Softball Opens 2010 Season at Hotel Encanto Invitational in New Mexico
Feb. 11, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- The Nittany Lion softball team embarks on its 2010 season opening tournament Friday against UTEP (2 p.m. ET) and Colorado State (9 p.m. ET) at the Hotel Encanto Invitational in Las Cruces, N.M.
Gametracker will be used for live stats at all the games this weekend as will the commentary feature hosted by Gametracker to give fans an inside look on all the games. Also, check out the Nittany Lion softball Twitter feed (@PSULionSoftball) for an inside look on all the team's travels this season.
At the Hotel Encanto Invitational (Las Cruces, N.M.)
The Nittany Lions open their 46th season of play
UTEP MINERS (0-0)
UTEP went 27-29-1 last season en route to a seventh-place finish (8-12-1) in the Conference USA regular season. Despite the losing record, UTEP was one game short of reaching the NCAA Tournament as the Miners blazed their way to the finals of the CUSA Tournament. UTEP returns six starters and all their pitchers from last season.
COLORADO STATE RAMS (0-0)
Colorado State went 26-25 last season en route to a tied for third-place finish (7-8) in the Mountain West Conference regular season. CSU returns seven starters and three of their four pitchers from last season as the Rams only lost three letterwinners from 2009.
NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES (0-0)
Host team New Mexico State went 33-21 last season en route to a fifth-place finish (12-8) in the Western Athletic Conference regular season. NMSU returns 10 of 16 letterwinners including seven starters and two pitchers from 2009.
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO ROADRUNNERS (0-0)
UTSA, out of the Southland Conference, went 29-29 in 2009 wiht an 18-11 conference record, good for third. The Roadrunners lost just one starter from a year ago and return 14 members of last year's team including all four pitchers.
NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (0-0)
Big 12 Conference squad Nebraska earned another NCAA Regional appearance last season behind the strength of a 35-19 record. After finishing fifth (9-9) in the conference, the 2010 Husker squad has just four starters from last year's squad, but four of its five top pitchers.
CLOSING IN ON 400: Head coach Robin Petrini currently sits at 395 wins all-time in her career, all 13 years of which have been at the helm of Penn State. Petrini needs just five wins to reach 400. Already the all-time leading coach in wins at Penn State, Petrini has also led the squad to more NCAA appearances (seven) in her 13 years than the program had (two) before her arrival.
SEASON OPENERS: The Nittany Lions are looking for their 18th win in the season-opening 46th game in the program's history. The Lions are 17-28 all-time and 3-10 under head coach Robin Petrini. Penn State looks to snap a seven-game skid, which dates back to a 6-0 win over St. John's in 2002. Last year the Lions fell to first-time opponent Wagner, 1-0, in Arizona. This season, Penn State takes on another team it has never faced, UTEP.
FIRST TIME MEETINGS: UTEP is the first of seven first-time opponents the Lions will face in 2010. The other teams Penn State will see for the first time in program history are Florida Gulf Coast (3/5), Florida International (3/6), Kennesaw State (3/14), Middle Tennessee State (3/13), Morehead State (2/28), and Stony Brook (3/12).
GRIFFITH HAS CLASS: Senior outfielder Ashley Griffith is one of just 30 NCAA softball student-athletes to be named a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award candidate. The award is "An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in SchoolTM, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: classroom, community, character and competition." Additionally, Griffith is one of just five Big Ten softball student-athletes to be a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award candidate.
ALL-BIG TEN RETURNERS: The Nittany Lions return two 2009 All-Big Ten performers, Ashley Griffith (Second Team) and Lisa Akamine (Third Team) to the fold. In addition to those two, Penn State also sees Jackie Hill, a 2008 All-Region selection, as its leading pitcher.
TEAM COMPOSITION: All told, Penn State sees 11 Lions back on the squad from 2009, while welcoming in seven newcomers. Five starters will return to their normal positions, while four spots are up for grabs entering this weekend's tournament.
FALL BALL SUCCESS: The Nittany Lions had an impressive fall season as they welcomed their newcomers to the fold. Penn State went 5-1, including a back-to-back doubleheader sweeps in the Nittany Lion Fall Tournament, beating Virginia Tech (3-2), Iona (5-0), NCAA Division II Champ Lock Haven (4-2) and Saint Francis (2-0). In the Iona game, Lisa Akamine fanned 14 batters and was two outs away from a no-hit bid. Prior to the tournament, the Lions played a doubleheader against local rival Bucknell. Jackie Hill tossed a no-hitter to give Penn State a 1-0 victory in game one, while Akamine allowed just one earned run in a 2-1 eight-inning loss in the nightcap.
LION ALUM KINLEY PLAYS NPF: Former All-American and 2009 Alum Danielle Kinley made her debut with the Philadelphia Force this past summer as a starting first-baseman. The former Nittany Lion had 17 hits, seven RBI, three doubles and a homer during her rookie campaign.
PSULIONSOFTBALL ON TWITTER: Nittany Lion softball is now on Twitter. Keep up to date with inside information and exclusive access @PSULionSoftball.