Nittany Lions Face Challenging Schedule in Sunny San Diego at Campbell/Cartier Classic
Feb. 18, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Penn State flies out west for the second straight week as the Nittany Lions participate in the 20th Annual Campbell/Cartier Classic hosted by San Diego State. PSU opens play on Friday against Western Kentucky (5 p.m. ET) and UC Santa Barbara (7:30 p.m. ET). The Lions also will face Utah State (Sat., 1:15 p.m. ET), San Diego State (Sat., 10:30 p.m. ET) and No. 1 Washington (Sun., 1:15 p.m. ET)
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS 3-2
At the 20th Annual Campbell/Cartier Classic
WESTERN KENTUCKY (1-2)
Friday, Feb. 19, 5:00 p.m. ET Gametracker
SCOUTING THE HILLTOPPERS: Western Kentucky, a 35-19 team a year ago, began the season 1-2 at the South Alabama Tournament, losing to Samford (3-0) and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (1-0), while beating Central Arkansas (4-3). The pitching has been solid for the Hilltoppers, allowing just three earned runs (1.35 ERA), but the defense and hitting has let the pitching staff down. WKU mustered just four runs and one extra-base hit in three games and committed six errors, which led to four unearned runs.
UC SANTA BARBARA (4-3)
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS: UCSB sprinted out to a 4-1 record, dropping only a 13-3 run-rule game to BYU, while beating Northern Colorado (6-4), Tulsa (3-1), Maine (3-2) and host Utah Valley State (4-3) in the Red Desert Classic last weekend. UCSB played UCLA in a doubleheader tuneup to this weekend's games, getting swept by the Bruins, 14-0 and 11-1. Despite allowing opponents to hit .302 in the first weekend, the pitching staff has been solid behind Lindsey Correa (1-0, 2.57 ERA in Utah) and MeLinda Matsumoto (2-0, 5.27 ERA in Utah). Wednesday night's doubleheader shot the duo's ERA to 5.44 and 6.41 respectively. In the batter's box, Kelly McDonald has been an early season threat hitting .318 with a homer and six RBI, while Kelsey Anderson leads the team in batting (.375) with a homer and four RBI
UTAH STATE (4-1)
SCOUTING THE AGGIES: Utah State also jumped out to a 4-1 record at the Red Desert Classic. They are just six wins away from matching last year's win total of 10 after beating Maine 7-5, Idaho State 9-0 (5 inn.), Northern Colorado (7-3) and Seattle (4-3), while dropping an 8-1 game to Tulsa. Utah State is Penn State head coach Robin Petrini's alma mater, graduating in 1983 after winning two AIAW Championships in softball during her time at USU.
SAN DIEGO STATE (5-1)
SCOUTING THE AZTECS: Host San Diego State was just seven innings away from a perfect 6-0 start to its season, but errors cost the Aztecs in a 6-1 loss to Texas Tech at the Kajikawa Classic in Arizona. Before that SDSU defeated Creighton (5-3), Kentucky (4-0), Purdue (7-6, 10 inn.), Southern Utah (9-4), and Oregon (4-3, 8 inn.). Ace Samantha Beasley has led the Aztecs, postin a 4-0 record, throwing 22.1 innings, allowing just 10 hits and one earned run, completing two games, one for a shutout.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES: Certain to be the biggest challenge of the weekend, No. 1 Washington enters this weekend with a perfect 5-0 mark after beating Auburn (5-0), Ohio (4-3), Nevada (8-0, 6 inn.), CS Northridge (10-5) and Notre Dame (5-0). The defending National Champions, Washington is led by All-American and Women's College World Series MVP Danielle Lawrie, who is 3-0 in four appearances and has yet to give up a run. Batters are hitting a paltry .061 this season. Her running mate, Baily Harris, is 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA, while Jenn Salling is a force in the batter's box, hitting .500 with two homers and six RBI. Lawrie herself already has four homers and nine RBI in 15 at-bats with a .400 average.
LAST TIME OUT: The Nittany Lions got off to a roaring start at the Hotel Encanto Invitational last weekend with a 12-3 run-rule win over UTEP and a thrilling late-night come from behind 9-8 win over Colorado State to open Friday. The two wins on opening day was the first 2-0 start to a season since 1997 for Penn State. The next day, PSU lost a back-and-forth slugfest, 10-9, to host New Mexico State. The following game, PSU got up early on UTSA, and cruised to an 8-4 win. On Sunday, Penn State dropped another back-and-forth game, surrendering a sixth-inning lead to Nebraska in an 11-6 loss. Penn State finished third in the Hotel Encanto Invitational standings, behind NMSU (4-1) and Nebraska (3-2).
HOTEL ENCANTO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Sophomore catcher Danee Colett earned mention on the 2010 Hotel Encanto Invitational All-Tournament Team. Collett hit a team-high .471 for the weekend with eight hits, one homer and a double, while driving in seven RBI. For the weekend she got on base at a clip of .500 and slugged .706 while posting a nearly flawless performance on behind the plate (40 putouts, zero errors, one passed ball).
CLOSING IN ON 400: Head coach Robin Petrini currently sits at 398 wins all-time in her career, all 13-plus years of which have been at the helm of Penn State. Petrini needs just two wins this weekend to reach the 400-win milestone. 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.
BOMBS OVER LAS CRUCES: Homers weren't hard to come by in the thin air of Las Cruces (Elevation 4,300 feet), in total, 43 home runs were hit by the six teams in the tournament. Penn State alone hit 10 homers and scored 44 runs. To put that in perspective, the Nittany Lions hit 20 homers all of last year and scored 145 runs, 30 percent of the team's total from a 46-game schedule in 2009. Also, the team "only" hit for seven doubles and a triple. Desi Giordano and Kailyn Johnson led the team with two dingers apiece, while Mary Ostman, Danielle Noll, Jackie Hill, Alyssa Renwick and Johnson smashed their first collegiate homers. Kimi Wong hit her second-career homer vs. Nebraska. As a team, the squad hit .324 at the plate, while reaching safely at a .423 clip and slugging .604.
FIRST TIME MEETINGS: Western Kentucky is the second of eight first-time opponents the Lions will face in 2010. PSU defeated UTEP 12-3 (5 inn.) to open the season. 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.
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NEXT TIME OUT: Penn State travels south to Greenville, N.C. for the ECU Pirate Classic on Saturday, Feb. 27 and Sunday, Feb. 28. There, the Nittany Lions will take on Towson (Sat. at 10 a.m.), Delaware (Sat. at Noon), Morehead State (Sun. at 9 a.m.) and host East Carolina (Sun. at 11 a.m.).