Penn State Plates Nine in a Thrilling Upset of No. 12 Arizona
March 14, 2009
FULLERTON, Calif. - The Penn State softball team claimed a thrilling 9-6 victory over No. 12 Arizona on the third day of the Judi Garman Classic. The Nittany Lions are now 9-10 on the season while the Wildcats drop to 25-6. Top performers were senior center fielder Sam Hovanec (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and sophomore shortstop Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J.) who each blasted three-run homers.
Arizona struck first in the top of the first as Brittany Lastrapes got a leadoff triple and later scored on a wild pitch, but the Lions minimized the damage with a fly out and a ground out. Penn State was in good scoring position in its half of the inning as senior first baseman Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) reached on a walk and advanced to second on an Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) single. Senior second baseman Kayce Zielinski (Arlington, Texas) then flied out to right field as Kinley moved on to third. With two outs, Hovanec stepped up to the plate and launched a three-run shot over the left field wall. This was her second three-run home run in two weeks as she mimicked her hit from the Illinois State game on March 7. Freshman right fielder Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) then stepped into the box to face her big sister Sarah and ripped a single up the middle before Jennifer Martinez took S. Akamine's place in the circle. Giordano followed with a single to deep left field as pinch runner Carnie Smith (New Wilmington, Pa.) advanced to second. With two outs, freshman designated player Ellen McNair (Niceville, Fla.) struck out swinging, but made it to first on a passed ball. A throwing error by the catcher allowed Smith to cross the plate making the score 4-1 in favor of the Nittany Lions before a caught steal ended the inning.
The Wildcats scored again in the third as Kristen Arriola was plated on a Lini Koria single to left field with two outs. Victoria Kemp then took a pitch to the ankle to load the bases, but Penn State remained composed as Laine Roth grounded out to short.
Penn State extended its lead in the fourth as senior third baseman Shana Madura (Slate Hill, N.Y.) doubled to deep left field and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Griffith. Zielinski followed with a double down the right field line to score Madura before the Wildcat battery intentionally walked Hovanec. The Lions were retired on a fly out in foul territory.
Arizona answered in the top of the fifth as the nation's RBI leader, Stacie Chambers, homered over center field scoring Sam Banister in the process. The next three batters were retired with two fly outs and a strike out. Penn State had a chance to score as freshman catcher Danee Collett (Orange, Calif.) doubled and advanced to third on a passed ball, but the inning ended on a fly out in foul territory.
In the sixth, Kinley singled and worked her way around to third with a sac bunt from Griffith and a ground out from Zielinski. With two outs, Hovanec was intentionally walked for the second time as Akamine singled to plate Kinley. Giordano then followed with a three-run blast of her own over the left center wall giving the Lions a nice cushion heading into the seventh with a five run lead.
History repeated itself as the Wildcats were in the meat of their lineup. With one out and one on Chambers homered for the second time before Koria struck out looking and Penn State sealed the victory with a fly out.
The Lions scored their nine runs off 13 hits and committed no errors. L. Akamine was credited the win to become 4-5 in the circle while S. Akamine took the loss to become 13-4.
Penn State will wrap up the Judi Garman Classic tomorrow at Noon ET with a rematch against Nebraska.