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University Park, PA, April 7, 2002 - The Penn State softball team ended their weekend on a strong note with back-to-back wins over Wisconsin. In taking the doubleheader, Penn State improves to 18-17 overall and stands at .500 in the conference, with a 4-4 Big Ten record. Wisconsin falls to 21-13 on the season and is now also at 4-4 in the Big Ten.
In game one, Penn State got things started in the bottom of the second inning with two strong hits from junior Jackie Dabrowski (Lafayette Hill, Pa./ Plymouth Whitemarsh) and sophomore Erica Greenberg (Irvine, Calif./ Calvary Chapel). Dabrowski hit a single down the right field line and then advanced to second on a Badger error. Greenberg then stepped to the plate and sent a line drive up the middle for a double that would send Dabrowski home and put the Lions ahead 1-0.
After the Lions managed to put three up and three down in the top of the third from Wisconsin, they put another run and four more hits on the board in the bottom of the inning. Penn State loaded the bases thanks to three consecutive singles by juniors Erin Norton (Orange,Calif./ El Modena), Megan Humphrey (San Diego, Calif./ Mount Caramel) and Kelley Galigher (Pleasanton, Calif./ Foothill). Then Dabrowski and Greenberg (who went 2-2 and 2-3 on the game, respectively) stepped up again as Dabrowski hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Norton, followed by another hard-hit ball by Greenberg. Greenberg hit a single to center field that scored both Humphrey and Galigher, widening the Lions' lead to 4-0.
That score remained until the bottom of the sixth, when senior Jennifer Tripken (Middletown, N.Y./ Minisink Valley) hit a sac fly to right field to score pinch runner, freshman Steph Viola (Minersville, Pa./ Minersville), in from third base to put the Lions up 5-0.
In the top of the seventh Wisconsin tried to fight back but to no avail. With two runners on base, Wisconsin's Nicki Starry singled to center field to send in what would be the Badger's only run of the game.
The 5-1 win improved Nittany Lion sophomore pitcher Marisa Hanson's (Victoria, Txs./ Victoria) record to 9-7 on the season. Hanson had six strikeouts in the game.
For game two, Penn State started freshman pitcher Tina Skelly (Greensberg, Pa./ Hempfield). Skelly got a much needed win to improve to 2-5 on the season, serving four strikeouts to the Badgers in her four and a half innings of play.
After being walked and sacrificed to second base in the top of the second inning, Humphrey advanced to third while Dabrowski advanced to first base after a controversial play involving
Dabrowski's dropped third strike. Humphrey then scored on a wild pitch by Wisconsin to give Penn State the 1-0 lead.
After a quick and scoreless two and a half innings of play, Penn State scored again in the top of the fifth.
Pinch runner freshman Scarlett Neal (Huntington Beach, Calif./ Edison) reached third base on an error by Wisconsin's pitcher in what should have been a routine play to attempt and get the lead runner. That gave Norton the opportunity to sac fly to left field to send Neal in to make the score 2-0, Penn State.
After Hanson came into pitch for Skelly, Wisconsin had their own sac fly to left field in the bottom of the inning to put the Badgers back in the game, 2-1. Galigher started the sixth inning off for Penn State with a hard-hit double. Senior Susan Shuplock's (Brea, Calif./ Brea-Olinda) single to left field sent Galigher in for the 3-1 lead. The Lions gained two more hits in the inning, one from senior Gina Bianchini (Pottstown, Pa./ Pottsgrove), and the other from freshman Mandy Nuxoll (Kelso, Wash./ Kelso), who went 3-4 in the game.
Norton led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to right center. Eventually that base runner came in as Penn State's final run of the game, sent home by another hard-hit ball from Galigher in the seventh, through the left side.
The 4-1 win gave Hanson her first save of the season and brought the Lions back to an even .500 in conference play.
Penn State continues its home schedule on Tuesday, April 9, with a doubleheader against Kent State scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm on Nittany Lion field.
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