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April 29, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - It was a slugfest turned dogfight in East Lansing, Mich. and in the end, Penn State split the series with Michigan State taking game one, 6-3, before falling in the nightcap, 3-2. Penn State is now 18-24 overall and 6-10 in Big Ten play while Michigan State is 19-26 overall and 3-12 in conference. Senior first baseman Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) was hot tonight with two doubles to surpass the all-time record previously held by Ashley Esparza. Kinley now has 46 doubles in her career as a Nittany Lion.
In the first game, Penn State struck first in the top of the second when senior second baseman Kayce Zielinski (Arlington, Texas) singled up the middle. With two outs, junior shortstop Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J.) singled through the left side to advance Zielinski to second. Junior left fielder Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) followed as she reached first and moved around to second on a throwing error with allowed Zielinski to score as the Lions took a 1-0 lead. Michigan State answered in the bottom of the frame as Lauren Kramer homered over the left center wall. Ali Grant then took a pitch to the arm, but freshman catcher Danee Collett (Orange, Calif.) teamed up with Zielinski to get the steal and close the inning.
The Nittany Lions kept the momentum going in the third as Kinley and senior center fielder Sam Hovanec (Pittsburgh, Pa.) got back-to-back singles. Freshman designated player Ellen McNair (Niceville, Fla.) later walked to load the bases with two outs. Collett the delivered a single to left center as Kinley and Hovanec scored before the inning was retired on a ground out. One again, the Spartans responded in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Lindsey Hansen doubled to deep center field and later scored on a Gina Mondo single through the left side. But Penn State was able to minimize the damage with a fly out and held a 3-2 lead going into the fourth.
The hits just kept on coming for Penn State as Griffith led off with a single and junior pitcher Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) reached on a fielder's choice. Kinley the stepped up to the plate and fired a double down the left field line, her 45th career shot, making her the all-time doubles leader and scoring Hill in the process. But the dogfight continued as Kelly Confer got a home run of her own in the leadoff spot in the bottom of the frame. But Hill maintained her composure and fanned the next three batters in the order.
The fifth was scoreless, but not without a few defensive changes for the Lions. Freshman right fielder Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) relieved Hill of pitching duties, while Hill moved to first base. Kinley went to the outfield for the first time this season as she filled the void left by Akamine. With a Spartan on third and one out, Akamine wasted no time in striking out the next batter and then connected with Hill for a ground out to retire the inning.
Penn State kept it going in the top of the seventh as Akamine reached on a single to right field and worked her way around to third with a ground out and a wild pitch. A single by McNair to right field gave Akamine the go-ahead run. Mary Ostman (Northbrook, Ill.) came in to pinch run and scored on a Collett double with one out. The Lion defense was flawless in the bottom of the frame as Penn State cruised to a 6-3 victory.
Penn State scored six runs with 12 hits and left 10 on base while Michigan State scored three runs with four hits and left four stranded. Hill struck out six in her 13th win of the season while Akamine fanned two with her first save.
Kinley extended her numbers in the doubles category with a second shot in the sixth.
In the nightcap, the Spartans struck first and hard in the bottom of the first with runners on the corners and two outs. Then Jessica Bracamante hit a home run over center field to give Michigan State a 3-0 lead.
The Lions responded in the top of the third when Griffith singled up the middle and moved to second as Hill walked. With two outs, Hovanec singled through the right side to score Griffith, and Hill followed on a Zielinski single to close the gap, 3-2. The Spartans had two on with no outs in the bottom of the frame, but the Lions kept their cool as Akamine struck out two and freshman third baseman Ashley Todd (Mill Creek, Wash.) caught a pop fly to end Michigan State's at bat.
A pitcher's duel arose for the remainder of the game as the Spartans held on to win 3-2.
Penn State scored two runs with six hits and left six on base while Michigan State scored three runs with five hits and left seven stranded. Akamine struck out six in the loss to become 5-12 in the circle.
The Lions will return to the diamond for their final home series of the year when they face off with Indiana, Saturday at 4:05 p.m. The game will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.