had more quality
at-bats, and our defense has really gotten a lot stronger this season. We've taken some baby steps, some big steps,
but overall, I think we should be better in the future."
Habitz was not the only
sophomore to produce offensively this year, as Lexi Knief also had a standout season. The centerfielder led the team with a .372
batting average and tied for sixth in the NCAA with triples after accumulating
six in the 49 games she played.
"We went from the bottom
offensively of all of the Big Ten to being middle of the pack," Lehotak said.
"We have a couple kids that are top 10 in triples in the NCAA. We did a lot of good things individually, so
from a coaching standpoint, and the program and the future aspect, I'm very
proud of the small successes that we had.
I know they did not equate to wins, but I think that happens. As coaches, we have to continue to be better,
figure out where we went wrong as a staff, and we will do that."
Next season, Penn State will
return its top three hitters in Knief, Habitz, and Shelby Miller, meaning much of the team's offensive production will
be carried over. The three combined for a
total of 62 RBI and accounted for 45 percent of the team's hits this spring, with
a total of 137.
In addition, the Lions' top
two pitchers, Marlaina Laubach and Macy Jones, will also return to the
circle for Penn State this fall team.
With the conclusion of the 2014 season, Laubach and Jones earned ERAs of
3.64 and 5.35, respectively.
After playing hard for 49
games and leaving everything on the field, the Nittany Lions will begin to
prepare for next season, hoping to come back stronger than ever before. Penn State softball will continue to strive
for success and to proudly represent their university.
"My kids," began Lehotak, "I
appreciated how they played the game. I
thought they played the game with respect.
I thought they represented Penn State with pride and respect all year
long. We had so many improvements in so
many areas. I think the future looks
good. It's going to be a marathon. It's not going to be a sprint to get the
program where we want it and where we all want it to be at Penn State, but I am
very proud. Overall, we did a lot of
good things, and I think my kids should walk out of here with their heads held
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - This past weekend's series marked the final regular season home stand
for the lone three Penn State seniors, Kasie
Hatfield, Liz Presto and Alyssa Sovereign.
three seniors led the Nittany Lion offense as they combined to hit 6-for-14
with two walks, two runs scored and a home run over the weekend despite Penn
State (14-34, 5-18 Big Ten) falling in all three games to conference foe Illinois
(23-25, 7-16 Big Ten).
"I'm very happy with how the seniors played today and all
season long," said head coach Amanda
Lehotak. "I thought they played with guts and character and hard work. It
was a great class. I feel very selfish in the fact that I'm disappointed I
didn't get to coach them for four years."
All three seniors recorded a hit in Sunday's regular
Hatfield, she managed to go out with a bang, crushing her second home run of
the season, in her final regular season at-bat as a Nittany Lion on Sunday.
Hatfield fouled the first pitch down the line; a ball
that Lehotak argued was in fair territory. She then looked at a changeup for a
ball. The last pitch of the at-bat was right down the heart of the plate.
Hatfield wasn't trying to hit a home run, but she put a charge into it, and the
ball flew over the wall in centerfield.
"It felt great," said Hatfield. "To go out my last at-bat
here with a home run is pretty sweet."
With that being said, senior day was Saturday for Penn
State, a special moment for the three seniors and their families.
"I loved [senior day]," said Hatfield. "My brother has
never been up here, and he came up yesterday to make it to one of my final
games and senior banquet, so I was really happy with that. "
For Presto and Sovereign, the final home stand was full
of emotions, but for Hatfield, the feeling was bittersweet.
"I think I have a different view because I am coming
back," said Hatfield. "It's just going to be weird that I'm not playing."
That's right. The senior catcher will be returning next
year as part of Lehotak's staff as a volunteer assistant. Hatfield thinks that
playing catcher will translate well into being a formidable coach.
"I'm just really excited to learn because I feel like I
know a lot about the game," said Hatfield. "I'm curious to see what exactly it
is they do behind-the-scenes."
Lehotak joked about the idea of having her senior catcher
as a coach next year.
"I think I hit my head when I agreed to that," said
Lehotak. "We're very honored that Kasie [Hatfield] is choosing to stay on.
Hopefully we can teach her a few things about the business side of softball. I
look forward to learning from her, as well."
The season is not over, yet. Up next for the Nittany
Lions is the Big Ten Tournament, which begins Thursday at Northwestern
Tenth-seeded Penn State will take on No. 7 seed Ohio
State at 2:30 ET. Penn State will try to replicate last year's upset win as an
11 seed against sixth-seeded Illinois.
"Crazy things happen in tournaments," said Hatfield. "You
never know who's going to win. We can come through, as long as we do what we're
supposed to do."
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The distance between
Penn State and Hawaii is 4,766 miles, such is the rare trip that Penn State
softball sophomores Reina Furuya and
Maegan Tupinio both decided to make
two years ago to receive a world-class education and play Division I softball.
With the average annual temperature 25 degrees higher in Hawaii than in State College, the
looming question is why make the extensive trip east to wake up to snow five
months a year rather than to the sounds of the ocean crashing up against the
soft, warm sand?
"I just like the education system on the East
Coast," said Tupinio. "It's different. My brother lives on this side of the
country, so I've been here before. I just wanted to do something different, and
I really liked Penn State. It's well known in Hawaii, so I wanted to do
something that would make the people there [in Hawaii] proud of me."
For Furuya, her answer is similar to that of
Tupinio's, but incorporates her freshman year in Happy Valley to evaluate the
"If you asked me a year ago I would've just said
academics and softball, but now that I have a year under my belt, I love it
here," said Furuya. "The whole atmosphere, including the academics and coaches,
it's just fun to be around with football and watching other sports compete,
it's just a fun college town to be around."
Three years ago both Furuya and Tupinio were
seniors in high school. And, despite growing up just 11 miles apart - Furuya in
Waipahu and Tupinio in Wahiawa
- neither really knew each other until they both decided on Penn State.
That last sentence is not entirely true.
knew of her [Tupinio]," said Furuya. "I played against her. But I never really
got to know her until I got here."
For Tupinio, her knowledge of Furuya is a
little bit different. Because Hawaii is such small compilation of islands, both
played against each other all the time.
"I definitely knew Reina more than she knew
me," said Tupinio. "She's a well-known player on the islands."
The two Hawaiians have helped each other
adapt to the different environment up along the east coast of the United
States, but the move from Hawaii to Penn State was far from a walk in the park.
"Oh my gosh! I do [miss the warmth]," said
Tupinio. "No offense, but this winter was terrible."
Keeping in touch with family back in Hawaii
has been a challenge that both have had to overcome. Each has had to deal with
the six-hour time difference to talk to their loved ones. When it's Noon here
in State College, the sun is rising in Hawaii.
Together, Furuya and Tupinio have brought
their tropical culture to Penn State, culture that is rarely experienced in
"I like just listening to the way that they
talk," said senior Kasie Hatfield. "Even
just the way they say certain words is really cool, so it's just fun to have
If you ask Furuya or Tupinio, they will both
agree that Hawaiian food is what they miss the most of home during their time
at Penn State.
"I definitely miss the food at home," said
Furuya. "I just love food so much. Here I can get burgers, fries and pancakes,
but at home I can get the Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian food. Love it."
Their teammates aren't complaining though
because Furuya and Tupinio have not only introduced them to new cuisine, but
they also have a knack for finding the best local restaurants.
"The food that they introduced to us is
really cool because they eat a lot of rice and spam," said sophomore Macy Jones. "They find the best sushi
places in State College, too, so that helps a lot."
On the field, Furuya and Tupinio's relaxed,
vacation-like mindsets have helped calm their teammates battle through
"They're actually our calming forces," said
head coach Amanda Lehotak. "So when
everybody else is bouncing off the walls, they're the ones just chilling and
going with the flow."
Penn State wasn't always a certainty.
"When I first came here I thought everything
would be so big, and I wouldn't really know people," said Tupinio.
Now, Penn State is a certainty.
"Everything here is well put together, and
everyone is very close," said Tupinio. "I feel like I am a part of a family
here, and I love it. I love the feeling of tradition and just the values that
everyone has here."
The fusion of cultures, highlighted by the
two Hawaiian sophomores has provided a balance among the team. A diverse
balance that Lehotak thinks reflects the power of college athletics.
"You get so many people from different cultures and
different areas of the country that teach everybody, whether it's about their
culture or what they are about," said Lehotak. "It's awesome."
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Road trips are never
easy, especially ones that last nearly a week. Such was the case for Penn State
(14-31, 5-15 Big Ten) who began its time away from home at Ohio State in a
doubleheader back on Wednesday and then traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., to take
on the No. 12 Golden Gophers (36-8, 14-5 Big Ten) in a weekend series.
losing both games to the Buckeyes and all three games versus the Golden
Gophers, there were positive learning points to take away from playing two
competitive conference foes.
Friday, the Nittany Lions, backed by another impressive start from pitcher Marlaina Laubach, fell to Minnesota,
1-0. The freshman hurler fell to 9-14 on the season but was terrific, giving up
just one earned run on four hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
[Laubach] wasn't missing her spots," said head coach Amanda Lehotak after Friday's game. "She was crisp. She was
attacking. She only had two or three misses that they [Minnesota] did not
The Nittany Lions
faced a tough task at the plate against star senior Golden Gopher pitcher Sara
Moulton, who went the distance while holding the Blue and White scoreless. Penn
State managed just four hits off of the ace, but according to Lehotak, her team
is hitting the ball well, but just needs a little luck.
"It's not like we aren't
putting the ball in play," said Lehotak. "We've had some shots, but everyone
has had ESPN catches against us all year. We just need a little luck. We have
no luck. We have to earn everything right now."
Friday's loss was
the Nittany Lions best-played game of the three-game series. If you look at the
box score, it would seem as if Penn State won the game, but such is a learning
experience for the young squad.
"The positives on
Friday were that we kept the game really simple and competed every pitch," said
Lehotak. "We can play with anybody. We beat them [Minnesota] in every category
- that's just the crazy game about softball - we just had one costly error."
On Saturday, the
story was a little different as the Nittany Lions lacked pitching depth and
dropped both games of the doubleheader, 9-0 and 16-2, respectively.
"Saturday was a
tough day obviously, but we did some great things," said Lehotak. "We stuck
around their All-American pitcher a little bit, which was good to see. We just
didn't have the pitching to go the distance for two [games] on Saturday."
The Golden Gophers
chased sophomore Macy Jones in Game One
of the doubleheader, scoring five earned runs off of Jones in four innings of
play en route to the win. Offensively, the Nittany Lions stuck to the game plan
but failed to register a hit off of Minnesota's ace, Sara Groenewegen.
"We just try to
make them stick to the game plan of keep it simple, hit the ball hard and put
the ball in play," said Lehotak. "There are quite a few at bats we're doing
that, and it's just - I call it 'at 'ems' disease - where we hit the ball right
In Game two of the
doubleheader, Laubach took the hill for the second time in the series to try
and quite the Minnesota bats again. Unfortunately, the Golden Gophers figured
out Laubach and chased the freshman for six earned runs in just two innings
"Going into a
second game where the opponent has already seen me once, it's important to
really focus on spots of pitches rather than trying to get strikeouts or trying
to get groundouts," said Laubach. "It's more of a spot issue just because the
teams are very competitive, so you want to try to paint the corners as much as
Being swept on the
road is not part of the game plan, but Minnesota is a strong team with great
pitching. For Penn State such an experience is one to learn from.
"This time of year
we're still learning, and I want to see us get better every day," said Lehotak.
"Defensively, pitching and offensively; there is still a lot to learn. I just
want to keep getting better. We're never going to stop learning and never going
to stop trying to get better each day."
Next up for the
Nittany Lions is a home doubleheader against instate rival Pittsburgh (15-25,
6-15 ACC) on Wednesday with the first pitch at Beard Field set for 5 p.m.
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While falling to Ohio State in both
games of Wednesday night's doubleheader was not the desired outcome for the
Nittany Lions, the team continues to excel and improve in one specific and very
important area: pitching.
Penn State (14-28, 5-12 B1G) dropped the first game of
the series against the Buckeyes (22-23, 8-9 B1G) by a final score of 3-1 and
finished the night with a 3-0 loss in game two.
"I think both pitchers pitched good enough to win," said
head coach Amanda Lehotak following
the performances of freshman Marlaina
Laubach and sophomore Macy Jones. "Marlaina again was very aggressive and
attacked, and I thought Macy was the same way.
She attacked the whole time and went right after the hitters. I was very happy with our pitching today."
Laubach made her appearance in game one, pitching a
complete game. Throughout the entirety
of her time in the circle, the right-hander threw a total of 88 pitches and
allowed only three runs on seven hits.
Just as Laubach, Jones also went the distance in game two
against Ohio State. The Virginia native
threw 51 strikes during the game, accumulating three strikeouts and allowing
only three runs.
"I think me and Marlaina did a really good job," Jones
said. "We did give up three runs each,
but with a big hitting team like that I think that's good. We hit our spots and were moving the ball
like we're supposed to."
Since the start of the season, the Penn State pitching
staff, which is led by both Laubach and Jones, has drastically improved. These developments have added to both the
competitive nature and overall confidence of the team.
"I'm very proud of our pitching staff," said Lehotak. "They've come a long way. They're competing, and they're pitching the
best they have all year right now."
Nevertheless, solid performances in the circle must also
be accompanied by offensive production, which the Lions struggled with during
the doubleheader. The Blue and White
turned in eight hits in the first game, but only managed to record three hits
during the second.
"First game, we had a lot of runners on base," Lehotak
said. "We just could not get the big
hit. It was just one of those games
where we had opportunities, but we just couldn't punch one through. Game two we were just very
uncharacteristic. Very rarely do we ever
have nine strikeouts in a game. We
weren't attacking early, and when we were attacking, we were going after
pitches that were not good pitches to attack.
We had a really hard time getting momentum, and I think we got
frustrated. We just couldn't get out of
"Our offense just wasn't there today," added Jones. "We weren't putting hits together. We were having good at-bats, but when we
needed the big hit, we just didn't come up with it."
With both positive and negative takeaways from its games
against the Buckeyes, Penn State will regroup and prepare for its next Big Ten
matchup against No. 12 Minnesota. The
series will open with Friday evening's game one, which is set to begin at 7
"The main focus is keeping the ball on the ground when
we're hitting, putting the ball in play, and just working the counts with the
pitchers," said Jones with regards to upcoming series. "Defensively, our pitchers just need to keep
doing what they're doing."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After dropping all three games of
their weekend series with fellow Big Ten competitor Wisconsin (27-15, 9-5 Big
Ten), the Nittany Lions (14-26, 5-10 Big Ten) are focusing on the basics and
striving to keep their game simple and skilled.
Four errors over the course of the two days proved costly
for Penn State, which fell by a score of 6-3 on Friday night and scores of 4-0
and 5-2 during Saturday's double-header.
"Both teams gave great effort and made some spectacular
catches, but we dropped two routine pop flies," said head coach Amanda Lehotak. "That's killer. We couldn't recover. We felt offensively, it was just a matter of
time to score runs, and if we catch that [pop fly], then that could be a
completely different ball game."
Agreeing with the remarks of her coach was Macy Jones who appeared in all three
games, playing at first for games one and three and pitching game two.
"It was just a few key errors that ended up really
costing us runs," said the pitcher. "Sometimes
they don't, and sometimes they do. In
that case, they did, and our offense didn't really show up the first game either. I think sometimes errors are ok because you
can get out of them, and sometimes they are really costly."
Although the Lions were unable to make some of the more
routine plays, they had a number of impressive defensive catches.
Furuya and freshman Shelby Miller
both made spectacular grabs in the second of Saturday's two games. Furuya made a diving catch along the third
base side, while Miller nabbed a soaring line drive, both of which helped to
keep the game within the Lions' reach.
Additionally, Furuya, along with senior Kasie Hatfield, led the way offensively
for the Blue and White. Furuya recorded
two hits in game two, and Hatfield reached base twice in game three. Nevertheless, throughout the entirety of the
series, Penn State was outhit by the Badgers 20-13.
"A lot of us were trying to do too much," said Hatfield
of the team's batting struggles. "I
think a lot of us wanted to come through and be the one to hit a homerun
instead of just doing the simple things and getting hits."
"I think we should have been attacking the pitchers more,
and we were kind of being passive," added Jones. "Instead of being hitters, we were being
Despite the fielding mistakes and cold bats, the Nittany
Lions are still confident and ready for what the rest of the season has to
With Jones and freshman Marlaina Laubach nabbing a majority of the pitching time for the
Lions, the position is becoming much more of a strong point for the team.
Laubach started games one and three, going the distance
for seven innings in both. The
right-hander gave up five earned runs on Friday and one earned run in Saturday's
Jones also turned in a complete performance on Saturday,
allowing only three earned runs off a homerun.
"I think I did pretty good, minus the homerun, which I
don't think was a bad pitch," said the Virginia native. "She put a good swing on it. I think that I hit my spots well and all my
pitches were working."
Looking forward, the Lions will travel to Ohio to take on
the Buckeyes in a Wednesday evening double header. Ohio State is currently 6-9 in the Big Ten
and 20-23 overall.
When asked what the most important aspects will be
leading into the match-up, Hatfield was very concise and definite with her response.
"Making the simple plays," said the senior. "Trying to limit our errors and get back to
hitting the way that we were hitting coming in to this weekend will be very
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Riding the hot bat of
freshman Shelby Miller, the Nittany
Lions (14-23, 5-7 Big Ten) swept intrastate rival Bucknell (15-20, 7-5 Patriot
League) in Wednesday evening's doubleheader at Beard Field, 6-3 and 10-5. After
a slow start to the season, Penn State has now won eight of its last nine
know we can win now," said Miller. "We've seen that we can do it, and we're
one of the doubleheader, Penn State used a complete game performance by Marlaina Laubach to lead the Nittany
Lions to a 6-3 win.
went the distance, throwing 118 pitches, while allowing three runs, two earned.
The 5-foot-8 right-handed freshman walked just one batter and tied a
season-high with six strikeouts. She improved to 9-10 on the season and
recorded her eighth complete game of the year.
much more confident as a staff," said Laubach. "We all have a lot more
confidence in one another. When I'm on the mound, I go out and try to act the
most confident that I can."
offensive front, the Nittany Lions scored in all but one inning in the first
seventh, Miller was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish, driving in one run and
kind of protecting her [Miller] down there," said first-year head coach Amanda Lehotak. "She's getting better
pitches. She's kind of our second leadoff to get that bottom of the order sparked
Blue and White carried the momentum into game two of the doubleheader, jumping
out to a 9-0 lead after just two innings of play.
two we attacked early, which was exactly what we wanted," said Lehotak. "The
top of the order really came out and followed the game plan to a 'T' and when
we do that we can put up 10 runs."
the first game, Miller was a big reason why Penn State was so dominant
offensively against the Bison. The second baseman went 2-for-3 with a triple
and four runs batted in.
just seeing it, and my biggest goal today was just, and every time I go up to
bat, was just to relax," said Miller. "Just take a couple deep breaths, go up
there, and do what I need to do."
the first game, however, the Nittany Lions used a trio of pitchers to get past
Bucknell. Christy Von Pusch, Marissa Diescher and Macy Jones took to the mound to combine
to give up five runs, three earned, on seven hits, five walks and six
ahead, the Nittany Lions host Big Ten foe Wisconsin this weekend for a
three-game series. Nevertheless, according to Lehotak, adjustments will need to
be made to get past the aggressive Badgers.
of the order has to get on," said Lehotak. "We have a couple big holes. We have
to take care of the ball defensively. Wisconsin is very aggressive. They are
very top heavy in the top of the order, batting average, numbers-wise. They
swing hard, and they're going to come right after us. Our pitching is going to
have to hit their spots. We have to keep limiting our walks."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - Starting the season 0-6 in the Big Ten, few believed
Penn State would achieve success in the conference. Nevertheless, after two strong away series,
the Nittany Lions are proving they can and will compete.
Grabbing two wins from the three roads games against
Indiana this weekend, the team once again stayed calm, collected, and focused
during high-pressure situations.
The Lions' emerged victoriously in games one and two of
the series, winning 4-1 and 2-1 respectively.
The team's sole weekend loss came on Sunday afternoon during an extra
innings battle in which it ultimately fell to the Hoosiers 8-7.
While Sunday's outcome was a huge disappointment to the
team, as it snapped their 6-game winning streak, the Lions and head coach Amanda Lehotak were ecstatic about
their overall weekend performance.
Lehotak attributes her team's recently elevated play to an
increase in confidence, which she believes is highly important and beneficial
in all aspects of the game. Additionally,
the head coach felt the pitching staff "had probably the best weekend they've
had all year" and felt all members of the team registered quality at-bats.
Sitting at 5-7 in the conference, Lehotak likes where her
team is at right now, but what she likes even more is where they are headed.
"To me, it says the team is mentally tough, that they are
resilient, and that they get the big picture," said Lehotak of the team's much
improved Big Ten record. "Those first
two weekends were arguably against the two best teams in the conference right
now, and we knew we just had to get through that. We got through that, and we have a lot of
winnable games coming up. We just felt
resilient, and as long as we kept playing our game, we could compete with
anybody. That's what they're doing, and
they're crawling their way back into the Big Ten, so I'm happy for them."
Key to the Lions' climb back up the Big Ten standings is
senior Kasie Hatfield. Batting .354, she constantly and consistently
produces offensively for her team. This
weekend was no different.
Hatfield went three-for-three in Friday's game,
registering her first homerun of the year.
She then followed her spectacular game one performance with two hits in
both games two and three. Throughout the
entirety of the weekend, the senior also drove in seven of the Nittany Lions'
13 total runs.
In addition to these impressive statistics, the Florida
native also left a more permanent mark on Penn State softball.
Sunday afternoon, Hatfield recorded her 12th
double of the season, which earns her recognition in the Penn State record
books. She is now listed ninth on the
single season doubles list.
"She was just Mrs. Clutch all weekend," said Lehotak with
regards to Hatfield's performance. "I
mean, every time she came up, you just felt she had an opportunity to get a hit
and have a great at-bat, which is what she did.
Her pitch selection was good. She
was attacking early in the count. She
just had a great weekend."
Although the Hoosiers' ran away with the Sunday afternoon
win, the Lions are staying positive and confident in their playing
abilities. Looking ahead, the team knows
and fully understands that its schedule will be challenging, but this more
favorable mindset and outlook will take them far against these future opponents.
"They have the belief that they can win, the belief they
can compete with anybody, the belief that they can compete at a high level day
in and day out," Lehotak said of the team.
"I really think, hopefully, we just keep getting better and better."