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March 2, 2012
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Nittany Lion softball team split its two games to open the Citrus Classic on Friday, defeating LIU Brooklyn, 8-2, after falling to Virginia in five innings. Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) paced the Nittany Lions with two home runs and an RBI double on the day.
VIRGINIA 13, PENN STATE 1 (5 inn.)
Penn State (2-7) got off to a great start against Virginia (12-2) as the lead-off hitter, Sovereign, smashed her first home run of the year. The Cavaliers took control from there, capitalizing on four Penn State errors en route to a 13-1, five-inning victory.
Sovereign took the third pitch of the game from UVa's Melanie Mitchell over the rightfield wall for her first career lead-off home run and the fourth of her career. That would be the only damage Mitchell (8-1) suffered as she allowed four hits, while striking out five and walking none. Joining Sovereign in the hit category was Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.), Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) and Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) with singles.
The Cavaliers put five runs on the board in the bottom of the first to take a four-run lead. Virginia was relentless at the plate with three runs in the second, four in the third and another in the fifth. Penn State's fielding didn't help the matter with three errors on the afternoon contributing to two unearned runs.
PENN STATE 8, LIU BROOKLYN 2
Sovereign had a moment of déjà vu in the second game on Friday as she belted a lead-off home run to provide Penn State a 1-0 lead over LIU Brooklyn. From there, Penn State (3-7) scored twice in the fourth and five times in the fifth to down the Blackbirds (2-15), 8-2, to snap a three-game skid.
For the second time in her career, Sovereign hit two homers in a single day, matching the feat she carried out in the NCAA Regional last season against Albany and Fordham on May 21. The Blackbirds returned fire in the top of the third inning with a tying two-run single.
In the fourth, Penn State retook the lead on Presto's RBI single up the middle at 2-1. She drove home Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.), who singled to open the inning followed by Kasie Hatfield's (Tampa, Fla.) single. Morgan Long (Oro Valley, Ariz.) then sent a long fly to left to score pinch-runner Meghan Bradley (Santa Monica, Calif.) after Bradley replaced Hatfield.
Sovereign provided some insurance in the fifth as she doubled to rightfield, scoring Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) from first base and reaching third on the throw home. The very next batter was Renwick who chopped a single to rightfield, making it a 5-1 Penn State lead. The five-run inning continued with a Hatfield single and an Ellen McNair (Niceville, Fla.) single that brought home Renwick. Yao then hit a sharp single through the middle that couldn't be corralled by LIU, scoring two more runs. The Blackbirds added one run in the seventh, but could get no closer.
Freshman Marissa Diescher (Livingston Manor, N.Y.) took the victory going all seven inning for her first collegiate complete game. Diescher (2-2) proved too difficult for the Blackbirds, yielding just one earned run on five hits and four walks, while striking out a season-high five.
Penn State returns to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday to face N.C. State (2:30 p.m.) and Lipscomb (4:45 p.m.). Live stats will be provided through GoPSUsports.com's GameTracker with updates on Twitter (@PSULionSoftball) and Facebook (PennStateSoftball).