Softball Falls to Pacific, 2-1, and Boise State, 1-0
March 20, 2011
FULLERTON, Calif. - Penn State softball capped its time in California with two losses to Pacific and Boise State on Saturday. PSU fell to the Tigers, 2-1, in eight-inning fashion before dropping a night game to the Broncos, 1-0.
PACIFIC 2, PENN STATE 1 (8 inn.)
In the circle, redshirt senior Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) kept the Tigers at bay despite struggling with her command by walking five and hitting three others. While Hill toed around the fire, Pacific (14-9) put together a rally in the bottom of the seventh. After a lead-off walk, Pacific sacrificed Rivera to second before a walk and an infield single loaded the bases. Hill struck out Megan Foglesong, putting Penn State one out away from its third straight victory. It wasn't meant to be, however, as Nicole Matson earned her second safe passage of the game when she was hit in the leg, forcing home the tying run.
After a scoreless top of the eighth for the Lions, Pacific successfully sacrificed the tiebreaker runner at second to third to open its half of the inning. Following a popup to short, a hard grounder to third slipped off the glove of Ashley Todd (Mill Creek, Wash.) as Pacific took home the 2-1 come-from-behind victory. The loss was PSU's first in which it held a lead after six innings as the Nittany Lions were 12-0 going into that game.
Hill picked up the loss to drop her record to 8-6 with just a lone earned run against while striking out four. Her counterpart, Nikki Armagost, won her sixth game of the season giving up a single earned run, three hits and five walks, while striking out six Nittany Lions.
BOISE STATE 1, PENN STATE 0 The Nittany Lions had issues solving starting Boise State pitcher Aubray Zell, but a late-game controversial call doomed Penn State's chances as the Broncos won the first ever meeting, 1-0.
With Penn State (13-11) down 1-0 in the top of the sixth and two runners on first, Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) chopped a ball to second base where BSU's Kellie Caplan bobbled the grounder. There the controversy began as it looked like Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) would score from second on the error, but the first base umpire ruled Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) interfered with Caplan, ending the Penn State's chances to equalize, much to the Blue and White's consternation.
Boise State (15-9) got on the board in the third inning when the Broncos loaded the bases on a single, error and a walk with one out on the board. Following an infield fly, Vanessa Alvarez earned ball four on a close pitch that scored a run.
Before the sixth, Penn State's best scoring opportunity came in the top of the fifth inning when Sovereign singled and Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) reached on an error. Both runners would move up a base on a passed ball before Zell induced a hard grounder to second by pinch-hitter Morgan Long (Oro Valley, Ariz.) to continue the shutout.
Zell's line read a complete game shutout with three hits against and six strikeouts while walking none. Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) picked up the loss with a two-hit performance, not allowing an earned run and walking five, but striking out six.
The Nittany Lions wrapped up its time in Southern California with a 2-3 record including Friday's impressive 5-2 victory over No. 9 Oklahoma where PSU registered as season-high 13 hits. On Thursday, Penn State knocked off perennial NCAA Tournament team Fresno State, 1-0.
Penn State returns home to Happy Valley and its brand new, $10.2 million Nittany Lion Softball Park to face Buffalo at Beard Field on Thursday. Game time for the doubleheader is set for 4:00 p.m. Both matchups will have live stats coverage through GameTracker as well as commentary and analysis on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PSULionSoftball).