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April 20, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State softball team travels to Madison this weekend to take on third-place Wisconsin at the Goodman Diamond starting Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET. The doubleheader will be carried live on BTN.com as will Sunday's game at 1:00 p.m. ET.
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (13-23, 5-7 Big Ten)
Games 37-39: Apr. 21-22 Goodman Diamond Madison, Wis.
VENUE: Goodman Diamond (1,600)
ALL-TIME SERIES: Penn State leads 27-12
LAST MEETING: 3/27/11, PSU 3-2 (8 inn.)
NEXT SERIES: Apr. 25 at Kent State (DH), 3 p.m.
Nittany Lions travel to third-place Wisconsin this weekend
PSU owns 27-12 overall record over UW, the best mark vs. any Big Ten team
Penn State has won six of seven after taking two of three from Indiana
PSU is finished an eight-game home stand at 6-2
Catcher Kasie Hatfield was named Big Ten Player of the Week
Hatfield hit first career grand slam on Sunday vs. IU, capping a five-RBI day
Cassidy Bell has continued her torrid hitting, belting two more HRs last week
The Nittany Lions have struck 7 lead-off homers this season
Lauren Yao went 6-for-9 with three doubles and three runs scored vs. Indiana
Sophomore Jordan Wheatley won her first decision, pitching a complete game
Freshman Marissa Diescher is 3-0 in her last five starts
Danee Collett provided a pair of pinch-hit doubles, tallying four RBI vs. IU
SCOUTING THE BADGERS
Wisconsin (24-13, 8-4 Big Ten) is riding a hot streak after winning 10 of its last 11 games to move into third in the Big Ten. The young team is paced by solid hitting at the plate (.298 average) including slugger Mary Massei. The sophomore outfielder is hitting .344 with eight doubles and four home runs, three of which game in Sunday's game at Illinois. The Badgers belted six in that game to take the series from the Fighiting Illini. Molly Spense is the main power threat with seven homers, three doubles and 23 RBI. Whitney Massey has totaled a team high 29 RBI on 11 doubles and three dingers, while speedster Maria Van Abel leads the team in average (.361), sac bunts (10) and stolen bases (14). In the circle, sophomore Cassandra Darrah (16-7) has thrown 141 of the team's 254 innings with a 2.28 ERA, 90 strikeouts and a .258 average against. Meghan Mcintosh (4-5, 3.08 ERA, 66.0 IP) is the next option on the Badger pitching staff.
SERIES HISTORY vs. WISCONSIN
All-Time Series: PSU leads 27-12
PSU Streak: 7 wins
First Meeting: 5/4/96, PSU 6-5
Last Meeting: 3/27/11, PSU 3-2 (8 inn.)
Last PSU Win: 3/27/11, 3-2 (8 inn.)
Last WIS Win: 4/13/08, 8-3
Largest PSU Win: 14-1 (5), 5/12/00
Largest WIS Win: 9-4 (`96), 8-3 (`08)
PSU Record at WIS: 9-9
Petrini vs. WIS: 25-11
Penn State won both games (8-5, 3-2) in the inagural series at Nittany Lion Softball Park to stretch the series winning streak to seven games over Wisconsin. Penn State has won 10 of the last 11 in the series and the last three in Madison. Robin Petrini's .694 winning percentage against Wisconsin is the highest of any Big Ten foe.
Last 11 Meetings
3/27/11: W, 3-2 (8) -- H
3/26/11: W, 8-5 -- H
4/11/10: W, 3-0 -- A
4/10/10: W, 3-1 -- A
4/12/09: W, 4-0 -- H
4/11/09: W, 2-1 -- H
4/13/08: W, 2-0 -- A
4/13/08: L, 3-8 -- A
3/31/07: W, 8-3 -- H
3/30/07: W, 3-1 -- H
4/29/06: W, 3-1 -- A
TAKING TWO FROM THE HOOSIERS
The Nittany Lions took two of three from Indiana over the weekend (Apr. 14-15) to win its second straight Big Ten series. After dropping the opener 12-6, Penn State rebounded to take the final two games, 5-2 and 9-4. In Saturday's opener, Indiana built a 5-0 lead, but Penn State chipped away to 5-2 before a four-run fifth inning gave the Lions a 6-5 advantage. Indiana responded with a five-run sixth and two more runs in the seventh for the final scoreline as Lauren Yao's 2-for-3, two-double effort went for naught. Cassidy Bell tallied her fifth homer of the year in the first game as well. In the nightcap, timely hitting and solid pitching from Jordan Wheatley earned the doubleheader split. Wheatley won her first collegiate game and completed her first game at Penn State scattering 10 hits, two earned runs and two walks to down the Hoosiers. Yao again went 2-for-3, scoring twice, while Wheatley's two-run double, he rfirst extra-base hit at PSU, paced the Lions. Danee Collett also provided a critical RBI double to help the Lions. PSU's bats came alive again in the finale as a lead-off homer from Bell and a seven-run outburst in the second inning gave the Lions the series win. The seven-run inning was highlighted by Collett's three-run double and Kasie Hatfield's historic grand slam, the first at Beard Field. Hatfield later added an RBI double to cap a five-RBI afternoon en route to Big Ten Player of the Week honors. Marissa Diescher picked up the win to even her record at 5-5, allowing three earned runs.
HIT ME HOME HATFIELD
Penn State catcher Kasie Hatfield was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday, Apr. 16 for her outstanding play against Indiana. The sophomore slugger belted her first career grand slam (and the first in Beard Field history) on Sunday and drove home a career high five runs in a 9-4 victory. Hatfield is on a six-game hitting streak with a .524 average in those games while slugging 1.000. Hatfield has a team-high 12 RBI over that span with 11 hits, six of which went for extra bases. Hatfield's other home run during that span was a walk-off two-run home run to secure the series sweep of Michigan State on Apr. 8. The day before Hatfield went 5-for-8 at the plate including her first four-hit game in the nightcap with two doubles.
SURGING NITTANY LIONS
Penn State has seen a resurgance in the past seven games, going 6-1 after a 7-22 start. Many of Penn State's successes in the last two weeks can be traced to an overall better performance across the diamond. Most striking are the offensive numbers, which shot up in the last seven games for Penn State.
Stat // Last 7 // First 29
Record: 6-1 // 7-22
Average: .299 // .217
Runs/Game: 6.57 // 2.45
Doubles: 13 // 19
Home Runs: 9 // 7
Slugging Pct.: .505 // .273
On-Base Pct.: .394 // .296
ERA: 3.16 // .496
Batting Avg.: Against .264 // .294
Fielding Pct.: .952 // .944
LEAD ME HOME
The Nittany Lion offense came in its home stand putting up outstanding numbers highlighted by nine home runs including Cassidy Bell's lead-off shot in the Sunday winner against Indiana. It was Bell's third lead-off homer (3/24/12 at Michigan, 4/8 vs. MSU) and the Nittany Lions' seventh 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 13 outings. Currently, she's hitting .356 overall, having posted a hit in 15 of the 18 games she's played. Her return saw an 0-for-3 showing at Michigan, but since then she has gone 18-for-43 (.419) at the plate with six 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 13-game hitting barrage, which has seen her reach base in every game. She's also on a seven-game hitting streak, while slugging .907 and getting on base at .500 in the last 13 games.
HOME SWEET HOME
Penn State is 6-2 at home this season, winning the six of the last seven games. Last season the Nittany Lions went 11-8-1 in the inaugural year at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park, meaning PSU is 17-10-1 all-time. In all non-conference games, Penn State is 7-5 at Beard Field.
Penn State is currently ranked 93rd in the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) release on Monday, Apr. 16, a two-spot drop from the previous week after three weeks of improvement. The Nittany Lions have faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation with 16 games against the RPI top 50 and 26 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. 20), Auburn (No. 29) and Virginia Tech (No. 30). This weekend's opponent, Wisconsin, is ranked 53rd. PSU is 3-6 against teams ranked 51st-100 in the RPI.
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/5th), La.-Lafayette (7th/8th), South Florida (17th/17th), Michigan (20th/20th), North Carolina (21st/21st) and LSU (23rd/23rd). 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). Virginia Tech is receiving votes in the USA Softball poll who PSU beat on Mar. 9.
More notes can be found in the PDF copy.
NEXT TIME OUT
Penn State finishes a five-game road stretch with a doubleheader at Kent State on Wednesday. The 3:00 p.m. twinbill will have live stats on GoPSUsports.com GameTracker and KSU will carry a video stream. The Lions then host Minnesota Apr. 28-29 for a three-game set.