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April 12, 2014
(11-29-1, 3-10 B1G)
Bloomington, Ind.. • Andy Mohr Field
(12-22, 5-6 B1G)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.; April 12, 2014 - The Penn State softball team (12-22, 5-6 Big Ten) extended its winning streak to six games on Saturday as a pair of runs in the top of the fifth propelled the Nittany Lions to a 2-1 victory over Indiana (11-29-1, 3-10 Big Ten). Senior Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) and sophomore Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) paced the PSU offense, contributing all four the team's hits.
The victory gives the Blue and White their fifth conference triumph of the year, which matches PSU's number of Big Ten wins from a season ago. The six-game run is the longest for PSU since the 2008 season.
Sophomore Christy Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) collected her second win of year and freshman Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) notched her first save as a Nittany Lion while junior Marissa Diescher (Livingston Manor, N.Y.) also contributed in the circle for Penn State.
After an excellent outing on Friday, Hatfield returned to the field and posted a 2-for-4 effort at the plate, including the game-winning two-RBI single, for her 10th multi-hit performance of the season. Knief also went 2-for-4 at the dish, extending her hitting streak to seven-straight games, and scored one run.
After three and a half scoreless innings, Indiana broke the drought in the bottom of the fourth, notching one run on three hits. CaraMira Tsirigos led off with a single to right field, bringing Alyssa Rosati into the game to pinch run. A Shelby Gogreve sac bunt pushed Rosati to second and the sophomore attempted to steal third in the following at-bat but was caught as Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) and Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) got the out.
Erin Lehman stepped up next and kept the inning alive for the Hoosiers as she punched a single up the middle to set the table for Brianna Meyer, who delivered with a two-out double on a 1-1 count to push Lehman across the plate and give IU a 1-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions responded in the following frame, posting their only two runs of the contest. Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.) was the first Lion to reach base in the fifth, taking a pitch to the knee with one out remaining. Knief registered her second hit of the day next with a single down the left field line, advancing to second on the throw and pushing Walker to third. Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) then loaded the bases for the Lions as the second PSU player to get hit by one of Lora Olson's pitches.
IU pitcher Brooke Boetjer entered the circle for the next at-bat but the pitching change did not prove immediately effective for the Hoosiers as Hatfield followed with a two-RBI single up the middle to send Walker and Knief across the plate. Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) reloaded the bases for Penn State but the Lions were unable to capitalize as Boetjer retired Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) for out number three.
Indiana attempted to rally in the sixth as Kelsey Dotson and Shelby Gogreve produced a pair of hits. Dotson led off with a single to second base and Gogreve added a one-out single up the middle but the Hoosiers failed to bring the runners in as PSU retired two consecutive hitters.
IU tacked on one more hit in the final frame but the Hoosiers' efforts fell short, giving Penn State a 2-1 victory.
The Nittany Lions and the Hoosiers return for the final game of the series on Sunday. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Andy Mohr Field.