Hill Shuts Down Pitt in Doubleheader Split
March 29, 2011
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Nittany Lions inaugurated another ballpark on Tuesday as Penn State split a doubleheader with Pittsburgh at Vartabedian Field. PSU fell 2-1 in the first game before taking a 2-0 decision in the second game where Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) tossed a shutout and tied the school record for most all-time wins.
PITTSBURGH 2, PENN STATE 1
Pittsburgh got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning when Kelly Hmiel doubled to left bringing home Ashley Amistade from second base. Amistade had reached base earlier in the inning on a Nittany Lion error, the second of the game.
Penn State fought back in the top of the fifth inning when PSU played some small ball following a Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) single. Rachel Myers (Millheim, Pa.) would pinch-run for Hatfield, eventually advancing to third on subsequent ground outs bringing up Bell. The sophomore slugger drove her home with a single to left field, her fourth-straight game with a hit, to tie the game at one.
Pitcher Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) was locked in a pitcher's duel with Pitt's Cory Berliner as the two hurlers allowed 10 hits and two earned runs between them. Akamine gave up six of those hits including the double to Tutt that won the game. She ended the afternoon with six strikeouts and three walks allowed in her six innings of work, while Berliner struck out four, walked two and gave up four hits.
PENN STATE 2, PITTSBURGH 0
For five innings, Pittsburgh's Karlyn Jones got the best of the Nittany Lions, tossing nothing but zeroes and retiring the first 16 batters in a row. Nevertheless, Penn State's offense arrived for one inning as Bell ripped a two-run home run with two outs in the top of the sixth inning for the decisive runs in a 2-0 victory over Pittsburgh.
Penn State (16-12, 2-0 Big Ten) earned the opportunity to beat the Panthers when Lauren Rossi (Yardley, Pa.) safely secured first base on a throwing error with one out in the sixth inning. Bell came up with two outs on the board and knocked a 2-2 pitch over the rightfield wall to give Hill all the runs she would need for a shutout. Bell accounted for all three of Penn State's RBI on Tuesday as the sophomore slugger is on a six-game hitting streak.
Hill (10-6) earned her fifth shutout of the season while also moving to 53-40 all-time at Penn State. The 53 wins tie the all-time mark for the Blue and White matching hurler Missy Beseres (2003-06). The redshirt-senior was stellar in the circle fanning a career-high 12 in the historic win while allowing only four hits and walked none. Hill's previous career-high for strikeouts was 11 achieved twice before, the last coming in a 10-inning win over South Florida (Mar. 8, 2010). Hill is only seven strikeouts away from moving into second all-time at PSU in the category. Ashley Esparza sits in second with 593.
The Nittany Lions and Panthers split the series for the second straight year and in similar fashion as PSU took the nightcap of the two games each time. The series record currently sits at 10-4 all-time.
Penn State returns to the diamond for a 3:00 p.m. ET start at Illinois on Saturday in Urbana, Ill. The two-game Big Ten series concludes Sunday for a Noon ET game. The matchups will have live stats coverage through GameTracker as well as commentary and analysis on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PSULionSoftball).