April 29, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 29, 2014 - Penn State softball returns to Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field to host in-state rival Pitt in a doubleheader on Wednesday. The midweek contests will be the final non-conference clashes for the Nittany Lions in 2014.
PSU and Pitt take the field at 5 p.m. for game one while the nightcap is slated for a 7 p.m. start.
The twinbill vs. Pitt will be Glory Day for all PSU students in attendance. A part of the new "We Are" student rewards program, Glory Day will be an opportunity for students to earn three points at one event. The PSU marketing department will be handing out free slices of pizza at the game, while supplies last.
PSU closes out the 2014 regular season this weekend with a three-game series vs. Illinois. The Nittany Lions and the Fighting Illini open the series at 6 p.m. on Friday and return to the field on Saturday at 3 p.m. for game two before closing the series on Sunday in a 10:30 a.m. matchup.
SERIES HISTORY vs. PITT
The Nittany Lions are 12-6 in the all-time series vs. Pittsburgh. PSU is 5-3 against the Panthers in University Park with its last home win coming in a 4-0 decision on April 3, 2012. Penn State most recently defeated Pitt on April 10, 2013 at the Panthers’ home field, taking an 11-7 victory.
The Lions fell to Pittsburgh earlier this season at the FAU Invitational, dropping a 3-1 decision on Feb. 22.
TRACKING THE PANTHERS
Pittsburgh enters the weekend at 15-25 overall and has lost eight of its last 10 games. The Panthers are 6-15 in ACC play and most recently won their series vs. Georgia Tech last weekend.
Junior Carly Thea has been an offensive spark plug for the Pittsburgh offense. Thea is hitting at a team-best clip of .385 and is the only Panther averaging over .300. She has posted 42 hits, 24 runs and 19 RBI on the year and owns a team-best slugging percentage of .642.
The Panther pitching staff has combined for 177 strikeouts this season and owns an ERA of 4.46. Junior Savannah King leads the squad with an ERA of 4.18 through 154 innings. King has struck out 95 opponents and collected eight of Pitt’s wins.
LAST TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions were swept by No. 12 Minnesota in a three-game series last weekend. Penn State was edged by the Golden Gophers in the series opener by a score of 1-0. The Lions wrapped up the series with a doubleheader on Saturday, dropping both contests in five innings, 9-0 and 16-2, respectively.
Pitcher Marlaina Laubach gave a stellar performance in the opener, going six innings without allowing an earned run while giving up just four hits and one walk.
The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in triples with 15 on the year. PSU has registered one more than the No. 2 team, Northwestern, and six more than the next two teams.
The Lions trailed the Wildcats until posting five triples in the doubleheader vs. Bucknell (4/16).
Lexi Knief has set the pace for PSU, turning in six triple thus far. She needs just one more to enter the Penn State single season record books.
Sophomore Lexi Knief is the top hitter for PSU through 45 outings. The outfielder is 55-for-142 at the plate for a team-best batting average of .387 and has scored a team-high 37 runs. She leads the league and ranks third in the nation in triples with six and has also posted six doubles on the year. She needs just one more triple to enter the PSU single season record books.
Senior Kasie Hatfield continues to move up in the Penn State record books for single-season doubles. Hatfield moved into a tie for the No. 6 spot after registering her 13th double of the year in the series finale at Minnesota (4/26)
The Tampa, Fla. product is currently tied for 6th in the Big Ten in doubles.
LAU OF THE LAND
Freshman pitcher Marlaina Laubach has done the bulk of the work in the circle for Penn State, earning wins in nine of PSU’s 14 victories, including a signature win over No. 21 LSU and three conference wins. The Northampton, Pa. native has a team-best ERA of 3.39 through 128 innings. She has thrown 67 strikeouts on the season, including a season-high six vs. FAU (2/21), MSU (4/4) and Bucknell (4/16).
Laubach gave on of her best performances of the season in the series opener at No. 12 Minneosta, holding the Golden Gophers to just four hits while not allowing any earned runs through six innings.