Softball Upsets No. 6 Washington at the NFCA Leadoff Classic
COLUMBUS, Ga., Feb. 22, 2002 The Nittany Lion softball team upset No. 6 Washington in the first game of the prestigious NFCA Leadoff Classic on Friday afternoon at the South Commons Stadium and Complex in Columbus, Ga. It is Penn State¡¯s first-ever victory over a top-10 team under head coach Robin Petrini.
The Nittany Lions (3-3) struck first right away taking a 3-0 lead over the Huskies (14-4) in the first inning. Junior Jackie Dabrowski (Lafayette Hill, Pa./Whitemarsh Plymouth) reached on an error by Washington¡¯s first baseman allowing senior Gina Bianchini (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove) to score from third base, giving Penn State a 1-0 lead. Junior Megan Humphrey¡¯s (San Diego, Calif./Mount Carmel) hit was just beyond second base bag and was enough to score two more Penn State runs, swelling the early lead to 3-0.
In the top of the second inning, Washington threatened to score, putting a runner on first and third with just one out. The Huskies¡¯ Kristen Rivera was caught in a run down on the third-base line when she and teammate Nicole Wicks attempted a double steal, but sophomore catcher Erica Greenberg (Irvine, Calif./Calvary Chapel) tagged out both runners at third base to end the threat.
In the top of the third inning, the Huskies again put the Nittany Lions on their heels, loading the bases with just two one out. But Penn State was able to get out of the jam on the strength of solid pitching from sophomore Marisa Hanson (Victoria, Texas/Victoria), forcing a lineout and a ground out to end the inning.
Penn State held its 3-0 lead until the fifth inning when three key Washington hits tied the ball game, 3-3. Rivera¡¯s two-out double to left field tacked on two more Husky runs after Washington scored earlier in the inning, making the score, 3-3.
The Lions, however, reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning, grabbing a 4-3 edge. Senior Jennifer Tripken (Middletown, N.Y./Minisink Valley) led off the inning with a double to right field. Junior Erin Norton¡¯s (Orange, Calif./El Modena) clutch single up the middle to scored Tripken for the eventual go-ahead run.
Freshman Missy Beseres (Golden Valley, Minnesota/Robbinsdale Armstrong) retired the last six batters in order in the sixth and seventh inning to claim the win. Beseres, who came into the game in relief, limited the Huskies to two hits in the final three innings and earned the victory.
Tripken and Humphrey each had solid outings, going 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Lions to the win. Tripken also scored twice in the game and Humphrey drove in two runs.
Penn State was outhit in the game, 8-7, but two crucial UW errors gave the Lions the edge they needed for the win.
Penn State is back in action tonight at the NFCA Leadoff Classic when it takes on Boston University at 7:30 p.m. The Lions will then play Fresno State tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 23, at 12:30 p.m.