Penn State Opens Big Ten Play at Illinois
March 20, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The Illini have picked up notable wins against then-No. 18 Houston and No. 19 Texas A&M defeating the Cougars 12-11 and the Aggies 5-4. Both wins came from the Marriott Houston Invitational Feb. 20-22. Lana Armstrong was named the Big Ten Player of the week for her efforts at the Invitational while Zymkowitz picked up player of the week honors after opening weekend.
This weekend will hold the 21st and 22nd meetings between the Nittany Lions an the Fighting Illini. The series is tied at 10 each.
SCOUTING PENN STATE
In the circle, junior Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) has built on her success from the 2008 campaign and currently holds a 5-5 record after facing some of the top teams in the country. With and ERA of 1.09, she has struck out 61 batters in 64.1 innings of work. Akamine has also proven to be effective holding an ERA below 1.00 at the beginning of the season, but since then the Lions have given up multiple runs to top programs as her ERA currently stands at 4.90.
Penn State has notable wins against then-No. 13 DePaul, 4-1, and then-No. 12 Arizona, 9-6. The win over the Blue Demons came at the NFCA Leadoff Classic as the Nittany Lions rallied in the sixth to plate four and never looked back. Hill threw a one-hitter in the victory. More recently, the Lions upended the Wildcats at the Judi Garman Classic with an explosive first inning as they drove in four runs with the help of a three run blast by Hovanec. Arizona threatened as the Wildcats brough the score to 4-5 in the fifth, but Penn State mimicked the success of the first inning in the sixth with four more runs as Giordano added a three-run shot of her own.
PENN STATE IN BIG TEN OPENERS
This weekend will be the first time Penn State has opened the Big Ten at Illinois. In Champaign, the Nittany Lions are 2-4 under head coach Robin Petrini with the last victory in April of 2003 as Penn State claimed the night cap at Eichelberger Field.
LAST TIME AGAINST ILLINOIS
Things turned around quickly though as the Lions' bats exploded in the second game. Kayce Zielinski and Desi Giordano combined for nine RBI. The Nittany Lions also launched five home runs across four batters giving the Illini battery little to work with, while Ashley Esparza became the eighth pitcher in Penn State history to throw a no-hitter.