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Feb. 16, 2013
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - After four innings of near-perfect defensive play from Penn State softball, New Mexico State powered its way to a 10-2 win in six innings on its home field Friday night at the Troy Cox Classic.
The Nittany Lions (0-2, 0-0 Big Ten) continue the tournament schedule at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday with a matchup against Texas Tech before facing the Aggies (6-1, 0-0 WAC) again at 4 p.m. The Blue and White wrap up the tournament at 11 a.m. Sunday against Missouri-Kansas City.
Freshman Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) picked up her first start in the circle for Penn State and guided her squad to four innings of scoreless play, including a hit-less three innings to open the contest, before NMSU began its run in the fifth inning.
In the top of the third, Penn State grabbed its first lead of the year after senior Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) launched her first homer of the season, a two-run shot over the wall in left center. Classmate Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) trotted home on the blast after beating out a bunt to the pitcher earlier in the frame.
The Nittany Lions held tight to the 2-0 lead until the Aggie offense came alive late in the game, powered by four home runs in the fifth and sixth innings from Staci Rodriguez, Tehani Kaaihue and Lacey Rother, who sent a pair of long balls over the fence. New Mexico State finished strong, putting eight of their last nine batters on base to end the game in the bottom of the sixth.
Rookie Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) nabbed her first collegiate start, taking over at third base against the Aggies. Along with Jones, freshman Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) represented the young, eight-player class behind the plate. Bell reached safely on all three at-bats after singling in the first, homering in the third and drawing a walk in the fifth. Renwick added a pair of hits, while junior Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.), Furuya and Habitz each singled once.
Penn State's hits were spread out across the game and despite putting a runner on base each inning, the team could not add to its early lead. On the day, eight Nittany Lions tallied their first hits of the season while Bell and Renwick share the lead with three apiece. Penn State dropped its season opener to Colorado State, 10-2, Friday afternoon.