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Nittany Lions Claim Doubleheader Sweep of Bucknell

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April 16, 2014

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(15-20, 7-5 Patriot League)

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University Park, Pa.. • Nittany Lion Softball park & Beard Field

(14-23, 5-7 B1G)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 16, 2014 - Freshman Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) posted a 5-for-6 performance at the plate on Wednesday evening to lead the Penn State softball team to a two-game sweep of Bucknell. The Lions took the Bison down 6-3 in game one before earning a 10-5 victory in the late game.

Miller went a perfect 3-for-3 with three singles in the first game before adding a triple and another base hit in game two. The Texas native drove in five total runs while scoring once. Sophomore Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) also turned in dominant performance for PSU, registering four hits with one RBI and three runs scored.

The Nittany Lions (14-23, 5-7 Big Ten) outhit the Bison (15-20, 7-5 Patriot League) by a count of 20-15 and recorded seven extra-base hits, including five triples. Two of the triples came from Knief, who now has six in 2014, while Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) also notched two, giving her three this year.

Freshman pitcher Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) earned the win in the early game, tying her season-high with six strikeouts while giving up just one walk in her eighth complete game to improve to 9-10 on the season. Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.) picked up her first win of the year in game two after striking out three opponents in 3.1 innings.

The Bison were led by the trio of Jacee Almond, Kristen Zahn and Cydnee Sanders. Almond led the team in hits, going 4-for-8 at the plate with three runs and an RBI while Zahn and Sanders registered three hits each.

The Nittany Lions used a balanced attack to defeat the Bison, 6-3, in the first game of the day, posting runs in all but one inning. Knief and Miller led the charge combining for five of the Lions’ nine hits.

Knief kicked things off the Penn State in the bottom of the first, sending a single to shortstop to set the table for Hatfield. The senior infielder stepped up and delivered a one-out triple down the right field line to score Knief and give Penn State a 1-0 lead before Bucknell pitcher Lara Bean retired two PSU hitters in a row to close out the frame.

The Nittany Lions slowly added to their lead over the next two innings, adding two more runs while Laubach kept the Bison off the board. Sophomore Karlie Habitz (Newhall, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk to open the bottom of the second and Miller followed with her first hit, a single up the middle, to move Habitz to second. Both runners advanced on a Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) groundout and junior Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.) brought in Habitz with a base hit to BU’s pitcher.

Jones crossed the plate in the third inning to extend PSU’s lead to 3-0. The sophomore reached on a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch from Bean and headed home after a Miller single to left field.

Bucknell posted its first run in the top of the fourth to cut Penn State’s lead to two. Zahn put the Bison on the board with a solo shot over the center field wall before Laubach forced a fly out and two groundouts to close the frame.

The Blue and White added one run on one hit in the bottom half of the fourth. Knief led off with a triple to center field and was driven in by a Reina Furuya (Waipahu, Hawaii) groundout to second base to put the score at 4-1.

The Bison tacked on another run in the top of the fifth, scoring Chaylen Andolino on a Zahn single to shortstop, and held the Lions scoreless for the first time in the bottom of the fifth.

Penn State responded by keeping Bucknell off the board in the sixth. The Lions further extended their lead later in the inning, posting two runs on three hits. Miller opened with another single up the middle and advanced on a Presto sac bunt. Walker then drew a walk and Knief pushed Miller across the plate with a base hit up the middle. Furuya added a single through the right side to push in Walker for the final PSU run of the game as BU pitcher Amanda Fazio retired two Lions in a row to end the inning.

Bucknell’s Almond took matters into her own hands in the top of the seventh, sending a one-out solo homer to center field. Her efforts fell short, however, as the final to Bison were retired by Laubach, giving PSU a 6-3 victory.

A strong start powered Penn State through the second game as the Nittany Lions distanced themselves from the Bison early on, resulting in a 10-5 win. Habitz posted a 3-for-4 effort in the second feature, tallying two singles and a double for three RBI and one run.

Knief gave PSU a promising start as she led off with her second triple of the night, sending the ball deep into left center. Furuya followed with a single to pitcher Dana Nielsen to bring Knief home and Hatfield sent Furuya across the plate with a triple to right center. Habitz then added a single to right field scoring Hatfield, but was out at second after Jones reached first on fielder’s choice. Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) stepped up to the plate next and shot a double to left center, driving in Jones, while a Miller base hit brought in the final run of the inning as Sovereign headed home.

The Nittany Lions pushed their lead to 9-0 in the bottom of the second, scoring four runs on two hits. Furuya drew a walk with two to go and moved to second after a Hatfield groundout to shortstop before being driven in by a Habitz double to left field. Jones and Sovereign took back-to-back walks to load the bases and set things up for Miller, who brought all three runners in as she sent a triple to left field.

The Bison followed with their first two runs of the game. Almond punched a single through the left side, advanced to second after a Mallory Lyons sac bunt and moved to third on a wild pitch from PSU pitcher Christy Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.). Sanders approached the plate next and put Bucknell on the board, ripping a double to left field to score Almond. Zahn then headed to first on a Von Pusch error, Cheyanna Young drew a walk and Mariah Midyette reached after a miscue by Hatfield, which also sent in Sanders.

Marissa Diescher (Livingston Manor, N.Y.) entered to pitch for Von Pusch and forced a double play on her fourth pitch as Jacklyn Tyburk hit the ball to Miller, who tagged Midyette and threw to Hatfield at first for out number three.

The Blue and White registered its final run in the third, scoring Furuya on a Habitz single to left field and putting the score at 10-2.

BU responded by adding their final three runs in the fourth. Andolino led off with a single to left and advanced to second after Courtney Conover was walked. Andolino would not reach third, however, after falling victim to fielder’s choice as Almond headed to first. Sanders notched a two-out double to drive in two more runs, scoring Carolyn Wan, who pinch ran for Conover, and Almond. Sanders then capitalized on a Diescher error, crossing the plate after the ball went between the pitcher’s legs to cut Penn State’s lead to five.

The Nittany Lions added one more hit and Bucknell tallied two but neither managed to cross the plate again as Penn State took a 10-5 triumph to sweep the Bison.

Penn State returns to Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field this weekend for a three-game series vs. Big Ten foe Wisconsin. The Lions and the Badgers open the series on Friday in a 6 p.m. matchup and continue play on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at Noon. Saturday’s twinbill will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network with Wayne Randazzo and Garland (Wiberly) Cooper on the call.




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