Fifth-Inning Rally Propels Nittany Lions Past J-State, 6-4
March 6, 2011
WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- A long and trying day met with multiple rescheduling ended in victory as Penn State softball downed Jacksonville State, 6-4, on Sunday at Twin Creeks Softball Complex. Kailyn Johnson's (Yorba Linda, Calif.) three-run, fifth-inning homer ignited the PSU offense to overcome a two-run deficit and go 3-0 in the Buzz Classic on a cold and windy night.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning and Penn State trailing 2-1, Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) got on board for the third-straight at-bat after she was plunked by JSU's Tiffany Harbin for the second time. A subsequent ground out pushed Yao to second for the second out of the inning, leading to a pivotal point in the ballgame. Danee Collett (Rogersville, Calif.) ripped a liner off the glove of the third-baseman and a diving shortstop kept it in the infield. Yao was waved home to knot the game up at two apiece, giving Collett her second RBI single of the night.
Morgan Long (Oro Valley, Ariz.) singled to left field moving pinch runner Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) to second base. Johnson stepped to the plate and sent a soaring home run into the pine trees well past the right field wall, her first home run of 2011, to give Penn State's first lead of the game at 5-2.
In the following inning, Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) legged out a seemingly innocuous infield single when she sent a liner back to the pitcher's circle. Yao's fourth plate appearance yielded a long double to left scoring Bell standing up to push Penn State's lead to 6-2.
Jacksonville State (8-6) would try to mount a rally in the top of the seventh and succeeded in plating two runs on an RBI single by Kaycee Crow for two unearned runs. Crow had three RBI on the night as the Gamecocks game out of the gate scorching hot at the plate with four consecutive hits and a quick 2-0 lead against PSU starter Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.).
Hill would settle down after that and kept Jacksonville State at bay, holding the Gamecocks to eight hits and a walk with two earned runs against. Hill fanned eight in the game to improve her record to 4-3 on the season. Hill received support when Collett singled home Yao from second base in the third inning to cut the JSU lead in half to 2-1 setting up Penn State's four-run fifth.
Yao went 1-for-1 on the day with an RBI and two runs scored, while frustrating the JSU pitching staff. Collett posted a 2-for-3 day with two RBI while Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) and Mary Ostman (Northbrook, Ill.) each tallied hits as the Nittany Lions knocked eight on the chilly evening.
Penn State was scheduled to play two games on Sunday as part of the Buzz Classic but due to deteriorating conditions of the fields from rain storms, the Nittany Lions managed to get just one game in. PSU's other game against Georgia Tech is rescheduled for Tuesday to be played at Kennesaw State following the conclusion of Penn State-Kennesaw State at 2:00 p.m. Both games will have GameTracker for live stats and commentary on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PSULionSoftball.