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Feb. 17, 2013
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Penn State softball capped off the 2013 Troy Cox Classic on a winning note, downing Missouri-Kansas City, 10-2, in five innings Sunday afternoon. The Nittany Lions finished New Mexico State's tournament 2-3 after taking their last two contests by a combined score of 20-4 against NMSU and UMKC (3-6, 0-0 Summit).
Penn State (2-3, 0-0 Big Ten) returns to action Feb. 23 in Chapel Hill, N.C., at the Carolina Classic hosted by North Carolina. The Nittany Lions will face squads from George Washington, North Dakota State, Iowa State and North Carolina at the two-day tournament.
Freshman Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) started the game in the circle and gave up just a hit over an inning of work to improve her record to 2-1. Junior Jordan Wheatley (Troy, Mich.) tossed the final four innings and allowed just a run and six hits to help the Lions secure the victory.
Penn State jumped out to a fast start in the first inning against the Kangaroos. Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) drew a walk and stole second before Taylor Abeyta (San Diego, Calif.) reached first on four balls. Senior Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) bounced a hit off the wall in center field to score Renwick before Jones singled up the middle, bringing Abeyta around from second. Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) pounded a ball into center field on a sac fly to score Johnson and Jones scored before the end of the inning on a dropped fly ball by UMKC's Bri Wyatt.
After the Kangaroos earned one of the runs back in the bottom of the first, Renwick walked once again. With two outs, Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) cranked a high fly ball over the right center wall to score a pair, her third homer of the season. Johnson then drew a walk and was brought home when Jones sent a home run to nearly the same spot as Bell, increasing the lead to 8-1.
With one down in the third, Lexi Knief walked and Renwick followed up with a triple off the right field wall to add another run to Penn State's tab. Abeyta reached first on her second walk of the day and Bell scored Renwick on a fielder's choice at the second baseman.
UMKC made up ground in the bottom of the third, putting runners on the corners with a pair of singles. Marlee Maples brought Brooke Parker in on a grounder to Renwick but on the following at-bat, Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) threw out Liz Broyles at home on a fielder's choice to keep the deficit at eight runs.
The Kangaroos loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with one out but couldn't put any across as Knief tossed to Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) for a putout at home and Renwick ended the inning with a force out at second. Despite a pair of singles to open the bottom of the fifth, Wheatley and the Penn State defense forced two grounders and a lazy fly to center to end the inning and the game.
Rachel Myers (Millheim, Pa.) missed a hit in her first at-bat of the season by inches as UMKC first baseman Katie Kelley extended upward to make a snow-cone grab in the top of the fourth.
Twelve Nittany Lions recorded hits over the five-game tournament. Bell led the team with nine, followed by Renwick (7), Jones (6), Johnson (5), Sovereign (3), Karlie Habitz (3) (Newhall, Calif.) and Hutchinson (2). Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.), Reina Furuya, Knief, Hatfield and Yao each nabbed one hit apiece.
Bell, who also swiped four bags, and Jones both tallied nine RBI. Renwick stole three bases and Abeyta stole second once. Jones finished with 10 strikeouts and led all pitchers with 14.2 innings in the circle, followed by Wheatley with 7.1. Seven of eight of the team's freshmen logged their first playing time over the weekend.