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March 8, 2011
KENNESAW, Ga. - Nittany Lion softball took the first game of a split doubleheader, 2-1, over host Kennesaw State before dropping the nightcap, 2-0, to Georgia Tech on Tuesday evening at Bailey Park.
PENN STATE 2, KENNESAW STATE 0 (8 inn.)
In a game full of scoring opportunities, Penn State (8-5) waited until the eighth to finally push runners across home plate when Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) smashed an eventual game-winning two-run home run for PSU's 2-0 win at Kennesaw State. Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) threw all eight innings giving up just an unearned run in the eighth inning to win her fourth game of the year. The win was Penn State's fourth consecutive.
Both teams threatened to score early and often as each squad put runners on in three straight innings. PSU saw Bell advanced to third base in the first after a catcher's interference call and subsequent ground outs, but Penn State couldn't get a run across. Kennesaw State (13-6) had similar luck in the bottom half as Ashley Sikes tripled to lead off, but she was stranded by her teammates.
The Nittany Lions ultimately left six runners on the base paths, two of which game in the second inning when Lauren Rossi (Yardley, Pa.) and Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) earned a two-out walk and single, respectively, Rossi to third on an error. Kennesaw State's Amanda Henderson got out of the jam with a long fly out.
KSU opened the second when Bianca Durant reached by an error, earning second base when the ball went into the dugout. She would move to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Hill would strikeout the next two Owl batters and get out of the inning.
PSU would again get a lead-off runner on when Bell laced a double and moved to third on a Yao ground out. Henderson worked her way around the next two batters to strand Bell at third. Kennesaw State countered with a one-out walk before a two-out walk put two runners on the bags. Hill induced a weak grounder to first from Sharon Swandon to end any chance of an Owl run.
Hill and Henderson each tossed perfect innings n the fourth before PSU looked to score in the fifth, but the Nittany Lions would again leave Bell on the base paths. KSU did the same in the bottom half of the inning. Penn State countered with another runner left on base in the sixth after Danee Collett (Rogersville, Tenn.) got on board with a single.
Back-to-back 1-2-3 half-innings brought up the Owls looking for the game-winning walk-off run. Catcher Morgan Chapman singled with two outs, but the designated player, Cat Tarvin, grounded to Yao ending the inning.
The international tiebreaker rule went into effect for the eighth inning, Penn State's second extra-inning affair of 2011 as Mary Ostman (Northbrook, Ill.) was placed on second base. Four pitches later, Bell hit her second homer of the year to give Penn State a crucial 2-0 lead.
Hill shut down the first two Kennesaw State batters in the bottom of the eighth and was one strike from a complete game shutout, but Ashlee Burkett singled home a run to cut the lead in half. Hill got a long fly ball out from Swanson to end the game.
The win improved Penn State to 2-0 all-time against Kennesaw State and up the Nittany Lions' record to 4-0 on its Spring Break trip in Georgia.
GEORGIA TECH 2, PENN STATE 0
Another pitcher's duel saw Hope Rush of Georgia Tech (13-4) do it all, throwing a one-hitter and knocking a solo home run in the fourth inning as Penn State fell, 2-0, in the second game of a split doubleheader. The Nittany Lion offense struggled to get going, managing just three hits on the evening.
Penn State (8-6) opened the game optimistically with Yao reaching safely thanks to a Georgia Tech error by the shortstop. Yao would gain safe passage to second on a ground out, but a fly out got Rush out of the jam. Penn State would get another runner on board when Ostman singled with one away in the third, but she would be left stranded at first.
PSU's only other scoring opportunity came in the fifth when starting pitcher Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) walked on a full count. Pinch-runner Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) would move to second on a sacrifice bunt by Renwick for the first out of the inning. Rush again found a way out of the predicament with a strikeout and a grounder to keep Georgia Tech ahead, 1-0.
Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Akamine would each register singles in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, but neither got into scoring position and Penn State would be shut out for the sixth time this season.
Georgia Tech added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Shannon Bear knocked a home run in the identical spot as Rush's for a 2-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets scratched five hits to PSU's three. Rush picked up the win with her five-inning effort, allowing a lone hit and two walks, while striking out three. Kristen Adkins picked up the save, her second on the year.
The hard luck loser was Akamine who pitched six strong innings of five-hit ball, giving up just the two solo home runs. She junior hurler struck out five and gave up only two walks, but her record dropped to 3-3
Penn State and Georgia Tech played the game at Kennesaw State's Bailey Park because of scheduling and weather issues during the Buzz Classic in Woodstock, Ga. on Sunday afternoon. Ultimately, Georgia Tech agreed to drive up to Kennesaw and meet the Nittany Lions to make the game up. PSU competes in Georgia Tech's SpringHill Suites Buckhead Classic starting Friday at Mewborn Field.
The Nittany Lions are expected to return to the diamond tomorrow for two more games in Alabama against Florida State (2 p.m. ET) and Auburn (5 p.m. ET). Rain is in the forecast for much of the American Southeast, so check GoPSUsports.com for updates on weather and the games' status. If both games are on, they will have live stats and commentary on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PSULionSoftball).