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Lions Welcome Spartans in Big Ten Home Opening Series

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Alyssa Renwick tallied three hits against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

April 6, 2012

Series Notes | Promotions | 2012 Yearbook | Facebook | Twitter | Nittany Lion Softball Park

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State softball team will look for its seventh Big Ten home opening win when it hosts Michigan State at 2:00 p.m. for a Saturday doubleheader at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park. The Spartans will visit Penn State's $10.2 million facility for the first time and conclude the three-game series on Easter Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

All three games will have radio coverage on 1390 AM WRSC in State College and streaming audio on Penn State will also provide live stats through GameTracker on along with commentary on Twitter (@PSULionSoftball) and Facebook (PennStateSoftball).

Saturday: Penn State marketing will be giving away PSU softball pens to all attendees. Kids who bring their colored-in Penn State flyer will receive a free ticket. 2012 PSU SB Coloring Flyer Get Acrobat Reader

Sunday: Penn State will host an Easter Egg Hunt after Sunday's ball game. Also, fans attending the game will receive free candy and kids can take a photo with the Easter Bunny as well.

All tickets are general admission for $5 per game. Penn State students with ID are free of charge and groups of 15 or more are $3 per person. Fans will have two ways of purchasing tickets-at the Nittany Lion Softball Park ticket office on game days and the Bryce Jordan Center box office-to all softball games¬ this year. Nittany Lion Softball Park and its ticket office will open one hour prior to first pitch on all game days.

While there are no season tickets available, fans will be able, and are encouraged, to purchase tickets in advance for all games this year. The Bryce Jordan Center ticket office will be offering softball tickets during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) as well as over the phone at (814) 865-5555. If fans wish to purchase advance tickets in person at the BJC box office no additional fees will be included, while over-the-phone purchases will incur a $1 per ticket fee. Groups interested in purchasing tickets are encouraged to contact Joel Diamond at (814) 867-2557.

Games 31-33: Apr. 7-8 • Nittany Lion Softball Park • University Park, Pa.

Game 1: GameTracker | Live Audio
Game 2: GameTracker | Live Audio
Game 3: GameTracker | Live Audio

VENUE: Nittany Lion Softball Park (1,084)
COVERAGE: 1390 AM WRSC / Audio
LAST MEETING: 4/6/11, MSU 7-6 (5 inn. due to darkness at East Lansing)
NEXT SERIES: Apr. 11 vs. Temple (DH), 3 p.m

• Nittany Lions host Michigan State in their Big Ten home opener this weekend
• PSU is 6-14 all-time in Big Ten home openers, 6-8 under Robin Petrini
• Penn State and MSU are in search of their first Big Ten wins of 2012
• Lions and Spartans split a doubleheader slugfest in Michigan last year (8-6, 6-7)
• PSU is continuing a 10-game home stand against the Spartans
• Michigan State snapped seven-game losing streak on Wed. at CMU (6-1 win)
Marissa Diescher tossed first collegiate shutout over Pitt to snap 13-game skid
Cassidy Bell homered in the nightcap against Pitt, her second of the year
• Bell is hitting .500 in the past seven games including seven hits at Purdue
• Shortstop Alyssa Renwick tallied three hits on Tuesday against Pittsburgh

Michigan State (11-23, 0-6 Big Ten) recently snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory at Central Michigan on Wednesday. In Big Ten play, the Spartans suffered sweeps at Purdue and against Ohio State last weekend at home. Overall, Kylene Hopkins is leading the offensive charge batting .424 with seven doubles, a triple and 17 RBI. Lori Padilla leads the squad off as she has scored 25 times with an on-base percentage of .400, second on the team (Hopkins, .518). MSU's power threats come in the form of Stephanie Sanders (5 doubles, 4 HR, 17 RBI) and Mary Kate DiVirgilio (4 doubles, 2 HR, 20 RBI). The Spartan troubles have come in the pitching circle with a cumulative team ERA of 6.70 and 8.89 in Big Ten action. Sophomore Cassee Layne (5-10, 7.11 ERA, .337 BAA) has earned the majority of the innings (88.2), while freshman Carly Nielsen (3-9, 5.95 ERA, .367) has also seen a lot of work (73.0 IP).

All-Time Record: PSU leads 24-22
PSU Streak: 1 loss
First Meeting: 4/24/92, MSU 5-4
Last Meeting: 4/6/11, MSU 7-6 (5)
Last PSU Win: 4/6/11, 8-6
Last MSU Win 4/6/11, 7-6 (5)
Largest PSU Win: 9-2, 4/22/01
Largest MSU Win: 11-3 (`99), 8-0 (`97)
Last season, Penn State split the doubleheader at Michigan State as Cassidy Bell hit a grand slam in the 8-6 opening win. In the nightcap, PSU roared back from a 6-1 deficit to tie the game in the top of the fifth, but an MSU home put the Spartans against in the bottom. In between innings, umpires called the game due to darkness.

Penn State is 6-14 all-time in Big Ten home openers after winning last year's inaugural game at Beard Field (8-5 over Wisconsin). The Nittany Lions are 6-8 under Robin Petrini's tenure in Big Ten home openers. Penn State has never faced Michigan State in a home opener of any kind before.

Junior centerfielder Cassidy Bell sat out 18 games from February until her return on Mar. 24 at Michigan due to an emergency appendectomy. Since her return, Bell has been on fire and one of the most consistent hitters in the country, tallying four multi-hit games in the last seven outings. Currently, she's hitting .368, having posted a hit in nine of the 12 games she's played. Her return saw an 0-for-3 showing at Michigan, but since then she has gone 11-for-22 (.500) at the plate with two home runs and a triple. In the series at Purdue, Bell hit .636 (7-for-11), raising her career average to .312. Despite playing just 12 games, Bell is riding a seven-game streak of reaching base, the longest active stretch on the squad.

Penn State is currently ranked 98th in the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) release on Monday, Apr. 2. The Nittany Lions have faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation, especially over its last 19 games. In those 19 games, all but two of them have come against Top 100 opponents. Overall, Penn State is 5-19 against the Top 100, leaving just six games against teams rated above 100. The doubleheader split against Pittsburgh (No. 54) moved the Lions' record to 2-4 against squads rated 51-100. The best Nittany Lion wins have come against LSU (No. 20), Auburn (No. 24) and Virginia Tech (No. 35). This weekend's opponent, Michigan State, is ranked 116th.

Penn State is accustomed to traveling all over the country to start a softball season, but the 2012 slate has been especially difficult with 28 games away from home to begin the year. The Big Ten schedule put the Nittany Lions on the road for the first two weekends, adding two more weeks and six extra games of travel to open up. By the end of PSU's 28-game sojourn, the Nittany Lions traveled 12,271 miles by bus and airplane before Tuesday's doubleheader against Pittsburgh at Beard Field.

Penn State has played arguably one of the toughest schedules in the country. In the current NFCA/USA Softball Top 25, PSU has played six opponents in Oklahoma (5th/7th), La.-Lafayette (8th/8th), Michigan (20th/19th), Auburn (24th/24th), South Florida (21st/21st), North Carolina (23rd/RV) and LSU (RV/23rd). The Nittany Lions are 2-7 against ranked teams (when played) with victories at then-No. 22 LSU (5-2, Feb. 10) and over then-No. 19 Auburn (2-1, Mar. 4).

Penn State will have at least 24 of its final 30 games broadcast live over the air on the auddio/, webcast or Big Ten Network. Below is Penn State's broadcast schedule for the remainder of the season. All of Penn State's Big Ten home games will also be aired live on 1390 AM WRSC in State College. Check the PDF game notes for complete coverage.

Game recaps and older notes can also be found in the PDF document.

Penn State continues its 10-game home stand on Wednesday when it welcomes a former conference foe in Temple of the Atlantic 10. First pitch of the twinbill is set for 3:00 p.m. with live coverage on





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