Softball Wins First Game of the Season on Final Day of Stanford Invitational
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STANFORD, Calif., February 16, 2003 - A pinch hit triple from sophomore Steph Viola (Minersville, PA./Minersville) and an RBI-single by classmate Mandy Nuxoll (Kelso, Wash./Kelso) in the top of the seventh inning led the Penn State softball team to a come-from-behind victory over Missouri, 3-2, on the final day of the Stanford Invitational on Sunday morning at the Smith Family Stadium, as the Nittany Lions win their first game of the season ending a four-game losing streak.
Two hits and an error led to a Penn State (1-4) run and a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Tiger pitcher Kent mishandled a ground ball hit by Nuxoll, allowing her to reach base on the error. Senior Gina Bianchini (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove) beat out a bunt and Nuxoll advanced to third when the Tiger defense made the attempt at first and threw the ball away. A walk to senior Megan Humphrey (San Diego, Calif./Mount Carmel) loaded the bases for freshman Destinie Chavez (San Leandrol, Calif./San Leandro) who got an infield single to score Nuxoll. The RBI is Chavez's first of her career.
Missouri responded in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring two runs to take a 2-1 advantage. The Tigers scored both runs with two outs, as the Lions had trouble closing out the inning. Jeni Schellert was hit by a pitch and was awarded first base. Then a Penn State error and an infield hit by Joanne Loethen scored Schellert to tie the game, 1-1. Missouri took the lead on the very next play when Daisy Mettlach hit a line drive to left field scoring Kendra Power from second.
In her first at bat of the season, sophomore Steph Viola (Minersville, Pa./Minersville) rocketed a line-drive triple to right field to score senior Kelley Galigher (Pleasanton, Calif./Foothill) who led off the seventh inning with a double, tying the game at 2-2. An infield single by Nuxoll scored Viola for the eventual go-ahead run.
The Tigers, however, rallied to put the tying run on second and the winning run on first, but sophomore Tina Skelly (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) recorded her only strikeout in one and one third innings of work to end the game.
Skelly came into the game in the sixth inning and earned her first win of the season. Junior Marisa Hanson (Victoria, Texas/Victoria) limited the Tigers to three hits and struck out five batters in the first five and two thirds innings.
Bianchini had her best outing of the tournament, going 3-for-4. Five different Nittany Lions recorded hits, outhitting the Tigers, 7-4. Nuxoll was 1-for-4 in the game and hit a team-high .412 over the five games of the tournament, going 7-for-17.
Missouri had defeated the Lions in the first game of the tournament on Feb. 14, 3-1.
Penn State will be off until the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Feb. 28-Mar. 1. The Nittany Lions are scheduled to play Texas-Arlington, Kansas and Alabama.