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Feb. 15, 2013
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - A slow defensive start for Penn State softball derailed the team's 2013 season opener as the Nittany Lions dropped a 10-2 decision in five innings to Colorado State at the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M., Friday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions (0-1, 0-0 Big Ten) return to action to face hosting New Mexico State at 8 p.m. ET Friday.
The Rams (4-3, 0-0 MWC), who defeated Texas Tech to begin the day, took advantage of six walks in the first two innings to create a 10-0 lead. After entering the game in the second inning, Penn State junior hurler Jordan Wheatley (Troy, Mich.) allowed just four hits through three innings of work to limit the offensive damage by Colorado State. Wheatley finished with a trio of strikeouts while facing 14 batters.
Penn State rallied in the top of the fifth in an attempt to keep the game going. Senior Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) reached first on a fielding error by the Rams' third baseman before classmate Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) singled on a hard shot at the second baseman. Both runners advanced after Renwick's stolen base caused a bad throw up the middle and senior Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) followed up by sending both home on a long double to the wall in center field to set the score at 10-2. The Nittany Lions put runners on first and third later in the inning, but could not convert to avoid the eight-run rule.
Senior Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) notched the team's first hit of the year on a hopper down the left field line in the third inning, followed by a single from Renwick in the same frame. Freshman Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) tallied the first collegiate hit of her career with a single between second and third in the fourth inning.
Six of the Nittany Lions' eight freshmen logged their first game time against the Rams. Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) and Jones earned starts at third and right field, respectively, while Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) got the nod as the team's designated player. Taylor Abeyta (San Diego, Calif.) and Maegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii) came on as pinch runners and pitcher Christy Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) threw an inning for Penn State.
Colorado State's Holly Reinke went the distance for the Rams, throwing 5.0 innings in the winning effort. The Rams' Alysa Greckel led all with two hits.