NITTANY LION SOFTBALL EARNS SPLIT WITH AKRON
STATE COLLEGE, Pa.; April 20, 2004 - The Nittany Lion softball team split an afternoon doubleheader with Akron today, winning the opener 5-2 and losing the second game 1-0. Penn State is now 19-26 while the Zips stand at 18-21.
Penn State got three runs in the first three innings in the opener against the Zips and held on for the 5-2 win. Redshirt-senior Shana Riggleman (Seaford, Del.) earned her sixth win of the season while striking out two Zips. Penn State¡¯s scoring began in the second inning, which was started by a Barbie Pierce (Citrus Heights, Calif.) single to right centerfield. Third baseman Destinie Chavez (San Leandro, Calif.) advanced Pierce¡¯s pinch-runner, Kelsey Francisco (State College, Pa.), to second on groundout to the pitcher. After a Katie Stauffer (Manassas, Va.) walk, catcher Kate Gentile (Endicott, N.Y.) singled sending both Francisco and Stauffer across the plate for a 2-0 Lions¡¯ lead they would never relinquish.
PSU tacked on another run in the third inning when freshman Jen Williams (Stillwater, Okla.) walked and then stole second base. Classmate Meghan Wolfer (Northampton, Pa.) singled and managed to advance to second on the throw, putting runners on second and third. Pierce hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield to score Williams to put the Lions up, 3-0, heading into the bottom of the third inning.
The Lions bats were hot again as three hits in the fifth inning yielded the final two Penn State runs of the game. First baseman Steph Viola (Minersville, Pa.) started things off with a single to centerfield and then stole second followed by a Williams¡¯ single to the shortstop. Williams, the conference leader in stolen bases, stole second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch that got Viola home for a 4-0 lead. Junior outfielder Leigh Murray (Fairfax Station, Va.) singled to left field to score Williams for the final run of the inning and a 5-0 lead. Akron scored two runs in the final three innings to make the final score of game one a 5-2 Nittany Lion decision.
Akron¡¯s only run of the second game came in the first inning on an unearned run, but it was enough to steal victory from the visiting Lions. Penn State¡¯s best shot to tie the game came in the top of the sixth inning when Williams singled to the shortstop for one of Penn State¡¯s four hits of the game. Williams then stole second and stayed there until Chavez singled with two outs and two runners on. The relay from left field caught Williams at home and sent the Lions back to the dugout with no runs that inning. Penn State would strand one more in the seventh inning before redshirt-junior Missy Beseres (Golden Valley, Minn.) recorded the loss despite striking out 10 Akron batters and allowing no earned runs.
Penn State travels to Iowa and Illinois this weekend for a Big Ten series that starts Friday. The Lions match-up with Iowa on Friday, April 23, at 6 p.m. and then again on Saturday, April 24, at noon. Penn State then travels to Illinois for a doubleheader on Sunday, April 25, at noon.