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March 16, 2014
Clearwater, Fla. Eddie C. Moore Complex
CLEARWATER, Fla.; March 16, 2014 - Freshman Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) posted a 2-for-3 effort with her first collegiate double and sophomore Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) registered her third triple of the season but their efforts fell short as the Penn State softball team was downed by No. 12 Baylor, 8-1, in the final day of the Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament on Sunday.
The Nittany Lions (6-15) could not match Baylor’s (22-4) offense as the Bears posted 12 hits to PSU’s five. BU pitcher Heather Stearns was a major factor in the defeat, doling out nine strikeouts while allowing no walks.
Kaitlyn Thumann, a junior for the Bears, had a perfect outing at the plate, turning in a 4-for-4 effort with a double, three singles and an RBI. The Katy, Texas product scored half of BU’s runs, crossing the plate a career-high four times.
Penn State came out of the gate hot as Knief led off with a triple to left center. Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) drove in the Ramsey, N.J. native with a groundout to shortstop and gave the Lions an early 1-0 lead.
It did not take long for the momentum to swing in Baylor’s favor, however, as the Bear’s posted two runs in the first frame. Thumann started things off with a single through the left side and advanced to second after Ari Hawkins was hit by a pitch from PSU’s Marissa Diescher (Livingston Manor, N.Y.). Both runners advanced on a groundout from Linsey Hays and Thumann scored on a Clare Hosack groundout to second base. Hawkins crossed the plate next, coming in on a Holly Holl single through the left side to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.
Baylor added to its lead in the second inning as Thumann scored her second run of the day. The junior singled through the right side to get on base and was brought in by a Hawkins triple to right center, putting the count at 3-1.
The Nittany Lions kept BU off the board in the third but the Bears were back at it an inning later, notching two additional runs. Christy Lisenby reached on an error by Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii), advanced to second on a groundout from Justine Young and scored as Thumann singled through the left side, advanced on the throw and reached third on an error by Furuya. A Hays single sent Thumann home and brought the score to 5-1.
Baylor’s next run came in the fifth. Holl ripped a double to left field and moved to third on another Furuya error. Young drove in Holl with a single to left field to give the Bears a five-run advantage. BU turned in two more runs in the sixth. Thumann punched a double to center field and was driven in by a Hawkins single through the left side while Hawkins scored on a Hosack double to left center.
The Lions failed to rally in thier final turn at the dish, going down in order as they fell to Baylor, 8-1, in the first-ever matchup between the two programs.
With the non-conference tournament season over, the Blue and White will now prepare for Big Ten action. PSU opens conference play at home next Friday, hosting Purdue for the 2014 home-opener. The three-game series begins on Friday at 6 p.m. at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field. The Lions and the Boilermakers are also slated to play on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.