Lions Tripped Up in Eight against South Carolina, 4-3
March 10, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Six innings of scoreless pitching from Macy Jones and runs batted in from Cassidy Bell, Karlie Habitz and Taylor Abeyta helped Penn State draw back to tie the game and force an extra inning against South Carolina, but the Gamecocks put up the winning run in the top of the eighth to claim a 4-3 victory Sunday afternoon in the finale of the South Florida Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Fla. The Nittany Lions (6-12) clawed back from a 3-0 deficit against South Carolina (15-5) in the first frame with a pair of runs in the third and one in the fifth to tie the game at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.
Penn State next travels to Fullerton, Calif., for the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal-State Fullerton. There the squad will face Arizona, Texas, Washington, DePaul and Oklahoma. The Nittany Lions open the tournament at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday against the Wildcats.
Jones (Ashburn, Va.) tossed seven innings without allowing an earned run and struck out two while giving up just six hits. She was also one of five Nittany Lions with a hit, joining Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Abeyta (San Diego, Calif.) with one while Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) and Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) notched two hits apiece.
After the Gamecocks put up three runs on a trio of hits to open the contest, Penn State responded with two of their own in the bottom of the third. Singles from Renwick and Jones put runners on the corners and an intentional walk of Bell loaded the bases for Karlie Habitz' (Newhall, Calif.) sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Renwick. Abeyta followed up with a single up the middle to bring Jones home and set the score at 3-2 in favor of USC.
Following a quiet fourth frame, Bell knotted the game at three apiece with a solo home run over the fence in left center. The HR, her 10th of the season, gives her 25 RBI in 2013. The Nittany Lions loaded the bases again in the bottom of the seventh with singles by Renwick and Knief and Bell's second intentional walk of the day, but could not bring any runs around, sending the game to extra innings.
Starting the top of the eighth with Alaynie Page at second base, the Gamecocks grabbed the lead with a single from Dana Hathorn and a sacrifice fly to left field from Kristen Struett. Katie Marks (6-2), who earned the win with three innings of work, struck out a pair of Nittany Lions and forced a fly out in the bottom of the eighth to secure the win for South Carolina.