Penn State Softball Falls to Boston U in Extra Innings

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COLUMBUS, Ga., Feb. 22, 2002 - The Nittany Lion softball team fell to Boston University in extra innings in the nightcap on Friday evening at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. Penn State freshman Tina Skelly (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) suffered the loss despite throwing a complete game and striking out six batters.

Neither team could score a run in the first seven innings of the game, forcing the eighth and final inning. Senior captain Jennifer Tripken (Middletown, N.Y./Minisink Valley) was the only base runner to get past second base in the first seven stanzas, stealing third in the sixth inning.

The eighth inning was the complete opposite of the rest of the game, with both teams combining for five runs, in part, due to the international tie-breaker rule. Beginning in the eighth, a runner is placed on second base to begin the half inning for each team.

The Lions were the first to take advantage of the rule, scoring freshman Mandy Nuxoll (Kelso, Wash./Kelso) on a single to left field by junior Jacki Dabrowski (Lafayette Hill, Pa./Whitemarsh Plymouth). Dabrowski was then sent home herself on junior Erin Norton's (Orange, Calif./El Modena) double down the left field line, putting Penn State ahead, 2-0.

It was the Terriers' turn to respond in the bottom half of the inning. A single and a sacrifice hit scored BU's Jamie Haas, making the score 2-1. Jennifer Shields then put the Terriers over the top with a two-run blast to right field to end the game, 3-2.

It was the Nittany Lions' first extra-inning game of the season and Boston's first victory over Penn State in four meetings,

Tripken was 1-for-2 and drew two walks. Senior captain Gina Bianchini (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove) also had a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-3. Both captains also recorded a stolen base.

Earlier in the day, the Nittany Lions defeated No. 6 Washington, 4-3, to go 1-1 on the day. Penn State remains in Columbus, Ga., on Saturday, Feb. 23. The Lions start day two of the NFCA Leadoff Classic with a game against No. 13 Fresno State at 12:30 p.m. Championship bracket play will begin later in the day with the schedule to be determined after tomorrow's games are decided.

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