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May 11, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Penn State softball team swept Ohio State 10-2 and 4-3 (9 innings) in a doubleheader on Wednesday night at muggy Buckeye Field. PSU crushed the Buckeyes in the opener before coming back from a two-run deficit to take the nightcap, completing a historic sweep of OSU, the first in Columbus. Penn State improves to 27-22-1, 9-8-1 in the Big Ten, while Ohio State falls to 14-35 overall with a 3-15 mark in Big Ten play.
PENN STATE 10, OHIO STATE 2
Penn State got off to a rousing start when Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) slapped a 1-1 pitch over the leftfield wall for a quick 1-0 lead. The homer was Bell's second to lead off a game, the other coming in a 5-2 victory over then-No. 9 Oklahoma.
The Penn State offensive attack would continue in the second as Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif) led off with a double to leftfield. Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) singled Yao home to double the lead. In the third inning, the Nittany Lions added another run when Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) raced home from second on an RBI single to center.
Meanwhile, in the circle, Hill retired 12 of the first 13 Buckeyes, a lone triple by slugger Alicia Herron in the first that was lost in the sun in rightfield. Hill's strong start included four strikeouts in the first two innings. She ran into trouble in the fifth when Dee Dee Hillman doubled home two runs with the bases loaded as the lead shrank to one at 3-2.
Hill responded immediately, helping herself once again as she ripped her second RBI double of the game when Yao scored and Hill advanced to second on the throw. Yao led the inning off with a double, her third consecutive hit of the game. Hill came around to score two batters later on a Danee Collett (Rogersville, Tenn.) pinch-hit single to center for a 5-2 PSU margin. Alyssa Renwick (Renwick, S.C.) re-entered the game following the Collett pinch-hitting appearance.
Bell walked before the two runners moved over a base on a Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) grounder for the second out of the inning. Ohio State elected to give Johnson a free pass to first base, but the plan backfired when Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.) was hit in the back to drive home another run. Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) took advantage of the bases loaded opportunity and singled to centefield, scoring two more Penn State runs and push the lead to 8-2. In summation, the Nittany Lions scored five times on four hits and stranded two in the sixth inning.
The Nittany Lions added two more in the seventh inning as Renwick rounded third to score on a two-out infield single by Akamine. Johnson gathered her first RBI of the day with a single to left that scored Bell for the final 10-2 scoreline. The 10 runs represent the most scored by Penn State in a single game this season.
Penn State collected 12 hits in the opener led by Yao's 3-for-4, two-double effort. Hill and Johnson each went 2-for-3 as Hill knocked in two RBI. Sovereign matched Hill in the RBI department with two of her own. Nine different Nittany Lions tallied hits.
Hill went the distance with six hits allowed, giving up two runs while striking out eight and walking none to improve her record to 15-12. The redshirt-senior matched her single-season high for wins, which she accomplished in 2008. As Penn State's career leader in wins, Hill has 58 for the Blue and White. The victory also snapped PSU's five-game skid to the Buckeyes with the last victory coming in 2007.
PENN STATE 4, OHIO STATE 3 (9 innings)
Penn State needed a sacrifice fly by Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.) in the ninth inning to score Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.) and complete a comeback over Ohio State, 4-3. OSU took a 3-1 lead in the third before Penn State sent the game to extra innings.
The Nittany Lions opened the nightcap in similar fashion as the opener with a first-inning run. Akamine reached third on a single, error and a passed ball before Johnson walked on four pitches. Mary Ostman (Northbrook, Ill.) came in to pinch run for Johnson as PSU successfully pulled off the double steal as the throw home was off the mark to get Akamine.
Ohio State got on the board in the bottom of the third with a huge two-RBI double by Herron. Akamine worked herself into a jam allowing singles to Karisa Medrano and Melaina Saalfeld, the second with two outs prior to Herron's double. Evelyn Carrillo laced a single up the middle to double the lead at 3-1 in favor of Ohio State.
Penn State looked to respond in the fourth as Yao put a one-out single to center to start a rally. Yao would reach third on a wild pitch as Morgan Long (Oro Valley, Ariz.) struck out on a ball in the dirt. Collett would come up to pinch hit and get drilled on the opening offering as Lauren Rossi (Yardley, Pa.) came back in to run. The Nittany Lions conducted its second successful double steal of the evening when Yao trotted home when the ball was thrown to second as Rossi broke. PSU couldn't get anything else out of the inning as OSU maintained a one-run lead.
The Nittany Lions mounted a two-out rally the following inning as Sovereign singled up the middle to score Johnson from second. Johnson walked before Hatfield singled to left setting up the Sovereign RBI single.
Penn State left runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings, but Renwick was stranded on second and Bell on first in the sixth, while Sovereign's two-out double was wasted in the seventh. The double was Sovereign's ninth of the season.
Following a scoreless eighth where Hill avoided damage, stranding two Buckeyes, Hutchinson walked and Johnson doubled her to third. Hatfield ripped a shot down the leftfield line that looked to stay fair, but hooked foul at the last moment. Hatfield would be the first to get out in the ninth with a liner to second. Sovereign flew out to leftfield as Hutchinson hustled home to give Penn State a 4-3 lead.
Hill made the lead hold up as she won her second decision of the day to up her record to 16-12, a new single-season record for the righty hurler. Hill went five innings with five hits allowed and two strikeouts to go along with one walk. She didn't allow a run in the second game as she compiled 12 innings total on Wednesday night with just two earned runs against. Her ERA was 1.17 between the two contests with 11 hits allowed and 10 total strikeouts.
The doubleheader sweep was Penn State's first in Columbus in school history as well as it being the first sweep since 2006 at Nittany Lion Field. Additionally, it was the first series win for PSU in Columbus since 1980 when Pat McTarsney's squad took two out of three on Apr. 26-27.
Bell went 2-for-5 in the nightcap to backup her three-run performance in the opener. Sovereign went 2-for-3 in the second game as she tallied both of Penn State's RBI. PSU was out-hit 10-9 in game two, while committing two errors to the Buckeye's one.
Penn State hit .309 on Wednesday while slugging .426 with five doubles and a homer. Between both games, Hill went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI; Yao hit 4-for-8 with three runs scored and two doubles and one RBI; Sovereign batted 3-for-6 with a double and a team-high four RBI; Johnson went 3-for-6 with three runs scored, two doubles and an RBI; Bell had a 3-for-8 evening with three runs and a homer; Akamine tallied two hits with a run scored and an RBI. Akamine went four innings in game two with five hits, two earned runs and two walks allowed while striking out three.
Penn State closes out its regular season at home with a two-game set against Northwestern starting Friday at 5:00 p.m. The regular season finale at Beard Field will commence at 1:00 p.m. as Penn State will celebrate Senior Day prior to the contest. Fans can follow the Nittany Lions through GameTracker as well as on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PSULionSoftball) for commentary and analysis. Both games will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com.