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March 1, 2014
Harrisonburg, Va.. Veterans Memorial Park
HARRISONBURG, Va.; March 1, 2014 - The Penn State softball team failed to turn things around in the first day of the James Madison Invitational on Saturday, dropping contests to Kent State, 9-1, and Dartmouth, 6-3. A lack of offensive production led to a five inning loss vs. the Golden Flashes while multiple errors proved lethal vs. the Big Green.
Sophomore Karlie Habitz’s (Newhall, Calif.) performance against Dartmouth highlighted the day as she went 3-for-3 at the plate with a single, a double and a solo homerun, earning three RBIs. Sam Shanahan (Seattle, Wash.) and Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) also performed well against the Big Green, registering two hits each.
KENT STATE 9, PENN STATE 1 (5)
The Nittany Lions (5-10) managed to stay within striking distance of the Golden Flashes (7-4) through the first four innings until KSU pulled away with six runs in the top of the fifth.
Each team registered one run in the first inning of play while neither crossed the plate in the second. Maddy Grimm kicked things off for KSU, knocking out the first of three home runs in the opening frame. The Lions responded in the bottom half of the first, posting a run on a single from Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.). The senior punched a single through the left side to drive in Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) and tie the score at 1-1.
Kent State pulled ahead in the third inning with another homer, this time from Kim Kirkpatrick. The junior crushed the ball over the left center fence to give the Flashes a 2-1 advantage. Another home run in the fourth inning gave KSU its third run of the day as Shelbi Tilton blasted the ball over left field.
The Golden Flashes dominated Penn State in the fifth inning, driving in six runs on five hits to extend their lead to 9-1. A Kirkpatrick single through the right side and a fielding error by Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) led to the first two runs of the inning from Caitie Kilbane and Lauren Kesterson. Grimm followed up with a two-RBI single to left field, sending Kirkpatrick and Dani Ramos across the plate.
Pitcher Marissa Diescher (Livingston Manor, N.Y.) walked Tilton and gave up a single to Kim Morgason to load the bases with just one out. Two additional walks would drive in Grimm and Arika Roush and put the count at 9-1.
The Nittany Lions were unable to respond in the bottom of the fifth as they were run ruled by Kent State.
DARTMOUTH 6, PENN STATE 3
Penn State (5-11) improved offensively in the second game of the day but struggled on the defensive end, committing three errors in its 6-3 loss to Dartmouth (1-5). Freshman Christy Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) registered the first complete game of her career and her first loss of the season.
The Lions held strong through the first four innings once again, keeping the Big Green off the board until the fifth inning.
Hatfield notched PSU’s first hit of the game with her seventh double of the season and Habitz followed up with a single to right field to send in Hatfield. The Lions tallied their second run in the third inning on another hit from Habitz. The sophomore ripped her second double of the year to left center to bring Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) home and put the score at 2-0.
Dartmouth pulled ahead in the fifth with three runs. Kelsey Miller reached on an error, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch from Von Pusch. A homer to left field from Karen Chaw gave the Big Green a 3-2 advantage as Miller and Alyssa Jorgensen, who was walked, were driven in.
Habitz tied the contest at three runs apiece with a home run in the bottom of the fifth. The sophomore blasted the ball over left center for her second homer of the 2014 campaign.
The Big Green regained the lead in the sixth on a double from Brianna Lohmann. Lohmann fired the extra-base hit to right field to send Alex St. Romain home and move the score to 4-3.
DU added two more runs in the top of the seventh as Katie McEachern and Jorgensen scored on a double from Chloe Maddill. Penn State failed to get on the board in the final frame, leaving the final count at 6-3.
The Blue and White return to the field on Sunday for the second and final day of the JMU Invitational. PSU will face Fairfield at 2 p.m. before taking on JMU at 4 p.m.