Giordano's Walk-Off Homerun Highlights PSU's Split with Michigan State
April 27, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State University softball team (33-20, 6-10 Big Ten) took on the Michigan State University (26-25, 8-10 Big Ten) Spartans in the final home doubleheader of the season. The Spartans jumped out to an early series lead with a 6-0 victory in game one but PSU would not be denied as freshman Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J./Caldwell) made the most of her lone at bat on the day hitting a solo walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Nittany Lions a 4-3 win.
PSU struggled to get momentum going in game one as the team was held to just one hit, a single by junior Kayce Zielinski (Arlington, Texas/Kennedale). Three pitchers were called on to help slow down the MSU offense as senior Ashley Esparza (San Pedro, Calif./San Pedro) started the game going 2.1 innings before classmate Jenn Reynolds (Clovis, Calif./Clovis) pitched the next 3.0 innings followed by sophomore Kimi Wong (Goleta, Calif./Don Pueblos) who went the remaining 1.2 innings.
Esparza picked up the loss as she allowed just one run off of four hits. Reynolds had a strikeout and allowed a walk in her 3.0 innings while Wong held the Spartans hitless.
Game two saw both offenses working as the Nittany Lions tallied a total of six hits and four runs while the Spartans had nine hits and three runs.
PSU got on the board first as Esparza hit an RBI double to left center followed by a Sam Hovanec (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) RBI single. Zielinski followed with a two-out single that moved Hovanec to third. Head coach Robin Petrini signaled for a first-third steal play that resulted in Zielinski getting caught in a rundown that allowed Hovanec to score giving PSU a 3-0 advantage.
MSU responded with a run in the sixth and a pair of runs in the seventh to tie the game at 3-3. A substitution in the sixth to bring in Giordano at first resulted in her lone at bat in the bottom of the seventh inning and she made the most of it. With a 2-1 count the freshman hit a solo shot over the left field fence giving the Nittany Lions a 4-3 win and moving them one step closer to the Big Ten Tournament.
Leading the PSU bats was Zielinski who went 2-for-3 in game two while Esparza, Hovanec and Giordano each picked up an RBI. Esparza also picked up the win while pitching just one inning and allowing no runs off of one hit.
Redshirt freshman Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) got the start going 6.0 innings while striking out three and allowing two walks.
The Nittany Lions return to action Wednesday, April 30 at 4 p.m. as they travel to Akron, Ohio to take on the Zips of the University of Akron.