Lions Surge Past Michigan State in Saturday Sweep
April 7, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State softball team slugged its way past Michigan State in a doubleheader sweep at Beard Field on Saturday afternoon. The Nittany Lions (10-22, 2-6 Big Ten) tallied 22 hits including three home runs to down the Spartans (11-25, 0-8 Big Ten). Penn State won the opener 4-3 before winning the nightcap 11-5.
Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) led the charge with five base hits including a perfect 4-for-4 game two, while junior Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) celebrated her birthday with a massive three-run bomb that capped a three-hit nightcap. Hatfield's four-hit output in the second game is a new career-high and the first four-hit showing since Ashley Griffith pulled off the feat vs. Maryland (Apr. 23, 2009).
"I thought we hit the ball well and that we showed a lot of fight and character," Head coach Robin Petrini said." We came from behind in both games and I thought in all phases of game that we did a pretty nice job today."
Long's RBI single came with no outs and cut the lead to 3-2 Michigan State before starter Cassee Layne induced a bases loaded liner for the first out. Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) then walked to force the tying run in. MSU reliever Shelby Wise came in and walked in the game-winning run as Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) took four straight balls before Wise was lifted in favor of Carly Nielsen.
Penn State found itself down 3-0 as pinch-hitter Sarah Bowling lifted a two-out pitch over the left-centerfield wall to put the Spartans ahead. Bowling went 1-for-1 with three RBI and four walks in the doubleheader to lead Michigan State.
After Penn State's four-run outburst, the Spartans looked for the tying run in the fifth, loading the bases on two singles and a walk, but starter Marissa Diescher (Livingston Manor, N.Y.) buckled down and got a fly out to center to end the threat. Diescher (4-5) won her second straight complete game allowing 10 hits, two walks, while striking out three Spartans. Diescher worked in and out of traffic all day, stranding 11 Spartans on the base paths in the opener.
Her starting counterpart Layne went 3.1 innings allowing six hits, three earned runs and two walks with two strikeouts, while Layne took the loss. Nielson pitched 2.2 innings with three Ks.
Penn State's four-run second inning opened with Hatfield's RBI double to leftfield scoring Yao as Presto moved to third base after her one-out single. Bell then crushed a pitch over the centerfield wall for her third home run of the year, giving PSU a 4-3 lead.
The scoring continued in the third inning against MSU starter Nielsen. The Lions would bat around as Yao celebrated her 21st birthday in grand fashion, smashing a three-run home run for a 7-3 lead. Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) tacked on another run with a single to centerfield to score Presto from third for an 8-3 advantage, forcing Nielsen from the game. Her line read two innings pitched, 10 hits, eight earned runs and no strikeouts.
The Nittany Lions added a ninth run in the fourth as Yao scored on an RBI single by Hatfield with two outs. Michigan State tallied two scores in the top of the fifth on an error in leftfield and a one-out RBI single. Relief pitcher Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) settled down and got two of her season-high 12 strikeouts to end the scoring opportunity. Akamine (6-15) threw six innings allowing three hits, three walks, and an earned run.
Penn State provided more insurance in the bottom half with Sovereign's fourth dinger of the year. She hit the homer off Wise to score Renwick and increase the lead to six at 11-5. Sovereign went 2-for-4 in the second game. Wise departed the game with 2.1 innings of work, four hits and three earned runs with no strikeouts.
The Nittany Lions garnered a season-high 16 hits, the most since the 16-hit tally against Morehead State (11-0, 5 inn.) on Feb. 28, 2010. The 11 runs were the most since that ball game as well.
Penn State improved to 26-22 all-time against Michigan State and won three-straight games for the first time since Mar. 2-4 when the Lions won four straight.
Penn State wraps up the three-game series with Michigan State on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The matchup will be broadcast live on GoPSUsports.com All-Access audio with a radio broadcast on 1390 AM WRSC in the State College area.GoPSUsports.com is also the home to live stats on GameTracker, while updates will be provided Twitter (@PSULionSoftball) and Facebook (PennStateSoftball).