Lions Drop 4-1 Decision to Northwestern in Softball
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., April 16, 2004 - Northwestern gained a one-run lead in the first inning and stayed ahead for the duration of the game, beating the Penn State softball team (16-24, 2-5 Big Ten) 4-1 Friday night at Nittany Lion Field. The two teams square off again tomorrow at noon. Northwestern is now 21-13 (4-5 Big Ten).
Consecutive singles by Northwestern's No. 1 and No. 2 hitters put runners on first and second right out of the gate Friday night. A bunt by Erin Mobley moved the runners to second and third and NU's lead-off hitter Carri Leto eventually scored when Kristen Amegin bunted and advanced the runners. The Lions were able to stop the run at 1-0, however, despite having the bases loaded on two separate occasions by the end of the inning.
Penn State had a good opportunity to score in the second inning when third baseman Katie Stauffer (Manassas, Va.) began the inning by singling to first base. Stauffer was replaced by pinch-runner Kelsey Francisco (State College, Pa.), who made it all the way to third base with a walk and a fielder's choice. The Nittany Lions ran out of outs in the inning though, and left two runners on, including Francisco, who was on the doorstep of tying the game.
Northwestern added to its lead in the third inning when Sheila McCorkle and Garland Cooper both drew walks to put runners on first and second setting the stage for an Amegin three-run homer to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead and the third-baseman four RBIs on the night.
Penn State finally got a run on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Meghan Wolfer (Northampton, Pa.) and Leigh Murray (Fairfax Station, Va.) began the inning with back-to-back singles. Shortstop Barbie Pierce (Citrus Heights, Calif.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Sophomore pinch-hitter Destinie Chavez (San Leandro, Calif.) then reached on an error that was followed up by a Stauffer single to left field that scored the Lions' only run of the day to make the final a 4-1 Wildcat victory.
Northwestern's Eileen Canney picked-up her 12th win of the season, throwing eight strikeouts on the night, while Penn State's Missy Beseres (Golden Valley, Minn.) was credited with the loss after striking out seven batters in 4.1 innings of work.
The Nittany Lions host Northwestern again Saturday at noon at Nittany Lion Field before Michigan State comes to town for a doubleheader on Sunday. Those games also begin at noon.