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April 13, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A strong showing through the first four innings was not enough for the Penn State softball team on Sunday afternoon as the Nittany Lions dropped an 8-7 decision to Indiana in eight innings, snapping a six-game winning streak. Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) and Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J. continued their impressive weekend at the plate with two hits each while Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) also contributed a pair of hits for the Blue and White.
Penn State (12-23, 5-7 Big Ten) was outhit by Indiana (12-29-1, 4-10 Big Ten) 13 to11, including a 7 to 2 mark in the final four innings. After going 2-for-3 on the weekend, PSU moves to 27-33 vs. the Hoosiers all-time.
Hatfield closed out her weekend with a 2-for-3 performance at the dish, driving in three runs and scoring one on a single and a double. The senior's double counts as her 12th of the year and moves her into an eight-way tie for the No. 9 spot in Penn State's single-season record books.
Knief also registered a single and a double, going 2-for-4 on the day with one run, while Miller posted a 2-for-4 effort, scoring twice and bringing in one runner with a pair of base hits.
Kassi Farmer led the charge for IU's offensive strike, going 4-for-5 with five RBI and one run. Breanna Saucedo also performed well for Indiana, posting three hits while Brianna Meyer and Kelsey Dotson added two apiece.
Indiana took an early lead in the first inning, posting three runs on two hits. Meyer opened the frame with a single through the left side but was out on the next play as Saucedo reached on fielder's choice. Michelle Huber drew a walk from Christy Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and Farmer sent a three-run homer over the center field wall to put the Hoosiers ahead 3-0 before a Jenna Abraham groundout ended the inning.
The Nittany Lions responded with a four-run effort in the top of the second to gain the lead. Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk and was pushed to second after a Miller single up the middle. Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt and Knief loaded up the bases after being intentionally walked by IU's Brooke Boetjer. Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) followed with another walk to bring in Maegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii), who pinch ran for Habitz, and Hatfield delivered a three-RBI double off the left center wall to give Penn State a 4-3 advantage.
PSU kept Indiana off the board in the bottom half of the second and extended its lead in the third with two more runs. Another leadoff walk put Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) on first and the sophomore headed to second after a sac bunt from Habitz. Miller stepped up to the plate next and sent Jones home with a single up the middle. A Presto single to shortstop and a single through the right side from Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.) drove in Miller for the second run of the frame, putting the score at 6-3.
The Hoosiers momentarily cut Penn State's lead to two in the bottom of the third, adding one run. Freshman CaraMira Tsirigos would be the one provide the run as she led off with a solo shot over left center field. Farmer tacked on a single to right field but her efforts fell short as Jones, who entered as pitcher in the previous inning, struck out two before forcing a Dotson groundout to end the frame.
The Blue and White returned the lead to three runs in the next inning, posting their final run of the contest. Hatfield started the frame with a single to right field and advanced to second on a fielding error by IU's right fielder. A sac bunt from Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) moved Hatfield to third and Jones earned the RBI with a single to center to bring the score to 7-4.
Indiana pulled within one with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Abraham and Huber on a double from Dotson, and tallied the tying run in the bottom of the sixth on a Farmer single to left field.
The Nittany Lions managed to shut Indiana down in the seventh but were unable to add to the score in the top of the eighth. Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.), who entered the circle at the end of the fifth, walked IU's leadoff hitter, Meyer, to set the stage for the Hoosier offense. Saucedo followed with an infield bunt and Tsirigos reached on a fielder's choice, which took Meyer out of the game. Farmer would then add her final RBI on a single to center to score Saucedo and give Indiana an 8-7 victory.
Penn State returns to Happy Valley for a midweek doubleheader with Bucknell on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions and the Bison square off at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.