Penn State Falls in a Close One to No. 10 Northwestern, 5-3
March 28, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In the Nittany Lions' home opener against No. 10 Northwestern, Penn State kept it close, but fell in a 5-3 decision. Penn State is now 9-15 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten Conference while Northwestern improves to 17-7 overall and 3-0 in Big Ten play. Top performers for Penn State were senior center fielder Sam Hovanec (Pittsburgh, Pa.) who went 3-for-4 and sophomore shortstop Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J.) who hit her 13th career home run to become ninth all-time.
The Nittany Lions drew the first blood scoring in the top of the third. Senior first baseman Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) reached on a fielder's choice and worked her way to third via a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) and a single by Kayce Zielinski (Arlington, Texas). With two outs, Hovanec singled up the middle for her first hit of the game as Kinley crossed the plate.
The Wildcats responded in the fourth as four were plated with two home runs. Robin Thompson was on first after taking a pitch to the side and scored with an Adrienne Monka shot. Later Michelle Batts reached on a single and came around with a long ball by Erin Dyer.
The Lions kept it scoreless in the fifth, but Northwestern would score once more as Tammy Williams got a leadoff homer in the top of the sixth.
Down, but not out, the Lions got to work in the bottom of the seventh. Zielinski got things started by reaching first on an error. With two outs, Giordano stepped up to the plate and launched a shot well over the left field fence scoring Zielinski in the process to bring the score to 5-3. This was her 13th career home run and brings her to ninth all-time in the Penn State record book. Unfortunately, the game ended with a strike out.
The Lions had scoring opportunities with two on in the first, fourth and fifth, but had difficulty placing hits and ended up leaving nine runners on base.
Freshman hurler Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) threw another great game for the Nittany Lions with no walks en route to striking out eight batters. Despite the performance, she took the loss to become 4-8 in the circle. Reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Lauren Delaney struck out eight with two walks and took the win becoming 16-6 from the rubber.
Penn State will return to Nittany Lion Field tomorrow at 11 a.m. to close out the Northwestern series.