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May 1, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. --Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) shut down the powerful Boilermaker offense, but Penn State couldn't solve Purdue's Suzie Rzegocki as an odd Sunday at Beard Field ended in a 0-0, eight-inning tie. The Nittany Lions and Boilers withstood a three hour, thirty-eight minute rain delay in the third inning as zeroes went across the board. Purdue had to leave Happy Valley in a hurry to catch its flight home.
The tale of the game was the fantastic performance of Akamine, who threw a one-hitter along with nine strikeouts. The junior righty gave up only two walks as she baffled one Boilermaker after another. Her counterpart, Rzegocki, went eight full allowing two hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts and a hit batter on the afternoon.
The only Purdue base runner to make it into scoring position was lead-off batter Molly Garst in the first as she stole second following a walk. Garst would get thrown out at third by catcher Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) to thwart the Boiler attack.
Consecutive Penn State (24-21-1, 6-7-1 Big Ten) outs would take place until a Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) two-out walk was wiped out to end the second. Purdue's (28-14-2, 6-5-1 Big Ten) Ashley Courtney grounded out to third when the skies opened up and a steady rain began to fall over Nittany Lion Softball Park. What was originally thought to be a one-hour delay ballooned to over three when the question of whether the game would even be finished took place. Ultimately, a break in the weather allowed crews to clear the tarp, work on the field and get the game rolling again.
The opening batter was Lauren Grant as she ripped a one-out single to left, but two straight strikeouts from Akamine ended the Boilermaker opportunity. Rzegocki and Akamine followed with perfect innings before Akamine flashed her bat, knocking an opposite field lead-off double to open the fourth. Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) followed with a walk before a double play wiped out pinch-runner Mary Ostman (Northbrook, Ill.) and advanced fellow pinch-runner Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) to second. A hard grounder to short on the following play got Rzegocki out of the jam.
More zeroes went on the board as another hit wouldn't be recorded until the bottom of the eighth, the final declared inning of play. Lauren Rossi (Yardley, Pa.) knocked a single to center before a Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) fielder's choice saw Rossi forced out at second, but an error moved Bell over an extra bag. Akamine had a chance to play hero, but her grounder to second was successfully corralled and the ballgame was called at 5:40 p.m. Purdue had to leave the field to University Park Airport for a 7:00 p.m. flight.
The Nittany Lions' record moved to 22-17-1 all-time against Purdue avoiding a loss for the third straight time in the series. The tie was Penn State's first since a Feb. 22, 1998 game at Texas A&M that ended 4-4 in eight innings. Moreover, the tie was PSU's first in Big Ten play and Purdue's second this year along following its 4-4 tie at Valparaiso. The only other tie in Nittany Lion softball history was a 15-15 draw against Wilscon on May 13, 1967, the program's ninth game ever.
Penn State will be off during finals week on campus and return to the diamond on Saturday for a 7:00 p.m. ET matchup at Iowa. The two-game series wraps up at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday for a game that will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Fans who can't attend can follow the Nittany Lions through GameTracker as well as on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PSULionSoftball) for commentary and analysis.