Nittany Lions Cruise to 12-3 Season-Opening Win over UTEP
Feb. 12, 2010
LAS CRUCES, N.M.--The Nittany Lion softball team roared to 10 runs in the first two innings and never looked back, downing UTEP, 12-3, in the opening game of the Hotel Encanto Invitational. Freshman Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) led the way with four RBI in her collegiate debut, while Danielle Noll (Bald Eagle, Pa.) belted her first career homer and added three RBI for PSU's first season-opening win in eight years.
"The offense was explosive," Head coach Robin Petrini said after the game. "We did exactly what we needed to do. We ran our plays and executed well."
Penn State (1-0) won its first season-opeining game since 2002, putting four runs on the board in the first, giving up three in the bottom of the first before taking a 7-3 lead after the second. The first four Nittany Lions went to the plate and all reached safely and scored, shocking the Miners (0-2) from the onset. Johnson powered the four-run inning with a two-run double.
After the Lions allowed three runs in the bottom half of the innings, they immediately responded with seven-straight runs, sending 11 batters to the plate and capitalizing on UTEP miscues. The duo of Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.), who started the first by getting on base, did so again in the second, drawing a pair of walks. After Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J.) sacrificed Bell and Griffith over a base, Danee Collett (Orange, Calif.) loaded the bases by getting hit with a pitch.
Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) was subsequently hit by a pitch as well, driving home Bell for a 5-3 advantage. Johnson came up and singled home Griffith and Collett making it a 7-3 Nittany Lion lead. After a Mary Ostman (Northbrook, Ill.) steal of second, in place of Johnson, Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) also walked, again loading the bases. Noll came to the plate and drew another walk, giving PSU a five-run cushion by scoring Hill.
Sophomore Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) strode the plate and smacked an RBI single, scoring Ostman from third, keeping the bases loaded with a 10-3 advantage. Bell had an RBI groundout fielder's choice which scored Yao, but saw Noll be forced out at third and Giordano ended the inning with a ground out to the pitcher.
"I think that they didn't lose their focus," Petrini said of the second inning. "They knew they had to generate some offense and they got right back after it."
From there Hill shut down the UTEP offense, surrendering just two hits the final six innings, finishing the day with four hits against, three earned runs, while striking out eight.
Noll capped the offensive barrage when, after failing to put down a sacrifice bunt twice, she swung a 3-2 pitch over the centerfield wall for not only her first career extra-base hit, but her first career home run, opening a 10-3 game into mercy rule territory at 12-3 in the fourth. The homer was set up by Yao's hustle leading off the inning, with a grounder to second that saw a mishandled throw at first.
Johnson ended her day going 2-for-4 with four RBI, while Noll was 1-1 with three RBI, a homer and two walks. Bell went 1-for-3 with three runs scored, while Griffith, Collett and Yao all crossed the place twice each for the Lions.
Penn State hadn't won a season-opening game since 2002 when it defeated St. John's 6-0, snapping a seven-game skid in that category. The Nittany Lions continue play in the Hotel Encanto Invitational tonight with a 7 p.m. MT (9 p.m. ET) game against Colorado State.