Nittany Lion Softball Pulls Out Gritty 4-2 10-Inning Comeback Win at South Florida
March 7, 2010
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Penn State softball team was down to its final two outs, but Lauren Rossi (Yardley, Pa.) doubled home a run and the Lions went on to win, 4-2, over South Florida in 10 innings. Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) pitched a career high 10 innings with a career-tying 11 strikeouts in the win.
In the seventh inning, Penn State (12-6) was down 1-0 with one away, Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J.) came in to pinch hit, walking on five pitches. Mary Ostman (Northbrook, Ill.) came into run for Giordano and Rossi produced another clutch hit, emulating her game-tying RBI single vs. Colorado State with a double to right center, scoring Ostman from first. Rossi advanced to third on the throw. Unfortunately, PSU couldn't push anyone else across as Alyssa Renwick (Lauens, S.C.) flied to left and Bell grounded to second base.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect for the extra innings, putting runners on second base at every half-inning, Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) laid a perfect bunt single down, moving Danielle Noll (Bald Eagle, Pa.) to third. Renwick made a heads up play, taking second base when no one from USF (6-7) was covering.
Renwick's play forced Bulls pitcher Capri Catalano to intentionally walk Cassidy Bell to load the bases and Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) singled to left centerfield, scoring Noll and Renwick for Penn State's first lead of the game at 3-1. Hill was hit by a pitch to again load the bases and Danee Collett (Orange, Calif.) lofted a sacrifice flyout to rightfield, scoring Bell from third for a 4-1 advantage.
In the bottom of the tenth, the Bulls managed to put runners on the corners with two outs, but a chopper to Hill was thrown away at first, allowing Cat Olnick to score. Nevertheless, Hill buckled down and got Tara Toscano to groundout to second, ending the game and giving Penn State its first win when trailing after six innings this season.
Hill threw 10 full frames allowing four hits, one earned run and two walks while striking out 11 batters. She improved to 7-3, but Catalano fell to 2-1 on the season in the loss.
USF was able to push a run across in the bottom of the sixth inning. Gina Kafalas got on with a bunt single, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, the first out of the inning. USF shortstop Alison Savarese's grounder drove home Kafalas for the lone run of the afternoon.
Penn State managed to load the bases in the top of the sixth inning when Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) registered one-out singles. After a Hill's foul flyout to right moved Bell to third, Danee Collett (Orange, Calif.) was hit by a pitch, but a strikeout ended the threat.
A scary moment happened in the bottom half of the seventh inning when Ostman went running for a foul fly ball and crashed into a concrete barrier bordering the field. Ostman was treated by the on-site physician with stitches to her chin and bruising to her body. Noll replaced Ostman in rightfield. Ostman's return to the team is unknown at the moment.
The contest was the longest game for Penn State in 2010 and the longest since a 2-0 ten-inning loss to then-No. 6 Michigan in 2008. Time-wise at two hours, 51 minutes, it was also the longest game of the year.
Rossi's run in the seventh also broke a 21-inning scoreless drought that stretched to Friday's contest vs. Florida Gulf Coast. Penn State was shutout twice in Saturday's action.
The Nittany Lions return to play on Tuesday at the Eddie C. Moore Complex when they take on Central Michigan. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m. against the Chippewas at Field No. 8 or 9. The game can be followed live through Twitter (@PSULionSoftball) or through GameTracker for livestats.