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March 25, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Nittany Lion softball team fell short of the No. 20 Michigan Wolverines, 6-0, on Sunday at Alumni Field. Danee Collett (Rogersville, Tenn.) and Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) tallied Penn State's two singles on the afternoon.
Michigan (21-9, 3-0 Big Ten) struck first in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with no outs. Despite a one-run, one-out single to left, starter Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) buckled down, striking out the next two batters, keeping Penn State within one run.
Penn State's (7-18, 0-3 Big Ten) best opportunity came in the top of the third when Collett led off with a single, reaching second on a Bell grounder to first, but Collett was left there.
The Wolverines doubled the lead the next inning on an Amanda Chidester bloop single down the rightfield line scoring Bree Evans from second base. Akamine again settled in to get two big strikeouts, ending the bases loaded threat.
The Nittany Lions hit the ball well all day, but many liners were right at Michigan fielders. This was the case in the sixth when pinch-hitter Morgan Long (Oro Valley, Ariz.) lined to deep centerfield before Bell singled. A tough call by the umpire on Akamine's grounder to the mound forced Bell at second and Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) lifted a warning-track fly ball to leftfield to end the half-inning.
Michigan went on to score two more in the fifth on a Nicole Sappingfield double and two more in the sixth on a Amy Knapp two-out home run. A lead-off error led to the homer, making both runs unearned to Akamine, who went six full with four runs against and scattering 13 hits. She worked out of multiple jams, leaving 13 Wolverines on base during the afternoon. Akamine struck out seven Michigan batters, while walking four others.
Akamine's counterpart, Haylie Akamine went seven innings in the shutout, allowing two hits, one walk and striking out five. Wagner went 3-0 this weekend against the Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions will finish its 28-game sojourn to start the season next week at Purdue for a three-game set. Penn State and the Boilers square off Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for a doubleheader before wrapping things up on Sunday for the series finale. Penn State then opens its home slate on Tuesday, Apr. 3 against Pittsburgh at 3:00 p.m.