Softball Tops Wagner, 10-0; Falls To Temple, 6-5
PLANT CITY, Fla., March 14, 2003 - The Penn State softball team dominated Wagner on the first day of the Plant City Invitational, 10-0, on Friday at the International Softball Federation Stadium, but fell to Temple, 6-5, despite fighting back to take the lead in the seventh inning.
The Lions are 9-10 on the season.
Sophomore pitcher Tina Skelly (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) pitched a one-hitter against the Seahawks, en route to earning her second win of the season. She also struck out five as only three base runners reached base and none got past first. The no hitter was broken up in the fourth inning when Christy Sykora found a gap through the left side of the field for the hit.
The Lions exploded for 15 hits and drew eight walks to aid Skelly in her cause, as Penn State had a runner on third base in every inning. PSU scored two runs in the third and fourth innings to take a 4-0 lead into the top of the seventh, then scored six runs on six hits in its final outing to blow the game wide open.
Freshman Katie Stauffer (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) belted out her first-career home run in the seventh, driving in two runs.
Eight of the nine Nittany Lion batters in the lineup tallied at least a hit, led by senior Gina Bianchini (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove) and sophomore Mandy Nuxoll (Kelso, Wash./Kelso) who each posted three hits.
Game two saw Penn State take a 2-0 lead after a half inning of play, when the Owls gave up two walks to two of the first three batters faced. Bianchini, who led off for the Lions, stole second after reaching on a walk, then advanced to third base on a passed ball and stole home on a double-steal with Nuxoll on base, giving Penn State a 1-0 lead. Nuxoll then tallied the second run on a single from senior Megan Humphrey (San Diego, Calif./Mount Carmel).
Temple quickly struck back, scoring two runs of its own. The Owls capitalized on a hit, a Penn State error, two walks and a hit batsmen to even the score at 2-2.
The Owls, who outhit the Lions 10-6, scored a run in the fourth and fifth innings, both coming with two outs, to take a 4-2 lead. In the fourth, Katie Weigle's sacrifice bunt was mishandled by the PSU defense advancing the runner, then an errant throw allowed Jenny Cochran to score. In less dramatic fashion, the Owls' Christine Harris knocked out a double then scored on a Vicky Grasham hit, putting Temple ahead by two runs, 4-2, after five innings.
In the seventh inning, however, the Lions fought back to take the lead, scoring three runs in the top of the inning. When Temple's first baseman Harris could not handle the throw from third baseman Aida Esquer, allowing Bianchini to reach safely, it also allowed freshman Destinie Chavez (San Leandro, Calif./San Leandro) to score a run, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Nuxoll drove in another run to tie the game at 4-4, then senior Kelley Galigher (Pleasanton, Calif./Foothill) gave Penn State the 5-4 lead with a sacrifice fly which was also the first out of the inning. Temple, however, was able to get out of the inning, recording the next two outs in order.
The Lions could not hold on to the lead for long, however, walking Weigle with the bases loaded to tie the game with two outs. Then a soft hit to right field from Jessica Rohn was all the Owls needed to send home Esquer for the game-ending and winning run.
Humphrey ended the game going 2-for-4, while Nuxoll extended her hitting streak to a season-high and team-best 10 games going 1-for-4.
Penn State plays Canisius at 9 a.m. and St. Francis (N.Y.) at 11 a.m. on the second day of the Plant City Invitational on Saturday, Mar. 15.