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Nittany Lions Host Gophers Starting Saturday

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Jordan Wheatley

April 27, 2012

Series Notes | 2012 Yearbook | Facebook | Twitter | Nittany Lion Softball Park

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Nittany Lion softball team welcomes Minnesota to Nittany Lion Softball Park for a three-game Big Ten series starting with Saturday's doubleheader at 2:00 p.m. Saturday's twinbill will be streamed live on, while Sunday's tilt is set to air live on Big Ten Network at Noon.

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (14-27, 5-10 Big Ten)
Games 42-43: Apr. 27-28 • Nittany Lion Softball Park

Saturday: Penn State athletics will be giving away softball drawstring bags, while supplies last, to attending fans. Also, the Special Olympics will be on hand as Penn State honors all participants that attend.

Sunday: The Nittany Lion softball team poster and magnets will be Sunday's giveaway with State College Little League as a special guest of the squad.

Game 1: GameTracker | Video | Audio
Game 2: GameTracker | Video | Audio
Game 3: GameTracker | Big Ten Network | Audio



VENUE: Nittany Lion Softball Park (1,084)
COVERAGE: (Saturday), Big Ten Network (Sunday)
ALL-TIME SERIES: Penn State trails 31-18
LAST MEETING: 4/17/11, PSU 2-0 (Minneapolis, Minn.)
NEXT SERIES: May 5 (DH), May 6 at Illinois

• Nittany Lions welcome Minnesota to Nittany Lion Softball Park for the first time
• Penn State and Minnesota split the last three years
• Minnesota took two of three games from first-place Michigan last weekend
• Nittany Lions gathered 17 hits, including 4 HR in Wednesday split at Kent State
• Senior Lisa Akamine threw her first shutout of year vs. Golden Flashes
Cassidy Bell remains hot: 4-for-4 with 2 HR, 4 runs, 4 RBI and 3 BB at KSU
• The Nittany Lions have struck 10 leadoff homers this season
• Penn State is live on Big Ten Network for the first time in 2012 on Sunday

Minnesota (28-16, 7-8 Big Ten) is coming off an important series win against nationally ranked and first-place team Michigan last weekend. The Gophers swept Saturday's rain delayed doubleheader, beating Michigan twice in a single weekend for the first time in 29 years. Michigan narrowly escaped a sweep by overcoming a 3-0 deficit to win 5-3 in 10 innings at Minnesota. The Gophers rely on the arm of 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Sara Moulton to lead the way. Moulton leads the conference in strikeouts (266) and a 1.26 ERA, going 22-11 and throwing 205.1 of the team's 291.1 innings. Opposing batters are only hitting .172 against the talented pitcher. Minnesota is hitting .271 at the plate with a .440 slugging percentage thanks to 44 home runs. The powerful bunch is led by sluggers Kaitlyn Richardson (.356, 36 RBI, 13 doubles, 9 home runs) and Kari Dorle (.306, 42 RBI, 9 home runs, 6 doubles). Tyler Walker sets the table hitting .364 with 12 stolen bases, while hitting seven home runs and eight doubles.

All-Time Series: PSU trails 31-18
PSU Streak: 1 win
First Meeting: 2/23/89, MINN 4-3
Last Meeting: 4/17/11, PSU 2-0
Last PSU Win: 4/17/11, 2-0
Last MINN Win: 4/16/11, 1-0
Largest PSU Win: 8-3, 3/27/10
Largest MINN Win: 7-0 (`97), 9-2 (`95), 10-3 (`94)
Petrini vs. MINN: 11-17
Penn State split with Minnesota last season, falling 1-0 and winning 2-0. Jackie Hill pitched the Nittany Lions to a shutout in the second game, while being matched by Minnesota's Sara Moulton in the circle. Two first-inning unearned runs in the second game gave PSU the victory.

Last 11 Meetings
4/17/11: W, 2-0 -- A
4/16/11: L, 0-1 -- A
3/27/10: W, 8-3 -- H
3/27/10: L, 2-3 -- H
4/18/09: L, 0-1 (8 inn.) -- A
4/18/09: W, 1-0 -- A
4/15/06: W, 3-0 -- H
4/14/06: W, 3-0 -- H
4/2/05: W, 3-1 -- A
4/1/05: L, 4-9 -- A
4/4/04: L, 2-5 -- H

Penn State gathered a doubleheader split at Kent State on Wednesday evening (Apr. 25), falling 11-3 before striking a 9-0 victory in game two. Cassidy Bell was unstoppable going 4-for-4 with a pair of homers, four RBI, four runs scored and three walks as Kent State failed to get her out once in the twinbill. The Nittany Lions were impressive at the plate, tallying 17 hits including four home runs. Senior hurler Lisa Akamine threw 6.2 innings in the doubleheader, earning the shutout win in game two. Between the two games, Penn State hit .378 at the plate with five extra base hits including four homers, slugging .667 in the process. The Lions were patient in the batter's box, earning nine walks. Lauren Yao added to Bell's outstanding performance with a 4-for-6 showing in the doubleheader with a double and three RBI. Kasie Hatfield helped with a key two-run home run and Jordan Wheatley belted her first collegiate home run in the opener.

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 eight multi-hit games in the last 18 outings. Currently, she's hitting .400 overall, having posted a hit in 18 of the 23 games she's played. Her return saw an 0-for-3 showing at Michigan, but since then she has gone 25-for-55 (.463) at the plate with nine home runs, two doubles and a triple. In the series at Purdue, Bell hit .636 (7-for-11), before going 4-for-12 against Michigan State (.333). This past Wednesday against Kent State, the Golden Flashes were unable to retire Bell as she went 4-for-4 with two home runs, four runs batted in, four runs scored and three walks. She has raised her career average to .320 during the 18-game hitting barrage, which has seen her reach base in all but one game. She recently wrapped up a nine-game hitting streak, while slugging 1.037 and getting on base at .554 in the last 18 games. In Big Ten play alone, she leads all conference players in homers (6) and total bases (42), while ranking third in slugging (.875), fourth in hits (21) and 11th in average (.417).

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 was on a six-game hitting streak with a .524 average in those games while slugging 1.000. Hatfield had 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 homer 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. Since Mar. 23, Hatfield leads the team with 16 runs batted in with three homers and six doubles.

The Nittany Lions have used the leadoff home run to their advantage this year, belting 10 such dingers this season. Cassidy Bell has accounted for five leadoff homers including two against Kent State on Wednesday, Apr. 25. Alyssa Sovereign has posted three of her own, all opeining the game on Spring Break, with Kailyn Johnson (3/16 vs. Oklahoma) and Jordan Wheatley (4/25 vs. Kent State) adding homers to lead off innings.

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.

More notes can be found in the PDF copy.

Penn State hits the road for the final time in 2012, facing Illinois for a three-game set May 5-6. Game time for Saturday's doubleheader is set for 2:00 p.m. before a single game on Sunday. The Nittany Lions cap the season at home against Ohio State on Friday, May 11 (4 p.m. on BTN) and Saturday, May 12 (2:00 p.m. doubleheader).



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