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March 11, 2009
FULLERTON, Calif. -
The Nittany Lions will conclude their trip to the west coast at Cal State Fullerton for the Judi Garman Classic. One of the premier tournaments in the country, the Garman Classic draws some of the top talent across the nation and this year is no different. Penn State will play two games on Thursday starting with Notre Dame at Noon ET and following with Texas at 4 p.m. ET. The classic will continue as the Lions battle No. 3 Washington at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and No. 12 Arizona at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The tournament will conclude with a rematch against Nebraska at Noon ET on Sunday.
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
The Fighting Irish enter the weekend 6-7, but have had a touch schedule in playing teams ranked in the NFCA Top 5 including Alabama, Stanford and UCLA. Sadie Pitzenberger leads all batters with an average of .400 while Heather Johnson follows at .343. Brianna Jorgensborg has also proven to be a major threat at bat with three triples and two home runs. Brittney Barger leads in the circle with an ERA of 1.40 while striking out 39 in 50 innings of work. Thursday will be the second meeting between the Nittany Lions and the Fighting Irish. Penn State leads the series 1-0.
The Longhorns bring a 17-6 record into the Judi Garman Classic and boast impressive bats as well with four of their starters holding averages at over .300. Loryn Johnson leads all at .446. Johnson has six doubles and three home runs to her name as well as 23 RBI. Desiree Williams isn't far behind with two doubles and five home runs for 17 RBI. Torrey Schroeder holds a 7-2 record in the circle with an ERA of 3.09 while fanning 48 batters in 56.2 innings of work. Thursday will be the third meeting between the Longhorns and the Nittany Lions. The series is tied at one a piece.
The Huskies have been climbing the polls all year and settled in at No. 3 this week. They enter the weekend 20-2. Ashlyn Watson and Ashley Charters lead the Huskies at bat with averages of .466 and .400 respectively. Watson has four doubles and six home runs while Charters has contributed tw doubles, a triple and five home runs. The two combine for 32 RBI. Danielle Lawrie leads in the circle with a sizzling 0.27 ERA and boasts a record of 15-1. So far, she has struck out 161 batters in 103.1 innings of work. Friday will be the third meeting between the Huskies and the Nittany Lions. The series is tied at one each.
The Wildcast have also had an impressive year at 21-5 and have remained close to if not in the NFCA Top 10. They checked in this week at No. 12. Lauren Schuztler is by far the strongest batter the Nittany Lions have faced with an average of .519. Stacie Chambers has some intimidating slugging as well. Her 13 home runs have contributed to 51 RBI for the Wildcats. Sarah Akamine and Lindsey Sisk have shared the majority of the pitching duties with 10 wins each and a combined ERA of 2.27. Saturday will be the ninth meeting between the Wildcats and the Nittany Lions. Arizona leads the series 8-1.
Penn State will get another shot at the Huskers after a disappointing loss at the NFCA Leadoff Classic two weeks ago, but once again it won't be easy. The Huskers are now 11-4 and receiving votes in the polls. Darcy Rutherford and Alex Hupp lead at bat each boasting a .400 average. Amanda Duran was the biggest problem for the Nittany Lions last time as she went 3-for-3 including a double and a three-run home run. Molly Hill leads in the circle with an ERA of 1.56 with a record of 6-2. Sunday marks the sixth meeting between the Huskers and the Nittany Lions. Nebraska leads the series 3-2.
Bragging rights are on the line as the Nittany Lions prepare to face the Wildcats on Saturday. Lisa Akamine has been making big things happen for Penn State in her young career and her older sister Sarah Akamine has been doing the same thing at Arizona. This will be the first time this season that a Penn Stater will be playing against a family member on the diamond.