Softball Takes Two From Pittsburgh with Decisive Wins
PITTSBURGH, Pa.; April 13, 2005 - Penn State (25-14) took both games of a doubleheader with Pittsburgh (15-19) Wednesday afternoon, winning 7-1 and 10-1. The Nittany Lions will host their first Big Ten series of the year this weekend when they welcome Illinois and Iowa to Happy Valley.
GAME ONE: Penn State 7, Pittsburgh 1
Penn State had an early start in the first inning with freshman shortstop Jen Acunto (Hollywood, Fla.) hitting to the shortstop for a single. Sophomore outfielder Meghan Wolfer (Northampton, Pa.) then bunted a single to advance Acunto to second. Lion leading hitter Ashley Esparza (San Pedro, Calif.) singled to rightfield to advance Acunto to third and Wolfer to second. Freshman catcher Hollee Haines (Riverside, Calif.) reached on a fielder's choice and Wolfer moved to third and Esparza to second. Junior captain Leigh Murray (Fairfax Station, Va.) then smacked one to the left center to bring in Wolfer and Esparza to take the lead, 2-0. Pittsburgh was scoreless in the first with Missy Beseres (Golden Valley, Minn.) striking out two of her 13 on the day.
Penn State would score one in the second with a homerun from Destinie Chavez (San Leandro, Calif.), her first of the year, to add to its lead 3-0. The Lions took an even bigger lead in the third with a homerun from Murray brought in Steph Viola (Minersville, Pa.) and Kari Lucas (Centre Hall, Pa.) making their lead now 6-0. Pittsburgh would be scoreless once again with Beseres striking out 2 of their players.
In the fourth inning, Penn State's Haines would rip one through center field to bring in the run from Kelsey Francisco increasing their lead 7-0. Beseres held Pittsburgh scoreless until the fourth, cutting Penn State's lead to 7-1.
The game would remain a six-run advantage for the Nits until the bottom of the seventh when Pittsburgh scored again. Beseres struck out three in a row to end the game, coming within one strikeout of her own Penn State single game record with 13. Beseres is now 23 strikeouts away from the single season record, 194, set by Jaci Kalp in 2000. She fell four short of the record last season and is making her second run at Kalp's mark. Beseres is now 12-8 on the year.
GAME TWO: Penn State 10, Pittsburgh 1
In a complete-game one-hitter for freshman starter Jenn Reynolds (Clovis, Calif.), Penn State downed Pittsburgh, 10-1, in game two Wednesday. The Lions got three RBI from Ashley Esparza and another two from Destinie Chavez on the night to earn the victory over their intrastate rival.
Penn State got all the runs it needed in the first three innings, piling up four in the first, one in the second and five runs in the third to take the 10-1 lead all the way through five innings for the win. The Lions tallied four runs on four hits, including RBI from Hollee Haines, Reynolds, and a two-run double from Chavez in the first inning to jump out to the early lead.
Pittsburgh got its only run of the game when a walk came back to haunt the Lions and the Panthers only hit of the inning drove the runner home to make it 4-1 in the first.
With a 4-1 lead in the second, the Lions got another run when Jen Acunto started the inning with a lead-off hit for the second straight frame. Haines hit to get on base followed by Leigh Murray RBI poke to the outfield and a 5-1 lead. Five runs on three hits, including an Ashley Esparza three-run homerun, her third of the year, made the final a 10-1 Penn State win.
The victory is the sixth for Reynolds and marked the second complete game of her career. She is 6-4 on the year and threw three strikeouts in the win over the Panthers.
Penn State opens the Big Ten home slate Friday, April 15, at 7 p.m. with a match-up against Illinois. The Lions and Illini face-off again on Saturday, April 16, at noon followed by a Sunday doubleheader with Iowa starting at 10 a.m.