Lions Hold Off the Ramblers, 11-7
March 6, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Penn State softball overcame a late surge by Loyola (Chicago) to grab an 11-7 win Wednesday afternoon in Clearwater, Fla. The Nittany Lions (4-9, 0-0 Big Ten) downed the Ramblers (6-5) with an explosive seven-run fourth frame supported by runs added in the third, sixth and seventh on a breezy day near the bay.
After a day off Thursday, Penn State returns to action at the Under Armour Showcase hosted by South Florida. The Nittany Lions open the three-day tournament at 4:45 p.m. Friday against Loyola Marymount before facing Western Michigan at 7 p.m. The squad will face Toledo, Maine and South Carolina over the weekend, as well.
Junior Jordan Wheatley (1-1) (Troy, Mich.) picked up the win after spinning 3.2 innings and allowing just a pair of earned runs. Senior Rachel Myers (Millheim, Pa.) earned the first save of her career while holding Loyola off the scoreboard in the final 1.1 innings. The Ramblers' Brittany Gardner (2-3) was dealt the loss in the start while going 4.1 and giving up eight runs.
Three Nittany Lions notched multi-hit performances, led by freshman Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) with three hits while senior Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) and junior Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) both posted two apiece. In all, the Blue and White put up 13 hits against the Ramblers while drawing five walks.
After Loyola jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, Penn State drew within one after Jones singled, advanced to second on Alyssa Renwick's (Laurens, S.C.) groundout and scored on Lexi Knief's (Ramsey, N.J.) single.
The PSU bats struck again in the following frame, as the squad put up five hits and took advantage of a pair of walks and a fielding error by the Ramblers. After Wheatley and junior Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) walked, Hatfield singled between first and second to load the bases. With freshman Maegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii) running for Hatfield, Jones' single through the left side scored Wheatley and kept the bases full. Renwick added to the total in the next at-bat, sending a hard shot at the Loyola third baseman and scoring Sovereign before Knief reached on an error by the shortstop to bring Tupinio home.
After a fielder's choice by Bell brought Jones across the plate, Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) doubled off the wall in left center to add another two runs to the Nittany Lion total. Sophomore Lauren Anderson (Valencia, Calif.) notched the final run of the inning as her single to right field scored classmate Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.).
Penn State put up another pair of runs in the top of the sixth with hits from Hatfield and Jones and a Loyola fielding error to score Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Hatfield. The Ramblers pepped up in the bottom of the frame, cutting the lead to three runs with four singles and two errors by the Blue and White before Myers entered the game and closed out the inning by forcing a line drive to Knief.
Bell recorded her eighth home run of the season in the top of the seventh with a solo shot to extend the lead back to four runs and set the final score at 11-7.