Comeback Nittany Lions Earn Split with Ohio State
May 11, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State softball team again proved to be the cardiac kids storming back from a three-run deficit to win in extra innings and split with Ohio State on Friday at Beard Field. OSU took the opener 5-2 and led by the same score in the nightcap, but Kasie Hatfield's (Tampa, Fla.) second home run of the game tied it up in the bottom of the seventh inning. Alicia Walker (Los Alamitos, Calif.) singled home Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.) from second base for the game winner as PSU walked off with a 6-5 victory.
Bell went 4-for-8 in the doubleheader with a double and three singles scoring twice in the nightcap to raise her season average to .415, which is atop the PSU single-season chart with one game remaining. Bell sits three percentage points ahead of Nan Sichler (.412, 1988).
Hatfield became the ninth Nittany Lion to ever hit two home runs in a game as she notched her fourth and fifth dingers of the season to cap a four-RBI night. Walker was impressive going 3-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Penn State (18-31, 9-14 Big Ten) and Ohio State (30-23, 9-13 Big Ten) return to Beard Field for the season finale and Senior Day on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Head football coach Bill O'Brien will throw out the first pitch and PSU celebrates the careers of its five graduating seniors.
In the early going two errors led to a 1-1 ball game through four innings. Ohio State captured the lead in the second inning as Megan Coletta sent a single to rightfield and Walker's throw was offline and not cut off allowing Shelby Pickett to score from second base.
Walker atoned for her miscue by tying the game on an OSU fielding error by second baseman Melaina Sallfeld on Alyssa Sovereign's (La Canada, Calif.) chopper. Walker led off with a single to shortstop and stole second, scoring on the error as the ball went into rightfield.
Ohio State broke the game open when shortstop slugger Alicia Herron hit an opposite field two-run home run for a 3-1 lead. The Buckeyes added another run when Danielle LeBeau doubled home Shelby Pickett. The Buckeyes made it 5-1 when Evelyn Carrillo singled home Herron after a double in the sixth inning.
The Nittany Lions rallied in the sixth by loading the bases with two outs. Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) earned a full-count walk to score Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.). OSU starter Mikayla Endicott got out of the jam with a strikeout. Endicott tossed a two-hitter without an earned run allowed and three walks, striking out seven batters.
Her counterpart, Akamine, allowed 13 hits, four earned runs in a complete-game effort while striking out seven Buckeyes. Akamine moved into a tie for fourth all-time at PSU with her 52nd career complete game. Endicott improved to 18-13, while Akamine dropped to 11-19.
Down 5-2, Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.) hit her team-leading 10th double of the year to score Walker after the freshman rightfielder was hit by a pitch to open the seventh inning. On a 2-2 pitch, Hatfield crushed her second home run of the game to straightaway centerfield to tie the game at five.
In the eighth inning, starter Jordan Wheatley (Troy, Mich.) allowed a two-out triple and was lifted in favor of Akamine to pitch to Taylor Watkins. Akamine induced a soft liner to shortstop capping Watkins's 0-for-5 nightcap after going 2-for-4 off Akamine in the opener. Akamine would earn the victory as Walker hit a single to left-centerfield to score Bell from second base and win PSU's 10th game at Beard Field in 13 tries in 2012.
Hatfield smacked a one-out solo home run in the fourth inning, her fourth of the year to take an early 1-0 lead. Ohio State bounced back by scoring on a wild pitch. Leading up to the tying run, OSU's Brittany Mills tripled but was caught in a rundown on a fielder's choice. On the play Katie Simonton looked to take third but collided with Sovereign, injuring her ankle on the play, earning third base due to interference, allowing Caitlin Conrad to score on the ensuing wild pitch.
Penn State regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth as Bell scampered home on a two-out fielder's choice. Hatfield chopped a grounder to the reliever Endicott, who instead of tossing to first for the force, went home with the play as Bell scored underneath the tag. Endicott came in for Melanie Nichols who went four innings with four hits, two runs and three walks allowed while striking out four.
Ohio State responded in the top of the sixth when Megan Coletta hit a grand slam off the leftfield scoreboard. Wheatley walked two and allowed a one-out infield single to set up the Coletta home run, her fifth of the year, to give OSU a 5-2 lead.
Akamine earned the victory getting the seven-pitch out of Watkins, improving to 12-19. Endicott fell to 18-14 going three innings and allowing six hits, three earned runs, a walk and striking out four. Wheatley went 7.2 innings, a career-high outing, giving up six hits, five runs and six walks to go with one strikeout.
Saturday's season finale will be carried live on BTN.com with audio on 1390 AM WRSC and GoPSUsports.com. The game will also have GameTracker live stats with Twitter updates on @PSULionSoftball.