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April 9, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman pitcher Macy Jones allowed just one run and hit the two-run home run that put the Nittany Lions up for good on the way to a 4-1 victory over Saint Francis (Pa.) Tuesday night at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park in University Park, Pa.
Penn State (9-23, 1-7 Big Ten) heads to Pittsburgh, Pa., Wednesday for a doubleheader against the Panthers starting at 4 p.m. before continuing Big Ten play with a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State in a three-game series beginning at 6 p.m. Friday.
Jones (8-9) (Ashburn, Va.) struck out three batters and allowed one unearned run on five hits to the Red Flash (16-16, 1-3 NEC). The Nittany Lions scored three of their four runs on long balls, including a record-tying shot in the first inning by senior Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.). Jones finished the game just a single short of the cycle after producing a double, triple and home run. Rookie Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) contributed a pair of hits while recording one RBI with a single in the sixth. Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) doubled to lead off the scoring in the same inning. Ketarah Devries (11-10) picked up the loss for Saint Francis with four runs given up on seven hits.
Bell didn't waste any time changing the record books Tuesday as her solo home run in the first gave her 16 on the season, tying the program's single-season mark set by Jennifer Tripken in 2002. She now trails Shannon Salsburg, the program's all-time leader, by just one with 33 career home runs. Jones followed the home run with a triple but two quick outs stranded her at third, ending the inning.
St. Francis tied the game in the third frame. After Jones struck out Davina Kachnovitz for the second time, Taylor Parsons walked on a full count, stole second base and scored on a throwing error with two outs in the inning. Karlie Miller followed the error with a base hit, allowing Blattenberger to advance to third on the play but the runners were stranded on the corners when Misty Hammel, who pinch ran for Miller, was called out after leaving first base early.
The Nittany Lions quickly regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning. After an intentional walk to Bell, her 10th of the season, Jones smacked a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left-center field to put Penn State up, 3-1. It was the second-consecutive game in which Bell was intentionally walked and the next batter homered to bring her in. Lauren Yao's (Los Angeles, Calif.) hit scored them both on a two-run home run in the finale against Indiana.
Both teams exchanged singles in the fourth inning but neither could convert. In the fifth, Jones sent down the side in order before notching her third hit of the game, a double just fair down the first-base line.
The Nittany Lions added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth after Johnson doubled to right center with two outs and Habitz singled on a line drive through the left side, scoring pinch runner Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.).
Bell has now recorded a hit in 27 of 32 games this season and reached safely in 15-consecutive games. Jones and Habitz tallied their fifth and fourth multiple-hit games of their careers, respectively.