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April 18, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Penn State resumed Big Ten play with a double header at Minnesota this afternoon and split the series. The Nittany Lions took game one, 1-0, and fell in the night cap, 1-0, in eight innings. Penn State is now 16-20 overall and 5-7 in the Big Ten Conference while Minnesota is 22-25 overall and 5-7 in conference play. Junior pitcher Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) fanned 15 Gophers on the day while senior first baseman Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) hit a solo home run in the first game to propel the Lions to victory.
The first game was a pitcher's duel between two of the top hurlers in the Big Ten Conference with Briana Hassett of Minnesota and Hill of Penn State. Minimal hits were offered and multiple batters were struck out as the game remained scoreless until the top of the sixth.
Kinley led off the sixth with a towering home run over center field, her second of the season and 11th of her career, for the first and only score of the game.
In the 1-0 victory, Penn State scored one run off two hits and left three on base while Minnesota had four hits and left three runners on base. Hill struck out seven as three went down looking to take the win becoming 11-6 in the circle while collecting her sixth shutout of the season.
In the night cap the Lions had to tame a much more determined Gopher squad. In the bottom of the third with two outs, Colleen Conway singled with a bunt and moved around to third on a single to right field by Sammie Howard. Malisa Barnes the walked to load the bases, but Kinley made a catch in foul territory to retire the inning.
The next four innings went by smoothly as neither team had more than four plate appearances before they were retired to leave the game scoreless. With one on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh Howard got a good piece of the pitch, but senior center fielder Sam Hovanec (Pittsburgh, Pa.) made the catch sending the game to extra innings.
Senior third baseman Shana Madura (Slate Hill, N.Y.) walked to lead off the eighth and advanced to second on a passed ball. Madura then moved around to third as Kinley grounded out to second base. Junior left fielder Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) then reached on a fielder's choice as Madura was held at third. With runners on the corners Griffith easily stole second, but the inning ended on a pop fly and a strike out.
Penn State handled the next two outs fairly easily with a ground out to short and a line drive to Hill. Heidi Carls then singled to right center and Chonquita Jones came in to pinch run. Jones narrowly beat the throw as she stole second. Katie Dalen then hit a shot to left field that landed just shy of Griffith as Jones once again beat the throw at home while Minnesota took the game 1-0.
Minnesota scored one run with seven hits while leaving eight on base as Penn State had three hits and left nine on base. Hill fanned eight in the loss as three went down looking to become 11-7 in the circle.
Penn State will return to the diamond Wednesday, April 22 for a double header at Maryland to begin at 4 p.m.