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March 17, 2012
FULLERTON, Calif. - Another fine effort for Nittany Lion softball fell short against a top ten team as No. 7 Oklahoma defeated Penn State, 6-1, on Friday night at the Judi Garman Classic. PSU took the Sooners to a 1-1 tie into the top of the sixth before OU pulled away with three home runs. Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) belted her second home run of the year in the upset effort as Penn State (7-15) tried to upend the ranked Sooners for a second straight year. Last season, PSU beat then-ranked No. 9 Oklahoma, 5-2, in the very same tournament.
Oklahoma (24-3) struck first, gathering a one-out bases loaded walk for a 1-0 lead after an error. Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) came in and induced a lineout to shortstop, ending the threat and keeping Oklahoma from stretching the lead.
Akamine went on to leave the bases loaded again in the third inning before the Nittany Lions evened the score in the fourth. Johnson lifted a lead-off, 1-0 pitch over the right-centerfield wall to tie the game at one, her second home run of the year. That forced righty Kirsten Allen from the ballgame, bringing in All-American Keilani Ricketts in relief against Penn State.
Johnson went 2-for-3 on the day for the Nittany Lions, while freshman Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.) garnered PSU's third hit, a single to center.
After a scoreless fifth, Oklahoma returned fire in the form of pinch-hitter Katie Norris. Norris took a 1-2 pitch just inside the leftfield pole for a two-run shot and a 3-1 Oklahoma lead.
In the seventh, the Sooners added another home run, this time a solo shot by Jessica Shults, to make it a 4-1 game. Two batters later, Georgia Casey extended the lead to 6-1 on a two-run home run.
Akamine went 5.1 innings allowing five runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out five Sooners. Oklahoma out-hit Penn State 7-3 and both teams committed one error apiece. OU improved to 3-1 all-time against the Nittany Lions on the softball diamond.
Penn State is scheduled to play Fresno State and BYU on Saturday at the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton. Heavy rain is in the forecast for Saturday, should there be any schedule changes check GoPSUsports.com for updates. Penn State softball's official Facebook (PennStateSoftball) and Twitter (@PSULionSoftball) will also post updates concerning the weather.