Penn State Overcomes Notre Dame in Extra Innings
March 12, 2009
FULLERTON, Calif. - In the first extra-inning game of the year, the Nittany Lions triumphed in a 1-0 victory over Notre Dame. Penn State improves to 8-8 while Notre Dame falls to 6-8. Junior shortstop Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J.) had a walk-off single in the eighth to score senior center fielder Sam Hovanec (Pittsburgh, Pa.) to win the game.
Innings went by quickly throughout the pitchers duel as each team went three and out for more than half the game. The no-hitter broke open in the top of the fifth when Alexa Maldonado fired a leadoff double to right center and advanced tto third on a sacrifice bunt by Katie Fleury. Senior second baseman Kayce Zielinski (Arlington, Texas) caught a low line drive for the second out while senior third baseman Shana Madura (Slate Hill, N.Y.) made a grab in foul territory to keep the Irish scoreless.
Notre Dame used a hard hit an an error in placing two on with no outs in the top of the sixth. The Nittany Lion infield remained solid as junior pitcher Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) connected with Giordano to take the lead runner. Immediately following, Madura placed her foot on third to get the force and fired to senior first baseman Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) to make the double-play ending the Irish scoring threat.
The Nittany Lions got on base for the second time in the bottom of the sixth as Giordano reached first on a walk. Sophomore Carnie Smith (New Wilmington, Pa.) came in to pinch run as junior designated player Kimi Wong (Goleta, Calif.) eliminated the no-hitter with a single through the right side. Freshman right fielder Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) reached on a fielder's choice as Smith was forced out at third before a strike out ended the inning.
The seventh inning was reminicent of most of the game as no one crossed for either team sending the game to extra innings. The international tie-breaker rule was in effect as the Irish placed Christine Ferrell on second base. Kristina Wright was hit by a pitch to take first with no outs, but the Nittany Lions held the Irish scoreless with a fielder's choice and two fly outs.
For Penn State's turn, Hovanec was placed on second base and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Zielinski. The Nittany Lions didn't need the extra two outs as Giordano connected for a single through the right side to score Hovanec and end the game.
Hill pitched a complete game shutout taking the win to become 5-5 in the circle.
Penn State will return to the diamond at 4 p.m. ET to face Texas.