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April 13, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State softball team returns to the diamond on Saturday afternoon for a Big Ten doubleheader against Indiana at 2:00 p.m. Penn State is hosting its Code Blue Blast event for students, who get in free with Penn State ID. The three-game series wraps up on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. as the Nittany Lion marketing staff will pass out paw seat cushions.
All three games can be followed live on GoPSUsports.com All-Access streaming audio and over the air on 1390 AM WRSC in State College. GameTracker live stats will also be provided on GoPSUsports.com along with commentary on Twitter (@PSULionSoftball) and Facebook (PennStateSoftball).
Saturday: Code Blue Blast for students, who will earn triple points for attending along with a prize give away featuring an iPad, TV or iPod. B94.5 will be on site doing a live remote outside Nittany Lion Softball Park and fans will receive free posters and magnets.
Sunday: The final game of the series will be Father/Daughter Day with any father/daughter having the opportunity to participate in a three-legged race on the field. Penn State will be distributing Wave-It-Now seat cushions featuring the Nittany Lion paw while supplies last.
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.
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (11-22, 3-6 Big Ten)
Games 34-36: Apr. 14-15 Nittany Lion Softball Park University Park, Pa.
VENUE: Nittany Lion Softball Park (1,084)
COVERAGE: 1390 AM WRSC/GoPSUsports.com Audio
ALL-TIME SERIES: Penn State trails 29-22
LAST MEETING: 4/10/11, IND 1-0 (at University Park, Pa.)
NEXT SERIES: Apr. 21-22 at Wisconsin
Nittany Lions host Indiana this weekend to cap an 8-game home stand
PSU's doubleheader on Wednesday vs. Temple was cancelled due to weather
Lions led Temple 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning before being cancelled
Penn State is coming off a three-game sweep of Michigan State
The Hoosiers beat Indiana State, 3-0, on Wednesday
PSU is enjoying an 8-game home stand, sitting at 4-1
Penn State hit 5 home runs, 4 doubles and out-scored MSU 22-13 in 3 games
The Nittany Lions have struck 6 lead-off homers this season
Kasie Hatfield hit .636, slugged 1.091 with 2 doubles, a homer, 5 RBI vs. MSU
Cassidy Bell hit 2 homers, a double and drove home 5 RBI against MSU
Freshman Marissa Diescher is 2-0 in her last three starts with a 1.29 ERA
Senior hurler Lisa Akamine went 2-0 with 19 strikeouts vs. Michigan State
Lauren Yao hit a massive three-run homer against MSU on her 21st birthday
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS
Indiana (20-18, 4-5 Big Ten) enters the three-game weekend series having won three of the past four over Purdue and Indiana State. Freshman Lora Olson (12-11, 4.14 ERA) threw her second shutout of 2012 at ISU on Wednesday. Olson has 77 strikeouts in 132 innings of work while allowing opposing batters to hit .305. Her pitching mate is sophomore Meaghan Murphy (8-7, 4.76 ERA) who has thrown 111.2 innings with 56 strikeouts and a .342 BAA. The pitching duo has also given up 52 doubles and 37 homers this season. The Hoosiers have been effective at the plate hitting .294 as a squad, slugging .421 and getting on base at .362. Amanda Wagner leads the team in average (.343), hits (36), homers (8), RBI (25), slugging (.619), walks (17) and on-base percentage (.448). Wagner leads five Hoosiers with averages over .300 including power threat Jenna Abraham (.337, 8 doubles, 5 HR, 16 RBI) and Shannon Cawley (.330, 5 doubles, 3 HR. 16 RBI). IU has been without lead-off hitter Breanna Saucedo (.319) who hasn't played since Mar. 24 at Ohio State.
SERIES HISTORY vs. IU
All-Time Record: PSU trails 29-22
PSU Streak: 2 losses
First Meeting: 4/29/77, PSU 1-0
Last Meeting: 4/10/11, IU 1-0
Last PSU Win: 5/14/10, 3-2 (12 inn.)
Last IU Win: 4/10/11, 1-0
Largest PSU Win: 16-0, 4/7/00
Largest IU Win: 10-0, 13-3 (4/1-2/94)
PSU Record vs. IU at home: 17-7
Petrini vs. IU (at home): 16-12 (7-3)
Penn State dropped both games in last year's series as Indiana became the first opponent to win games at Beard Field. All-American Morgan Melloh threw two shutouts (3-0, 1-0) for the Hoosiers. Jackie Hill was nearly to the task of Melloh allowing only four earned runs all weekend during two quick games that took just a combined 3 hours, 15 minutes to play 15 innings.
GRAPPLING WITH THE GRAUPEL
Penn State's Wednesday (Apr. 11) twinbill against Temple was wiped out in the middle of the first game due to wintry weather. Soft hail, known as graupel, fell in Happy Valley before and during the doubleheader, making the field too wet for play. The Nittany Lions led 3-0 after a three-run burst thanks to RBI singles from Jordan Wheatley and Cassidy Bell as well as a bases loaded walk by Alyssa Renwick. It was all for naught as the weather wiped out the game and stats.
Penn State swept Michigan State in its Big Ten home opener (Apr. 7-8) by the scores of 4-3, 11-5 and 7-5 (9 inn.). The three-game sweep was the first for PSU since May 1-2, 1999 when the Nittany Lions dispatched Indiana, the last year of Big Ten three-game series. Penn State tallied four runs in the fourth to overcome a 3-0 deficit in game one as Alyssa Sovereign's bases-loaded walk forced home the deciding run. Marissa Diescher picked up her first Big Ten victory with a complete game performance. MSU took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of game two on Saturday before the Nittany Lions scored 11 of the next 13 runs. Cassidy Bell gave the Lions a 4-3 lead with a three-run homer in the second. Lauren Yao homered on her 21st birthday in the next inning, another three-run blast to take a 7-3 lead. Sovereign capped the homer party with a two-run dinger and an 11-5 victory as Lisa Akamine won behind six innings of three hit ball, allowing one earned run and striking out 12. Penn State swept the series on Sunday in dramatic fashion as Kasie Hatfield's ninth-inning two run homer to win 7-5. The Lions scored four times in the fourth and Bell homered in the fourth to cap a five-home run weekend. Hatfield went 7-for-11 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI, while Bell had two homers and five RBI as well in the series. Akamine won her second straight decision in relief on Sunday, going 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts.
HOME SWEET HOME
Penn State is 4-1 at home this season, winning the last four games. Last season the Nittany Lions went 11-8-1 in the inaugural year at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park. In non-conference games, Penn State is 7-5 at Beard Field all-time.
LEAD ME HOME
The Nittany Lion offense came alive this weekend against Michigan State highlighted by five home runs, including Cassidy Bell's lead-off shot in the Sunday winner. It was Bell's second lead-off homer (3/24/12 at Michigan) and the Nittany Lions' sixth this season. Alyssa Sovereign leads the way with three home runs, all of which were during the first at-bat of the game. The other lead-off homer came from Kailyn Johnson vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (3/16).
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
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 five multi-hit games in the last 10 outings. Currently, she's hitting .360, having posted a hit in 12 of the 15 games she's played. Her return saw an 0-for-3 showing at Michigan, but since then she has gone 15-for-34 (.441) at the plate with four home runs, a double and a triple. In the series at Purdue, Bell hit .636 (7-for-11), before going 4-for-12 against Michigan State (.333). She has raised her career average to .311 during the 10-game hitting barrage, which has seen her reach base in every game. She's also on a four-game hitting streak, while slugging .882 in the last 10 games.
Penn State is currently ranked 91st in the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) release on Monday, Apr. 9, a seven-spot improvement from the previous week. The Nittany Lions have faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation with 14 games against the RPI top 50 and 25 against the top 100. Overall, Penn State is 6-19 against the Top 100 including three wins vs. top 50 foes. The best Nittany Lion wins have come against LSU (No. 19), Auburn (No. 26) and Virginia Tech (No. 29). This week's opponent, Indiana, is ranked 90th.
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 (6th/6th), La.-Lafayette (8th/7th), South Florida (18th/16th), Michigan (20th/20th), LSU (22nd/21st) and North Carolina (24th/24th). 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). Auburn and N.C. State are receiving votes in the USA Softball poll, both teams PSU beat.
Game recaps and older notes can also be found in the PDF document.
NEXT TIME OUT
Penn State hits the road for the first time in 20 days when it travels to Madison, Wis. for a three-game series against the Badgers. The Saturday doubleheader begins at 1:00 p.m. ET and the Sunday finale is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET as well.