Penn State Softball to Open Home Schedule Today vs. St. Francis

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University Park, Pa., March 26, 2007-
Penn State Opens Home Slate
After playing their first 24 games on the road, the Nittany Lions will open their home slate against St. Francis (Pa.) with a doubleheader on March 28, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Penn State will begin Big Ten play with games at Nittany Field against Wisconsin on March 30 at 6:00 p.m. and 31 at noon. The Minnesota Golden Gophers come to town for a doubleheader beginning at 10:00 a.m. on April 1.

Lions¡¯ Records Against Opponents
Penn State is 22-0 against St. Francis since the teams began playing in 1990. Penn State won both games of a doubleheader, 5-1 and 2-1, in the last matchup with the Red Flash on March 29, 2006. The Boilermakers won the last game with the Lions, 3-1, on April 1, 2006 at Purdue, but Penn State holds a 20-10 edge all-time. A 3-1 victory over Wisconsin on April 29, 2006 gave the Lions a 17-10 advantage all-time against the Badgers.

Up Next: Michigan and Michigan State
After its first home weekend, Penn State hits the road to travel to Ann Arbor and East Lansing. The Lions have won four of their last five against the Wolverines, including a 5-2 victory in the Judi Garman Classic this season. Penn State and Michigan will play on April 6 at 4:00 p.m. and April 7 at 1:00 p.m. The Lions will then head to East Lansing and play a doubleheader against the Spartans on April 8 beginning at noon.

Kelsey Francisco

Lions Knock Off Two Top Ten teams in Judi Garman Classic
Penn State upset No. 8 Texas, 6-5, and No. 9 Michigan, 5-2, to cap a 3-2 record in the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The Lions began tournament action with a nine inning game against host Fullerton, finally prevailing 6-5 when Kelsey Francisco (State College, Pa.) scored the game winning run in the top of the ninth on a Jenn Reynolds (Clovis, Calif.) single. After defeating Fullerton, Penn State fell to DePaul, 3-2. The next day, the Lions took on the Longhorns in another extra innings game. Penn State scored the game winner after Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) hit a sacrifice fly deep to the outfield to score freshman Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.). With the 6-5 win over No. 8 Texas, Penn State moved to the championship bracket to take on No. 17 Louisiana-Lafayette. The Lions fell to the Ragin¡¯ Cajuns, 6-5, despite homeruns from Kinley and Reynolds. Penn State then took on No. 9 Michigan in the consolation game. The Lions used a big fourth inning, including a two-run homer from Ashley Esparza (San Pedro, Calif.), to take the lead, coming out on top, 5-2.

Penn State Finishes 2-3 in Bulldog Classic
The Nittany Lions dropped two games to Colorado State, 8-7 and 1-0, to open the Bulldog Classic hosted by Fresno State. They bounced back to defeat BYU 17-4. Penn State also posted a 5-1 win over Toledo, but could not avenge a 1-0 loss to Fresno State at the Palm Springs Classic, losing to the Bulldogs, 10-2. Meghan Wolfer (Northampton, Pa.) led Penn State at the Bulldog Classic, going 6-for-13 (.462) with two RBI. Both RBI came against BYU and are her first RBI since the 2005 season. Danielle Kinley also had a solid tournament, hitting .375 (6-for-16) with two doubles and five RBI.

Lions Perfect in Extra Inning Games
Penn State played its first two extra inning games of the season in the Judi Garman Classic. The Lions defeated Fullerton in a nine inning thriller, 6-5, and beat Texas the next morning, 6-5 in eight innings. Penn State¡¯s last extra inning games were played in 2004. That season, the Lions fell to No. 1 UCLA in eight innings, 5-2, defeated Wisconsin, 2-1, in eight innings, and fell to Iowa in 14 innings, 3-2.

Lions¡¯ 17 Runs Most Since 1985
Penn State defeated BYU, 17-4, March 10 at the Bulldog Classic. The 17 runs are the most a Nittany Lion team has scored since a 17-1 win over St. Joseph¡¯s on April 25, 1985.

Danielle Kinley

Kinley Continues Hot Hitting
Sophomore Danielle Kinley is now the only Lion hitting above .400, hitting .427 (32-for-75) on the season so far. She leads the team in hits (32), RBI (22), and extra base hits (11). In the Judi Garman Classic, she went a perfect 4-for-4 in Penn State¡¯s upset win over No. 9 Michigan, including two doubles and two RBI. She also cracked her second homer of the season when taking on No. 17 Louisiana-Lafayette.

Griffith Steps Up
Freshman Ashley Griffith led Penn State in hitting at the Judi Garman Classic, hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two RBI. She is currently second on the team overall in batting average (.393), trailing only Kinley. While Griffith does have a triple to her name, many of her hits have come on bunts as she can use her speed to beat out the throw. The left fielder also scored the game-winning run in Penn State¡¯s upset over No. 8 Texas. She is also a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases this season.

Penn State Controls Michigan Series
Since the 2005 season, the Lions hold a nation-best 4-1 edge in games over the Wolverines. The only other Big Ten team to defeat Michigan multiple times is Iowa, however the Wolverines still have a 3-2 edge over the Hawkeyes. Washington (2-1) and Tennessee (3-1) are the only other schools to have multiple wins over Michigan since the 2005 season. Despite being outhit, 30-28, by Michigan, Penn State has outscored the Wolverines, 12-5, since 2005.
-Penn State 5, Michigan 2, 3/17/07
-Michigan 1, Penn State 0, 4/23/06
-Penn State 4, Michigan 2, 4/23/06
-Penn State 1, Michigan 0, 2/18/06
-Penn State 2, Michigan 1, 4/22/05

Softball and Baseball ¡°Meet the Team Night¡± Set for March 29
Penn State¡¯s baseball and softball teams will host ¡°Meet the Team Night¡± on March 29 from 7-9 p.m. at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Fans will be able to interact with the teams and coaches in a number of activities, as well as get an inside peak at Penn State¡¯s newest facility. Nittany Lion players from both squads will lead fans on an exclusive tour of the park and locker rooms, while students eighth grade and under can have the unique experience of hitting in the batting cages. Both teams will be available for autographs and photos.

Rebecca Bautista and Jackie Hill Out Indefinitely
Junior infielder Rebecca Bautista (Elk Grove, Calif.) is out at least two weeks after tearing her meniscus in Penn State¡¯s March 17 win over Texas. She fell awkwardly after catching a fly ball. Bautista had started all 20 games she played this season at second base.
Freshman pitcher Jackie Hill(San Jose, Calif.) is out indefinitely after breaking bones in her right hand on Feb. 24 against Washington. The freshman had a 1-1 record in two starts. In her four appearances in the circle, Hill had a 2.27 ERA in 12.1 innings of work. Hill also saw action in the infield, starting three of the five games she appeared in.

Nittany Lions Capture Miken Classic Title
Penn State won the FAU Miken Classic on the weekend of March 2-4. The Lions went 4-1 in the tournament with the only loss coming to Florida Atlantic in round robin play. Penn State opened the tournament with a 10-1 drubbing of Columbia and then fell to Florida Atlantic in the bottom of the seventh inning, 1-0. The Lions won their next three games, defeating Bethune-Cookman to close out pool play, 7-1, then beating Columbia in semifinal action by a score of 6-2. Penn State avenged its Friday night loss to the host Owls with a 7-0 victory to capture the tournament title. Over the course of the tournament, Penn State outscored (30-5) and outhit (46-18) its opponents.

Reynolds Dominant in Miken Classic Run
Junior pitcher Jenn Reynolds dominated in the circle to lead the Nittany Lions to the FAU Miken Classic Championship. In five games, she pitched 23 innings with an ERA of 0.61, including three complete games. She pitched a one-hitter in a 10-1 rout of Columbia to open the tournament and pitched another one-hitter in Penn State¡¯s 7-0 shutout victory over Florida Atlantic in the championship game. Reynolds was also a force to be reckoned with at the plate. The California native had six hits and seven RBI over the weekend, and her most impressive performance came against the Owls of FAU. Reynolds belted a three-run double in the first inning and followed it up with a two-run homer in the fifth, tying a school record for RBI in a game with five.

Kinley named Big Ten Player of the Week
After leading Penn State to a 3-1 record in the Carolina Classic, sophomore outfielder Danielle Kinley was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 12. She finished the weekend with a team-leading .727 (8-of-11) batting average, three doubles and six RBI. She went 3-for-3 with the bases loaded and 5-for-6 (.833) in RBI opportunities. Hollee Haines earned Penn State's last player of the week nod on March 27, 2006 after leading the Lions to a 4-1 record in East Carolina's Pirate Invitational.

Esparza and Kinley named to Carolina Classic All-Tournament Team
Danielle Kinley earned All-Tournament accolades after going 8-for-11 (.727) with a 1.000 slugging percentage. She brought in the game-tying run against N.C. State and did it again against East Carolina the next day. Ashley Esparza hit two homeruns, including the game winner against East Carolina on Sunday. She finished the weekend with three RBIs. The Nittany Lions were one of three teams with two players on the All-Tournament Team, only No. 2 Tennessee had more with three players.

Kinley Breaks Single-Game Hits Record
With her perfect five-for-five performance against North Carolina, sophomore Danielle Kinley broke the Nittany Lions record for hits in a game, previously four. Held by 20 people before Kinley's performance Feb. 11, the outfielder's name now appears at the top all alone.

Jen Acunto

Fabulous Five
Five players have started every game for the Nittany Lions so far this season. Senior Meghan Wolfer (Northampton, Pa.) has heard her name at the beginning of each game, along with juniors Ashley Esparza, Jen Acunto (Hollywood, Fla.) and Hollee Haines (Riverside, Calif.). Sophomore Danielle Kinley has also started each game.

Petrini In 11th Season
Head coach Robin Petrini is her 11th campaign with the Nittany Lions this spring and has a 328-263-1 through the the 2007 season. The Penn State bench boss is coming off her squad's highest win total last season, a year that also saw her record 300 career wins in a doubleheader sweep of Bucknell on April 11. A 1983 graduate of Utah State and an All-America nominee, Petrini has taken Penn State to six of its seven NCAA Tournaments as a program and also led the Lions to seven Big Ten Tournaments over the past eight years.

14 Letterwinners Return
Penn State returns 14 letterwinners to a team that racked-up a program-best 39 wins last season. Lost are regulars ace pitcher Missy Beseres, outfielder Leigh Murray and infielder Destinie Chavez, but Robin Pertini's team returns a host of other talents to fill the holes in the line-up. All-region selections Ashley Esparza and Jen Acunto return to anchor an infield that will also include junior All-Big Ten selection Jenn Reynolds. A fixture behind the plate for her first two seasons, Hollee Haines returns again at catcher. Outfield regulars sophomore Danielle Kinley and seniors Jen Williams (Stillwater, Okla.) and Meghan Wolfer also return in the mix for the Lions.

Familiar Scenery
Three of the Lions' 18 players this year are from the greater State College area. Seniors Kelsey Francisco (State College, Pa.) and Kari Lucas (Centre Hall, Pa.) were joined by Danielle Noll (Bald Eagle, Pa.) on this year's roster to give the Lions even more local flavor this season. Overall six Penn State players hail from the Keystone State. The only state with more players on this year's Nittany Lion roster is California with seven.

Lions Face Challenging 2007 Slate
Head coach Robin Petrini has put together one of the toughest schedules in the country this season. Penn State will play nine ranked foes, including two Big Ten teams, No. 7 Northwestern and No. 9 Michigan. Three Lion opponents are also receiving votes. The Nittany Lions opened the season against Tennessee, the top-ranked team in the country. This past weekend, Penn State played three ranked teams, then-No. 8 Texas, No. 9 Michigan and No. 17 Louisiana-Lafayette, defeating the Longhorns and Wolverines. The team returns 14 letterwinners and Petrini said, "I intentionally scheduled it that way because I thought this group would be ready to take on that kind of schedule."

Forest Adds Fresh Look
Jocelyn Forest became the Lions' newest addition to the coaching staff when she accepted the assistant coaching post at Penn State over the summer. A 2002 California graduate, Forest was an All-American for the Golden Bears while leading the squad to a National Championship in 2002. This past summer, Forest pitched for the third consecutive season for the New England Riptide of the NPFL. She earned Championship series MVP honors after leading the squad to its first-ever league title. Forest will primarily work with the pitchers after serving a one-year stint at Boston University last season. She joins long-time assistant Jen McIntyre on the staff. McIntyre, a 1998 Penn State graduate, is in her sixth year with the Nittany Lions.

Updated Info on GoPSUsports.com
Check out GoPSUsports.com for all the latest in Penn State softball news. Get ready for the season with updated bios, season previews, and much more. Then, track the Nittany Lions progress all season with live stats, features and more! Check back soon for a radio schedule so you can keep up with the Lions all season long.

 

 

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