Nittany Lions Set for Critical Series at Northwestern on Big Ten Network
April 30, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State softball team (28-18, 7-7 Big Ten) plays a critical Big Ten series against perennial power Northwestern (22-19, 7-5 Big Ten) this weekend in Evanston, Ill. Both Saturday's 2:00 p.m. ET tilt and Sunday's Noon ET game will be shown live on the Big Ten Network.
(28-18, 7-7 Big Ten)
(22-19, 7-5 Big Ten)
Games #47-48: May 1-2, 2010 2 p.m. / Noon Drysdale Field Evanston, Ill.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Northwestern has posted a record 22-19 while playing a very difficult schedule this season. A power-hitting ballclub (48 HR, .442 slugging), the Wildcats have shown aggressiveness on the base paths (85 SB) and an ability to score runs (5.20 per game). At the plate, four NU batters have nine or more homers, led by Adrienne Monka with 12, while Nicole Pauly has 11 and Emily Haug with 10. Michelle Batts is the best all-around hitter with nine dingers and six doubles, she hits .310 on top of that. Emily Allard is the quintessential lead off hitter with a .383 average, a team-high 31 runs and 51 hits, while stealing 30 of the Wildcats' 85 bases this season. In the circle, senior Lauren Delaney has had an up and down year going 11-12 overall with a 3.71 earned run average. Although she has three shutouts and 159 strikeouts, she has walked 106 with 37 wild pitches in 136 innings. Backups Jessica Smith (4.18 ERA) and Meghan Lamberth (3.81 ERA) have been relied upon to pick up the slack posting a combined 11-7 record, three shutouts and 77 strikeouts. Northwestern has taken four of its past five after wins over Indiana (7-6) and Illinois-Chicago (6-1).
For Delaney's career numbers against Penn State, check out the complete game notes.
SERIES HISTORY: Northwestern has handled the series against Penn State well, capturing 12 of the last 13 games. Penn State's last win against NU was in Evanston as the Nittany Lions upset the then-No. 7 Wildcats, 6-5 in 2007, handing Lauren Delaney her first collegiate loss of her career. Last season, NU took two from Penn State 5-3 and 10-0. All-time, Northwestern holds a 38-13 edge and Robin Petrini is 23-8 in her time at the helm of PSU.
COMMON OPPONENTS: Penn State and Northwestern have faced off against seven common opponents this season with NU going 7-5 and Penn State 5-8. The teams included are non-conference foe Ball State and Big Ten teams Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State.
RPI RELEASED: The second NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) was released on Wednesday, April 28, which includes games played through April 25. Penn State currently holds the No. 54 spot in the rankings, which is fifth best behind Michigan (2nd), Illinois (17th), Ohio State (35th) and this weekend's foe Northwestern (51st). Penn State has previously played Iowa (70th) with a sweep of the Hawkeyes as its best Big Ten win according to the RPI, while the best overall win is a victory at San Diego State, who is rated 25th overall. Remaining games against Northwestern, Ohio State and Indiana are crucial for Penn State's chances at an NCAA berth. Altogether, 30 automatic berths are given to the conference winners and 34 more bids are given to at-large teams to the 64-team tournament, which is set to start May 19. Penn State's last appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 2007.
ORANGE JUICED: Penn State couldn't generate any offense in a Tuesday evening doubleheader against Syracuse, dropping both games, 2-0 and 6-1. Jackie Hill pitched a complete-game with nine strikeouts in the first tilt, but a two-run blast helped the Orange to the win. In Game Two, Ashley Griffith provided two hits, but Morgan Long scored the team's only run of the day. Sophomore hurler Lisa Akamine struck out 15 in Game Two, tying the school record for most in a game set by Missy Beseres at Northwestern (Apr. 24, 2005).
GETTING HAWKISH AGAINST IOWA: The Nittany Lions broke out of their mid-season swoon and four-game losing streak in a big way, taking out second-place Iowa in a pair of games over the weekend, 7-1 and 5-2. Penn State pounded out 23 hits for a .426 average, out-pacing the Hawkeyes, who only garnered six with a .130 average. Cassidy Bell led the charge going 5-for-8 with a pair of doubles and three RBI, while Lauren Yao combined for a 4-for-7 weekend, scoring three times. Kailyn Johnson added a 3-for-6 showing, while Lauren Rossi's three-run home run on Sunday powered a four-run second inning. Mary Ostman, Desi Giordano and Lisa Akamine each provided two hits over the weekend. Jackie Hill threw a one-hitter, allowing just one earned run, while striking out nine with no walks in Saturday's win, while Akamine notched her 15th victory of the season with a one-earned-run effort, striking out seven and only walking one with five hits allowed. Hill helped herself with an RBI single and a bases-loaded walk on Saturday. Morgan Long added two RBI, one in each game with a single and a sacrifice fly. Ashley Todd belted her first career double in Saturday's game driving in a run as well.
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.
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.
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) were on the BTN's website, and the two matchups at Northwestern (5/1-2) will be televised. 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: The Nittany Lions close out its 36-year run at Nittany Lion Field with a two-game set against No. 19/24 Ohio State on Saturday-Sunday, May 8-9. Saturday's game starts at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday will serve as Senior Day as well as the final game at Nittany Lion Field, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Both games will have radio/audio coverage on 1390 AM WRSC and/or ComRadio with live stats through GameTracker and commentary on Twitter (@PSULionSoftball.)
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