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April 21, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Less than 24 hours after combining to score 31 runs, Northwestern grabbed a 2-1 victory in a pitching duel against Penn State softball Sunday at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park. The Nittany Lions (11-30, 2-14 Big Ten) struck first with a home run from Reina Furuya in the third, but the Wildcats (25-16, 9-5 Big Ten) earned the win with back-to-back one-run frames in the fourth and fifth.
Penn State returns to action at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Nittany Lion Softball Park for a doubleheader against Kent State. The Lions then head to Iowa City, Iowa, for a three-game series against Iowa beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.
Furuya homered for the second time in two games against Northwestern after sending out a three-run blast Saturday night. Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.), Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) each singled once for Penn State Sunday.
Junior hurler Jordan Wheatley (Troy, Mich.) threw her second complete game of the season, allowing just two earned runs while scattering nine hits and striking out three Wildcats. NU's Amy Letourneau earned the win after giving up one run on four hits in a complete-game effort against the Lions.
The Penn State offense took advantage of eight walks from Letourneau to put runners on base in six frames but left the bags loaded three times. Along with Bell's three walks, Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.), Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) each reached first on balls once while Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) walked twice.
Bell drew a walk to open the game for Penn State before stealing second for her third of the series. With one out, Johnson and Sovereign both walked on full counts but the Nittany Lions could not push any of them across the plate. In the bottom of the second, Yao struck the first hit of the game for PSU with a single down the left line before being replaced at first by freshman Maegan Tupinio (Wahiawa, Hawaii). Tupinio moved into scoring position after Bell drew her second walk of the game but a fielder's choice ended the frame in the next at-bat.
In the third, Furuya put Penn State in the lead after stroking a 1-0 pitch past the scoreboard in left field. The Wildcats knotted the score at one apiece in the fourth after Fran Strub scored from second on Anna Edwards' single to left. Edwards struck again with an RBI in the fifth to put NU up, 2-1, after Penn State stranded a full deck in the bottom of the fourth.
In the sixth, Hutchinson reached safely on a fielding error by the NU shortstop before Bell was hit by a pitch and Jones walked to load the bases for the third time of the afternoon. However, Letourneau once again worked out of the jam with a strikeout to end the frame.
Northwestern threatened to extend the lead in the seventh with runners on first and second but a smooth double play from Yao, who stepped on third for the force out before firing to Johnson at first, and a diving catch in right center from Bell kept the deficit at just one run.
Sovereign opened the bottom of the seventh with a walk after fouling off a pair of offerings but was erased on a fielder's choice from Furuya. Hatfield followed with a single over the infield to center to move the tying run to scoring position at second, but a pop up and a fielder's choice at third ended the comeback attempt for the Nittany Lions.
Bell reached base a team-best 13 times over the series against the Wildcats with nine walks, a pair of hits and two hit-by-pitch appearances while swiping three bases and scoring four times. Sovereign led the Blue and White with six hits, including a pair of doubles. She was also one of three Lions to finish the weekend with multiple RBI with three, while Furuya led with five and Johnson produced four. Hutchinson and Johnson both tallied four hits, followed by Hatfield with three.