Nittany Lions Ready for Clash with Hawkeyes on Blue-White Weekend
April 23, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State softball team (26-16, 5-7 Big Ten) looks to snap a four-game skid as it hosts second-place Iowa (23-14, 8-1 Big Ten) during Blue-White Weekend. The Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes will battle on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and finish the two-game set on Sunday at Noon.
(23-14, 8-1 Big Ten)
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
(26-16, 5-7 Big Ten)
Games #43-44: April 24-25, 2010 1 p.m. / Noon Nittany Lion Field University Park, Pa.
For Zust's all-time numbers against Penn State check out the complete game notes.
SERIES HISTORY: With a doubleheader sweep last season in Iowa City, Penn State broke a three-game skid to the Hawkeyes. Over the past seven games, the Nittany Lions hold a 4-3 edge with all four wins coming on the road. A Penn State win this weekend would give PSU the team's first win at home over the Hawkeyes since 2003. Under head coach Robin Petrini, the Nittany Lions are 13-19 after the series started with Iowa taking 18 of the previous 19 from 1992-97. The series has been a close one of late as 13 of the last 15 games have been decided by four runs or less.
COMMON OPPONENTS: Penn State and Iowa have three common opponents in Michigan State, Wisconsin and Purdue. Iowa is 5-1 while PSU is 4-2.
BLUE-WHITE WEEKEND: It is Blue-White Weekend all across campus from Friday to Sunday. The Blue-White Carnival kicked off Friday night with fireworks, a Wing contest and Fireworks and continued into today for the softball game and the Penn State Spring football game. The football game kicks off at 2:00 p.m. and the festivities stretch into Sunday as the Penn State All-Sports Museum will be open to visitors and a benefit 5K run will take place outside of Beaver Stadium at 10 a.m. All of that culminates with softball's final game against Iowa at Noon.
TOUGH LOSSES AT MICHIGAN: The No. 2/2 Michigan Wolverines proved why they're one of the best teams in the country with their hitting display on Wednesday, April 21. Michigan hit four home runs and won both games by a score of 8-0 in five innings. Ashley Griffith beat out a grounder for an infield single in Game Two for the Nittany Lions. The losses were the first at Michigan since 2004.
ILLINI SETBACKS: Penn State ran into the buzz saw that was the Illini starting pitcher Monica Perry. Perry was on top of her game allowing just one Nittany Lion hit, a two-out seventh-inning double to Lisa Akamine in a 4-0 PSU loss on April 17. Three second-inning unearned runs gave No. 18/20 Illinois the win despite a 10-strikeout performance by starter Jackie Hill. On April 18, The Illini jumped out to a 2-0 lead after a sacrifice fly and a solo home run. On the sac fly, Penn State appealed to third that the runner left early, but it was denied. In the fourth inning, Ashley Griffith got on with a single to right field and with a Danee Collett sacrifice bunt that was thrown away into right field, Griffith advanced to third and Collett attempted to take second. The subsequent throw to second was in the dirt and got away from the bag, allowing Griffith to score and cut the lead in half at 2-1. After another Illini solo home run in the fifth gave UI a 3-1 lead, Griffith got on base again in the sixth. She was sacrificed over by Akamine and Lauren Yao ripped a two-out RBI single up the middle to cut the lead to one again at 3-2. PSU attempted to mount a rally in the seventh, but Perry was up to the task and stranded a Nittany Lion runner at first to end the ball game.
GRIFFITH EARNS MCCOY HONOR: Senior outfield Ashley Griffith was named Penn State's female Ernest B. McCoy Award recipient on April 16. The award is presented annually to the top male and top female student-athlete who combine successful athletic participation with academic excellence. McCoy was PSU's athletic director and Dean of the College of Physical Education from 1952-70, his name adorns the natatorium. The men's recipient was soccer forward Jason Yiesley, who was named the conference's most outstanding offensive player and drafted by FC Dallas of the MLS.
MICHIGAN STATE SPLIT: The Nittany Lions struggled in a Game One 1-0 eight-inning loss to Michigan State to find any offense, supplying three runners in scoring positition during the game, but not sending any of them home. In the circle, Lisa Akamine posted a career day with 14 strikeouts, the second most in school history. The sophomore hurler also matched her career-high in innings pitched with eight, while walking none, but three consecutive hits in extra innings doomed the Lions to a loss. In Game Two, the bottom of the order saved the squad offensively. Lauren Yao, batting ninth, ripped her first extra-base hit of the season, a leadoff triple down the right field line in the third inning. Cassidy Bell drove her home with a sacrifice fly and knotted the score at one. The Nittany Lions would generate more leadoff offense in the fifth inning, this time from the eight spot in Desi Giordano. The junior third baseman took a 2-2 pitch deep over the center field wall for the deciding run, her team-leading sixth homer of the season and a 2-1 Penn State win. Jackie Hill went the distance in the circle, scattering three hits, one walk and striking out nine for her first win since Mar. 14.
WISCONSIN SWEEP: Penn State captured its first Big Ten sweep of the season when it beat Wisconsin, 3-1 and 3-0, on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. It was the fourth and fifth straight times PSU beat the Badgers and the wins gave Penn State a four-game winning streak. Lisa Akamine pitched in both games, earning two wins while pitching 10 innings overall and allowing only one run. The sophomore hurler also came up with a big two-run RBI single on Sunday to help herself, while Jackie Hill picked up the save in Saturday's game. Ashley Griffith added a pair of RBI singles to left field and went 3-for-3 on Sunday afternoon. It was the team's first Big Ten sweep since last year's 2009 series against Wisconsin on 4/11-12.
OFFICIAL RADIO BROADCAST HOME: On Thursday, March 25, Penn State announced the radio home of Nittany Lion softball for the remainder of the 2010 season. Eight home games will be broadcast on 1390 AM WRSC in the State College area. All of those games will also be streamed on All-Access for free so that fans can tune in and listen. As scheduled, March 27th's game against Minnesota, Game One vs. Pittsburgh (Apr. 6), both Michigan State games (Apr. 14) will kick off the radio slate. Other games to be broadcast are against Illinois (Apr. 17), Iowa (Apr. 24), Syracuse Game One (Apr. 27) and Ohio State (May 8). ComRadio traveled with the team on March 31 to Kent State for a doubleheader, the first away broadcast by a Penn State crew to do a softball game. Other radio additions may be announced at a later date, specifically for away games. Combined with the two Big Ten Network television broadcasts and two bigtennetwork.com webcasts, at least 24 of the final 27 games will have live coverage from the broadcast booth.
400 THE ALMA MATER WAY: Head coach Robin Petrini achieved a milestone achievement when Penn State beat Utah State, 6-1, on Saturday. Petrini, a 1983 graduate of Utah State, where she won two AIAW National Championships as a shortstop, also picked up win No. 401 against San Diego State later that day. She was greeted by a cookie cake and balloons at the hotel to commemorate the achievement. Already the all-time leading coach in wins at Penn State, Petrini has also led the squad to more NCAA appearances (seven) in her 13 years than the program had before her arrival (two). She'll go for win No. 402 against Towson, the team she beat for her first career win back in 1997.
HOTEL ENCANTO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Sophomore catcher Danee Colett earned mention on the 2010 Hotel Encanto Invitational All-Tournament Team. Collett hit a team-high .471 for the weekend with eight hits, one homer and a double, while driving in seven RBI. For the weekend she got on base at a clip of .500 and slugged .706 while posting a nearly flawless performance on behind the plate (40 putouts, zero errors, one passed ball).
BIG STAGE, BIG TEN NETWORK: The Big Ten Network announced its annual televised softball schedule on Feb. 18 and at least four Penn State games will be broadcast live on television or through the network's website, BigTenNetwork.com. Penn State's games at Michigan (4/21) will be on the BTN's website, while the two matchups at Northwestern (5/1-2). There's a possibility that PSU's games at Indiana (5/14-15) could be picked up as part of the Big Ten Network's wild card weekend.
PSULIONSOFTBALL ON TWITTER: Nittany Lion softball is now on Twitter. Keep up to date with inside information and exclusive access @PSULionSoftball.
NITTANY LIONS ON YOUTUBE: Check out exclusive interviews after every game on GoPSUsports.com and the GoPSUTV YouTube Channel (Youtube.com/GoPSUTV) and click on the softball playlist on the right side of the page.
NEXT TIME OUT: Penn State continues its tough stretch of the schedule when the Lions welcome Big East foe Syracuse to Happy Valley on Tuesday. Two games agains the Orange will start at 3:00 p.m. before Penn State treks to Evanston, Ill. for a two-game set at Northwestern on May 1-2. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m. with both games being broadcast on Big Ten Network.
For more information the Penn State Sport Camps 2010 visit PSU Sport Camps
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