Softball Earns Ninth Consecutive Win; Hosts Reigning National Champion Michigan Today for 12:00 p.m. Doubleheader
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. ¨C April 22, 2006 ¨C The Penn State softball team improved to 30-11 (5-7 Big Ten) Saturday afternoon as the Nittany Lions picked up their ninth consecutive victory with a 1-0 win over Michigan State (32-16, 8-4 Big Ten).
After a rain delay pushed first-pitch back almost five hours, things were under way at Nittany Lion Field. Freshman Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) recorded Penn State¡¯s first hit of the day in the top of the second with a leadoff single to centerfield. After a Nittany Lion pop-out and strikeout put two outs on the board, catcher Hollee Haines (Riverside, Calif.) reached first base on a Spartan fielding error and Kinley advanced to second, but Michigan State pitcher Lesley Noel retired the next Lion batter to send Penn State back to the field.
The top of the third saw first baseman Ashley Esparza (San Pedro, Calif.) slam a two-out homerun over the right field wall to put the Lions up 1-0. The shot was the sophomore¡¯s third homer of the season.
The Spartans could not get their offense going until the top of the sixth, when Nicole Mercado connected for a leadoff single. Gina Mondo was hit by a pitch then Meghan Darhower hit a single of her own to right field to load the bases for Michigan State with no outs on the scoreboard. On a Caitlin Mahoney fielder¡¯s choice, Nittany Lion third baseman Destinie Chavez (San Leandro, Calif.) put out two Spartans unassisted catching Mondo and Mercado on a tricky play. The next Spartan batter would also reach on a fielder¡¯s choice, while a Nittany Lion error allowed Mahoney to reach second, but a Jen Acunto (Hollywood, Fla.) putout ended the inning for the Spartans.
It was three-up, three-down for both squads in the seventh inning as Penn State would go on to get the 1-0 win over Michigan State.
Red-shirt senior pitcher Missy Beseres (Golden Valley, Minn.) gave up just one hit on the day and raised her season record to 16-5, as she became Penn State¡¯s all-time leader for career wins with 50. Beseres struck-out six batters in six innings, while sophomore Esparza faced five batters, giving up one hit and striking out four, picking up her third save of the season.
Saturday¡¯s Dick's Sporting Goods promotion for the ugliest lawn chair has been moved to Sunday¡¯s doubleheader vs. reigning national champion Michigan. Pack your most hideous lawn chair when you attend the softball tailgate and game for a chance to win a $25 gift card from Dick's or a new lawn chair. Action starts at noon at Nittany Lion Field with the first 200 fans receiving Penn State softball rally towels.