April 10, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.; April 10, 2014 -- Penn State softball continues its six-game road swing this weekend with a three-game series at Indiana. The Lions look to add to a four-game winning streak after sweeping Michigan State and splitting with Saint Francis (Pa.) last week.
Penn State faces the Hoosiers on Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Friday and Sunday’s contests will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Digital Network.
SERIES HISTORY vs. INDIANA
The Hoosiers hold a 32-25 advantage over PSU in the all-time series. Penn State is 12-17 when playing Indiana in Bloomington with its last win on the Hoosiers’ home field coming in a 3-0 decision last April.
PSU went 1-2 at IU last season but has won three out of the five last meetings between the two teams.
HOMING IN ON THE HOOSIERS
Indiana enters the weekend at 11-27-1 overall after most recently splitting a midweek doubleheader with Michigan State. IU is 3-8 in conference play with victories against MSU, Purdue and Ohio State.
Redshirt senior Breanna Saucedo and sophomore Kassie Farmer lead Indiana offensively as the only two hitters averaging over .300. Saucedo is hitting at a .338 clip with 21 runs and eight RBI on 45 hits while Farmer is batting .301 with 20 runs and 14 RBI on 31 hits. Farmer leads the team in slugging percentage at .563 and has hit six home runs.
The IU pitching staff has combined for 204 strikeouts in 246.2 innings. Junior Lora Olson leads the Hoosiers in the circle with an ERA of 4.41 through 95.1 innings. Olson is 4-12 on the year and has struck out 65 opponents.
Center fielder Lexi Knief pulled in the first Big Ten honor of her career on Monday as she was named the conference’s Player of the Week for her efforts on the field. The sophomore went 10-for-18 at the plate through five games last week, registering seven runs, three RBI, a double, a triple and her first collegiate home run to help the Nittany Lions to four straight wins.
Knief posted at least one hit in all five games and multiple hits in four of the contests against Saint Francis (Pa.) and conference foe Michigan State, helping the Blue and White to a 4-for-5 effort on the week and a series sweep of the Spartans. She was a single away from hitting for the cycle in the final game at MSU as she turned in each of her extra-base hits in one contest.
SWEEPING THE SPARTANS
Penn State posted its first series sweep since 2012 last weekend with three-game sweep of Michigan State. The Lions opened the series with a 9-3 victory on Friday and followed with a 7-3 win on Saturday and a 6-0 shutout win on Sunday.
Freshman pitcher Marlaina Laubach picked up wins for Friday and Sunday’s contest while sophomore Marissa Diescher earned the W for Saturday’s victory.
Lexi Knief led the charge for PSU offensively, posting multiple hits in each of the games. She was a single away from hitting for the cycle in the series finale, turning in a double, a triple and her first collegiate home run.
Sophomore Lexi Knief is the top hitter for PSU through the first 32 outings. The outfielder is 38-for-97 at the plate for a team-best batting average of .392 and has scored a team-high 30 runs. She is tied for first in the league and 11th in the nation in triples with four and has posted four doubles on the year.
The Ramsey, N.J. product leads the Lions and is sixth in the conference with an on-base percentage of .487 and is currently the 34th-toughest hitter to strike out in the nation.
LAU OF THE LAND
Freshman pitcher Marlaina Laubach has done the bulk of the work in the circle for Penn State, earning wins in seven of PSU’s 10 victories, including a signature win over No. 21 LSU and two wins over Michigan State. The Northampton, Pa. native has a team-best ERA of 3.70 through 81.1 innings. She has thrown 50 strikeouts on the season, including a season-high six vs. FAU (2/21) and MSU (4/4).
FORMING GOOD HABITZ
Sophomore Karlie Habitz has proven to be the most powerful hitter in the PSU lineup this year. The Newhall, Calif. product leads the Lions with 28 RBI and owns a team-best slugging percentage of .549. She has registered six doubles and a team-best four home runs. The catcher, who is hitting at a .352 clip, broke up two no-hitters vs. No. 6 Michigan and went 4-for-8 at the dish.
Habitz posted six RBI in the season opener vs. Oregon State (2/7), a mark that ties for the second most in program history.
Senior Kasie Hatfield is currently tied for sixth in the league in doubles, having already notched 10 this season. The Tampa, Fla. native surpassed her previous season-best of eight doubles from 2012 in the second game of PSU’s doubleheader with Purdue.
Shelby Miller has turned in an impressive rookie campaign thus far for Penn State. The freshman has the third best batting average on the team at .329 and has been churning out the hits, posting a 23-for-70 mark at the dish through 27 games.
Miller has four extra-base hits under her belt with two double and two triples, each of which has come in the last four weeks of play.
PSU returns to Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field next week for two series, facing Bucknell and Wisconsin. The Lions and the Bison take the field on Wednesday for a doubleheader while Penn State and Wisconsin square off in a three-game series with one game Friday night followed by a doubleheader on Saturday.
Saturday’s games will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.